Murali to start work today
Winner thanks SDP, vows to build on team and roll out plans that were promised
He first started volunteering at the People's Action Party's (PAP) Bukit Batok branch 16 years ago.
And during the campaign to win the Bukit Batok seat, Mr Murali Pillai, 48, was at the branch office at Block 148, Bukit Batok West Avenue 6.
Last night, the lawyer returned again - this time to give his first press conference after winning the Bukit Batok by-election.
"This branch is where it all began 16 years ago. I started serving at this branch. I think it's more meaningful to recommit and rededicate myself to Bukit Batok residents," he said.
In the 2015 General Election, Mr Murali was a member of the party's Aljunied GRC team that lost narrowly to the Workers' Party.
After results were announced around 11.30pm, Mr Murali gave his wife, Dr N. Gowri, 44, and the younger two of their four children hugs and high-fives outside the office.
Mrs Murali said they will "celebrate" by going out for coffee.
But Mr Murali plans to knuckle down to work immediately. "I will start work tomorrow. I have outlined my plans. There must be time for some reflection for sure.
"(But) I'm eager to build on a team, I want to make sure we are able to deliver on the plans that I've mentioned before," he said.
The plans include simultaneously rolling out the job placement programme, the healthcare programme, and the youth mentoring programme.
"We are on position to do that very rapidly, because we've already identified some partners... and I intend to push on these quite quickly because residents expect me to do so," he said.
He thanked his supporters and campaign team for their work during the nine-day campaign and also Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) candidate Chee Soon Juan and his party for putting up a hot contest.
"This is also a recognition that the SDP has run a very well-organised campaign, and I have to acknowledge that and also thank SDP for giving me the opportunity to articulate my plans," Mr Murali said.
Minister of Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said it was a tough fight for Mr Murali, and welcomed the Bukit Batok SMC to the Jurong GRC family.
By-elections are tough for the ruling party because voters see it as an opportunity to vote for the opposition with the PAP already in government. Was it even tougher for Mr Murali as a minority candidate?
Ms Fu said it was too early to tell whether race had an effect on the results, but said PAP thought the results showed a strong mandate for Mr Murali.
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said Mr Murali came out stronger than expected.
"He did exceptionally well. I've said my piece of Murali and I believe every word I've said about him."
2015 General Election