GE2020 SINGAPORE VOTES: BATTLEGROUNDS

GE2020 results: Tharman's team in Jurong GRC is tops for PAP again

The People's Action Party (PAP) retained Jurong GRC with a thumping 74.62 per cent of the votes, fending off Singapore's newest party, Red Dot United (RDU), in the general election.

Jurong GRC was again the best-performing constituency for the PAP - the party had won 79.3 per cent of the votes in the GRC in the last general election in 2015.

The victory was expected, with Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, 63, leading the Jurong GRC PAP team, and even following the exit of Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee from the GRC, as well as controversies that involved its candidates in the days leading up to Nomination Day.

The PAP received 91,692 votes, while 31,191 votes went to RDU. Jurong GRC had 122,883 voters this year.

The final results did not stray far from an earlier sample count, which had shown 75 per cent of the votes going to the PAP.

The other candidates on the PAP slate were Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry and Foreign Affairs Tan Wu Meng, 45, backbencher and lawyer Rahayu Mahzam, 39, and newcomers Xie Yao Quan, 35, who is head of healthcare redesign at Alexandra Hospital, and Shawn Huang, 37, a director for enterprise development at Temasek International.

Mr Tharman, in a press conference following the announcement of the results, thanked Jurong GRC voters for their trust in the PAP team.

He said: "We pledge to work even harder, particularly in these difficult times, to help each and every family... and to build up Jurong as a strong community."

He also thanked the opposition RDU, which he said "fought a good fight".

The PAP team was up against the only team fielded in this election by RDU, which was registered on June 15.

The contest saw the return of three candidates who had stood in previous elections for other parties: Mr Ravi Philemon, 52, managing partner of a media company, educator and counsellor Michelle Lee, 43, as well as theatre director Alec Tok Kim Yam, 55. The first two were previously Progress Singapore Party members, while Mr Tok was from the Singapore Democratic Party.

 
 
 

They campaigned with entrepreneur and author Liyana Dhamirah, 33, and legal engineer Nicholas Tang, 28, who were both competing in an election for the first time.

A few weeks before the start of campaigning, the PAP slate for Jurong GRC became the subject of media attention after a candidate it had intended to field, Mr Ivan Lim, withdrew after facing criticisms on social media.

Dr Tan was also caught up in some controversy for an article he had penned that criticised Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh for supporting Singapore playwright Alfian Sa'at, saying Mr Alfian is not a "loving critic" of Singapore.

Mr Loo Xin Da, 42, a resident of Jurong GRC who works in the banking sector, said he hopes the PAP team does not take its strong showing in two consecutive elections for granted. "It will be interesting to see how the two newcomers will contribute to both the work here in my neighbourhood, as well as nationally, in Parliament."

Another resident, Mr Mafteem Farshad, 30, a financial adviser, said he was not surprised at the PAP team's big win.

"I never saw the other party RDU much. But also, SM Tharman has been a good MP here. He visits often and I feel his presence on the ground," he said.

"The Ivan Lim drama had me concerned because they replaced him so quickly. But I feel that they were taking care of the people here and I was impressed by it."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2020, with the headline 'Tharman's team in Jurong GRC is tops for PAP again'. Print Edition | Subscribe