Workers Party retains Hougang. Its candidate, Png Eng Huat, won 62.09 per cent of the vote, a little less than the 64.8% the party won last year. The by-election became necessary after Hougang’s former MP Yaw Shin Leong was expelled from the Workers Party following an extramarital affair with a party member. Desmond Choo of the PAP, who lost the election last year with 35.2 per cent of the vote, polled 37.91 per cent this time. The Workers Party won 13,447 votes and the PAP 8,210 votes. Png performed almost as well as the Workers Party leader Low Thia Khiang, who won 62.7 per cent of the vote in Hougang in the 2006 general election. Low now represents the Aljunied Group Representation Constituency, the first GRC won by the opposition in the general election last year. Here are pictures of the winning candidate and his jubilant supporters in Hougang — and links to reports in the international media.
Radio Australia reported: An opposition candidate won by a landslide in a Singapore by-election as voters handed a stinging rebuke to the ruling party in a poll seen as a referendum on their recent reforms.
Commented the Wall Street Journal: Singapore’s ruling party lost its bid to reclaim a longtime opposition bastion in a Saturday by-election that was widely billed as a referendum on the government’s efforts to ease swelling socioeconomic tensions in the city-state.
The Financial Times said: Singapore’s ruling People’s Action party (PAP) lost a landmark by-election on Sunday but improved its showing since a poll in the same district a year ago, bringing some relief a year after suffering its worst national poll result since independence.
The Wall Street Journal added: The People’s Action Party government still dominates Parliament despite the setback, retaining its 81 seats in an 87-member legislature, while the Workers’ Party—winners of Saturday’s vote in the Hougang ward—restored their ranks to six lawmakers. But the result, a widely expected one, echoes strident public calls for more government remedies to deal with high living costs, infrastructural failures and a widening gap between rich and poor.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, while he is disappointed by the loss, he is “encouraged that the PAP obtained 37.9% of the votes” this year, which improved on on PAP’s results in the two previous general elections: 2006 (37.3%) and 2011 (35.2%).