Work has started for PAP's West Coast team: Iswaran
Iswaran says his team has already started work to deliver on promises
The newly elected People's Action Party (PAP) team in West Coast GRC is grateful for the support of the majority of voters in a closely fought contest, and it has started work to deliver on its promises, said Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran.
Speaking to reporters yesterday after a walkabout at Boon Lay Place Market and Food Village to thank voters, Mr Iswaran said the contest put up by the opposition Progress Singapore Party (PSP) had given voters much to think about.
In Friday's election, the PAP team won the group representation constituency with 51.69 per cent of the votes against the PSP, led by former PAP stalwart Tan Cheng Bock.
When asked what went right or wrong with the PAP's campaign strategy, Mr Iswaran, who was the team's anchor minister, said it was too early to arrive at definitive conclusions.
The PAP's vote share was a 26 percentage point drop from the 2015 polls, when it secured 78.57 per cent of the votes against the Reform Party.
Asked about the possible reasons for the tilt towards the opposition, Mr Iswaran said: "I think there are obviously multiple factors at play, and it's very hard to make specific attributions."
The PAP team ran a mostly low-profile campaign, including market and house visits, as well as social media posts. It did not hold any online rallies during the campaign period.
The GRC manifesto had highlighted numerous upcoming infrastructure improvements, such as the Jurong Regional Line and Silver Zones for the elderly.
Mr Iswaran said: "The post-mortem will have to be done at different levels, so it's a bit early to analyse this. But as you have heard from PM (Lee Hsien Loong) and so on, there are multiple factors at play, we imagine. There are national-level issues, and I think it's also a function of the opponents in the relevant divisions, and so on."
The contest between the two parties in the constituency was among the tightest in the election.
The PAP team - comprising Mr Iswaran, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, Ms Foo Mee Har, Mr Ang Wei Neng and new candidate Rachel Ong - had campaigned on creating jobs, providing employment assistance, strengthening social safety nets, and initiatives for youth and families.
Dr Tan of the PSP had cited his track record as a long-serving former PAP MP and called for greater transparency as well as putting workers and businesses first.
His team included PSP assistant secretary-general Leong Mun Wai, Ms Hazel Poa, Mr Nadarajah Loganathan and Mr Jeffrey Khoo.
Yesterday, Mr Iswaran said the team's immediate priority is to set up a town council that will oversee municipal matters in both West Coast GRC and Pioneer SMC.
It will be chaired by newly elected Pioneer MP Patrick Tay, with participation from other West Coast GRC MPs, he added.
Progress Singapore Party will still serve residents: Tan Cheng Bock
The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) will continue to serve residents across Singapore despite not winning any seats in the general election, party chief Tan Cheng Bock said yesterday.
The party got 48.31 per cent of the votes against the winning People's Action Party (PAP) team in West Coast GRC, the narrowest margin in the election.
This makes the losing opposition team eligible for two Non-Constituency MP seats in the next Parliament.
Dr Tan, a retired general practitioner and veteran PAP backbencher who formed the PSP last year, said the better-educated have a social responsibility to give back to society.
"We just continue to serve. I will of course tell my other PSP members to have this kind of philosophy," he said.
Dr Tan was speaking to reporters during a visit to five markets in the group representation constituency to thank residents for their support, together with his teammates Leong Mun Wai, Hazel Poa, Nadarajah Loganathan and Jeffrey Khoo.
Party members said plans include holding alternative Meet-the-People Sessions led by their candidates in constituencies they contested in the election.
Asked who will fill the two NCMP seats, Dr Tan said the party's central executive committee will be holding a meeting today to make a decision.
Dr Tan and his second-in-command Mr Leong had previously said they would not accept an NCMP seat if offered.
When asked yesterday if he might reconsider his decision, Mr Leong said that "it depends on the party" and that "there is a process" the party has to go through to nominate the two individuals.
Dr Tan said that this post-election period is "a good chance for me now not only to renew my party, but to consolidate our position".
He also said a post-mortem of the party's election campaign will be conducted.
"After the post-mortem and the consolidation of the party, I think we will be a very different party," he said.
Dr Tan added that West Coast is not the same place as it was when he was MP.
From 1980 to 2006, Dr Tan was MP for Ayer Rajah, which is currently part of the five-member West Coast GRC.
"West Coast is so big, it is five times the size of Ayer Rajah, so we can expect new people who also won't know me," he said.