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GE2020: WP retains Hougang SMC with 61.19% votes

Hougang Dennis Tan
Workers' Party candidate Dennis Tan Lip Fong giving his speech at Poi Ching School nomination centre on June 30 to contest the Hougang SMC.

Hougang PAP.jpg
PAP candidate for Hougang SMC Lee Hong Chuang giving his speech at Poi Ching School nomination centre on June 30.

IN a widely expected outcome, the Workers’ Party (WP) has retained its stronghold at the Hougang single member constituency (SMC).

On Friday, WP’s candidate, Dennis Tan - widely seen as the successor to former party chief, Low Thia Khiang - won 61.19 per cent of the votes. In contrast, Lee Hong Chuang from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) has 38.81  per cent. There were 25,464 votes, 25,192 valid votes and 272 rejected votes.

Commenting on the results, Eugene Tan, Associate Professor of Law at the Singapore Management University, said: "Hougang remains a WP stronghold with Dennis as the fourth WP MP elected since 1991. Victory is never in doubt as Dennis is known to voters there." 

The WP has held the single-seat ward since Mr Low wrested it from the PAP in 1991. It is also the longest-held opposition seat.

Mr Tan, a shipping lawyer, has been chosen by the WP to defend its stronghold after its former Member of Parliament (MP) for Hougang, Png Eng Huat, retired.

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This is the second time PAP’s Mr Lee, an adviser to Hougang grassroots organisations and chair of the PAP branch in Hougang, is contesting the Hougang SMC seat.

In the 2015 GE, Mr Lee lost to Mr Png after the latter secured 57.69 per cent of the votes in Hougang SMC.

WP’s Mr Tan, 50,  made his debut as a WP candidate in the 2015 General Election. He is a familiar face in Hougang SMC, where he has been helping Mr Png at Meet-the-People Sessions, and is also a regular at  constituency events, temple dinners, as well as tea sessions with residents.

Mr Tan is the third WP candidate to contest the Hougang constituency after Mr Low’s departure. His ability to converse in Teochew, which Mr Low often uses in election rally speeches, is seen as a factor in his candidacy in Hougang, said party sources.

Analysts are expecting the PAP to cruise to victory, taking most of the 93 seats up for grabs, in what is likely to be Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's final election as leader.

This election, the WP, which aggressively pushed to expand its territory at the last election, has scaled back and placed all its parliamentarians into the two constituencies it is defending – Hougang SMC and Aljunied GRC.

In 2015, the PAP won 69.9 per cent of the vote – its best performance since 2001 – and enjoyed a 9.8 percentage point upswing in vote share, which is also the ruling party’s first gain since the 2001 elections. It took 83 out of 89 seats in Parliament.

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

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