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GE2020: PAP beats SDP in Bukit Batok SMC with 54.8% of votes

Bukit Batok SMC Murali Pillai PHOTO CMG.jpg
PAP's candidate for Bukit Batok SMC Murali Pillai meeting residents during a walkabout in Bukit Batok East on July 1.

CHEE SOON JUAN BT PHOTO.jpg
SDP party Dr Chee Soon Juan, flanked by party members at a doorstop for the media outside their party HQ on Polling Day.

THE People's Action Party's (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai has once again beaten Singapore Democratic Party's (SDP) secretary-general Chee Soon Juan in Bukit Batok single member constituency (SMC), retaining his seat in the ward with 54.8 per cent of the vote.

The two had previously gone head-to-head during a by-election in 2016, following the sudden resignation of PAP Member of Parliament David Ong due to a personal indiscretion. Dr Chee, 57, lost to Mr Murali, 52, who garnered 61.2 per cent of the vote.

In GE2020, Mr Murali garnered 15,476 votes against Dr Chee's 12,764 votes. Rejected votes came to 533.

There were 28,773 votes cast by electors in this SMC.

In his campaign manifesto, Mr Murali focused on helping less fortunate families impacted financially by the Covid-19 pandemic, supporting residents who have lost their jobs, and paying more attention to seniors who are living alone. He also discussed enhancing healthcare and childcare services for the community.

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His opponent Dr Chee had emphasised the importance of having a full-time Member of Parliament (MP) for Bukit Batok. Dr Chee had promised that, if elected, he would be a full-time MP and donate part of his MP allowance.

Mr Murali, who is a Senior Counsel and a partner with law firm Rajah and Tann Singapore, responded to Dr Chee's criticism of his "part-time MP" role by affirming that residents' interests will come before what he needs to do on his personal or job fronts.

In a press interview before the results for the Bukit Batok SMC contest were out, a sombre-looking Dr Chee said that the party ran a good campaign focused on policy and issues. He thanked supporters and said the SDP will continue to press on. 

"We are going to continue to try to see what we can begin to improve on and then come back stronger," Dr Chee said.

In 2015, Mr Murali was in the five-member PAP team that lost to the Workers' Party at Aljunied group representation constituency (GRC) by a slim margin. The PAP lost with 49.05 per cent of the votes.

Dr Chee contested during the 2015 election in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC alongside SDP chairman Paul Tambyah, Sidek Malek and Chong Wai Fung. His team lost against the incumbent PAP, taking 33.4 per cent of the votes.

For more of our Singapore GE2020 coverage, go to bt.sg/ge2020

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