Familiar face wins new Fengshan SMC
With two new candidates contesting in a new constituency close to opposition turf, the battle for Fengshan SMC was expected to go down to the wire.
But it was not to be, as People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Cheryl Chan beat Workers’ Party (WP) candidate Dennis Tan by a comfortable margin, securing 57.52 per cent of the votes.
Ms Chan, 38, a Fengshan grassroots volunteer of 10 years, is the first new PAP candidate to be fielded in a new SMC since the group representation constituency system was introduced in 1988.
But Ms Chan, head of secondary industries at chemicals firm Linde Gas Singapore, told The New Paper that her familiarity played an important part, meaning she could connect more easily with residents.
“When you know the residents, you don’t have to make that extra effort to break that barrier. My immediate plans are to continue serving residents and their needs,” she said.
When asked if she remained cool — a side that she exemplified during her first press conference where she was introduced as a PAP candidate — while waiting for the results, Ms Chan laughed and said: “I still am. I’m still the same person.”
She said that the biggest challenge of her first campaign was stepping into the public spotlight and under the media’s scrutiny.
Mr Tan, a partner at a shipping law firm, said: “I am, of course, disappointed with the results. We will have to study the swing, whether it’s a national swing that affects the Fengshan result.”
But he said it was still “a wonderful experience and I think it makes me much more confident of doing it again if I am allowed to”.
Addressing supporters at the Bedok Stadium after the results were released, Ms Chan thanked voters for giving her a chance to serve them.
“I look forward to building this community with you — a better home and a more caring Fengshan,” she said.
Singapore Management University Associate Professor Eugene Tan had said earlier that Ms Chan’s profile and experience make her a perfect fit, given her knowledge of the ground and of Fengshan residents.
And it seems Fengshan residents shared that sentiment.
Ms Cassandra Neo, 28, a marketing executive and Fengshan resident of 17 years, was happy that Ms Chan won.
“I had a good feeling that she would win because she has had experience with the residents for the past 10 years,” she said.
The Fengshan ward was first created in 1984, but became part of Bedok group representation constituency (GRC) in 1991 and was then part of East Coast GRC in 1997.
It was carved out of East Coast GRC, which was a five-member constituency in the 2011 General Election.
That year, the PAP won against WP, securing 54.8 per cent of the votes — the closest win in a GRC for the PAP and Fengshan was said to have been where the WP scored the highest.
The reborn Fengshan SMC has a total population of 36,000, of whom 23,427 are voters.