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GE2020: PAP retains Jalan Besar GRC with 65.37% of votes

Jalan Besar GRC.jpg
Residents make their votes at a HDB void deck on Whampoa Road. PAP's Mrs Teo said her priority was to get to know the residents of Jalan Besar, which she described as a "thriving city centre" with a "kampung spirit".

THE People's Action Party (PAP) retained Jalan Besar group representation constituency (GRC) with 65.37 per cent of the vote, in its fight against the newly-formed Peoples Voice (PV) party.

Led by Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, the PAP team garnered 64,522 votes versus PV's 34,185. The number of rejected votes totalled 2,943.

The third-smallest GRC had 101,650 electors.

Mrs Teo, 52, who was previously a minister of parliament (MP) at Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, is joined by Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How, 58, Mayor of Central Singapore District Denise Phua, 60, and new candidate Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah, 41.

In her thank-you speech, Mrs Teo said: "We're very humbled by the residents' strong support. We've always said from the beginning that we don't take our support for granted, we have to earn it.

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"We do have a master plan that was put together with many of the residents' inputs, and we intend to carry out the master plan so that we fulfill our promises to our residents since it's something that we've committed to. We also want to deliver on it in good time."

To add, Mrs Teo said that since Jalan Besar is a mature estate, people will see the need to constantly rejuvenate it. "We are very happy to welcome the younger families who have moved in as a result of all the BTOs that have come up, and we want to reach out to them and develop a relationship with them…This theme of relationship and rejuvenation will be part of our team's approach."

"There is also a shared commitment on our part for people development, social development as well as jobs and skills development in the labour movement...We feel very strongly that we want to help the disadvantaged families in our constituency to make sure that there are equal opportunities, especially for the children. For our residents who are in the middle-aged groups, we know that with Covid-19, they are worried or concerned about the future, they're concerned about their job security - we want to do our best," she added.

The fledgling PV team, led by party chief Lim Tean, 55, includes blogger and financial adviser Leong Sze Hian, 66, medical administrator and entrepreneur Michael Fang Amin, 43, and Nor Azlan Sulaiman, 49, a director at the Halal Sciences Academy that certifies halal items.

In the 2015 election, the PAP team in Jalan Besar led by former communications and information minister Yaacob Ibrahim clinched 67.8 per cent of the votes against the Workers' Party.

Mrs Teo, who is new to the GRC, said in her constituency political broadcast speech that her priority was to get to know the residents of Jalan Besar, which she described as a "thriving city centre" with a "kampung spirit".

Peoples Voice chief Lim Tean was the only one of his four-member team to make a speech, in which he questioned the government's handling of the Covid-19 crisis. He called on residents in Jalan Besar to use their votes as a referendum on Mrs Teo's "competence and leadership", arguing that she was "singularly responsible" for the "great explosion" of Covid-19 cases in foreign worker dormitories.

Previously a single seat ward, Jalan Besar became a GRC in 1988, and had been contested by opposition parties at almost every election.

The GRC was dissolved in 2011, making way for a new five-member Moulmein-Kallang GRC, but returned in 2015, reabsorbing wards such as Whampoa. In the latest revision of the electoral boundaries, the constituency took in parts of Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.

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

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