Saturday, 26 May 2012

Day After Cooling-Off Day - Update

Workers' Party wins Hougang By-Election with 62.09 percent

Yahoo! News Singapore, 26 May 2012

Workers' Party has retained the seat of Hougang, with its candidate Png Eng Huat winning 62.09 per cent -- or 13,447 -- of total votes.
His rival from the People's Action Party, Desmond Choo, won 37.91 per cent -- or 8,210 -- of total eligible votes.
Png's clear winning margin was 5,237 of votes.
Rejected votes formed 294 or 1.34 of total votes.
The winning margin is nearly three percentage points less than former WP member Yaw Shin Leong's margin of 64.8 per cent against the same PAP candidate Desmond Choo 

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PAP: Chance to start afresh in Hougang
PM Lee, Khaw Boon Wan urge residents to back young candidate
By Rachel Chang, The Straits Times, 25 May 2012
THE People's Action Party (PAP) ended its campaign in Hougang yesterday with a call for change in the ward, urging voters to start afresh with its young candidate.

'Hougang, let's turn over a new page and start again,' declared party chairman Khaw Boon Wan at the PAP's final rally of the by-election last night.

With the ward in opposition hands since 1991, Hougang residents had been adversely affected, said Mr Khaw.

'This is a good chance for a fresh start.'

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong struck the same note in remarks to the media yesterday.

'Now the people of Hougang have a chance to make a fresh start, to vote in a PAP candidate who will work with the Government to improve their lives,' he wrote.

'I hope Hougang voters seize this chance.'

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PAP deploys Singapore’s 'auntie killer'

Desmond Choo is playing up his local credentials and doing his best to appeal to older Chinese women

With his boyish good looks and modest charm, they call him the “auntie killer”.

Desmond Choo, a 34-year-old former policeman, is the ruling party of Singapore’s best shot at unseating the opposition’s incumbent in a by-election on Saturday, where the older female Chinese vote will count.

In normal times, a district poll in this south-east Asian nation of 5.1m people would barely stir much interest, even domestically. But the poll in Hougang, with a mere 25,000 voters, is being seen as a barometer of whether Singapore’s paternalistic political model has started to change since the ruling People’s Action party last year suffered its worst election result since the country’s independence in 1965.

The PAP’s share of the vote fell from 66.6 per cent to 60.1 per cent last year. While this result would be the envy of any party in a western liberal democracy, it amounted to a small earthquake in Singapore.

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Tearful Desmond Choo tells Hougang voters: I will stand up for you

PAP's Desmond Choo makes a tearful appeal for Hougang voters to give him a chance to serve the ward (Yahoo! Photo/Deborah Choo)
PAP's Desmond Choo makes a tearful appeal for Hougang voters to give him a chance to serve the ward (Yahoo! Photo/Deborah Choo)

People's Action Party (PAP) candidate Desmond Choo made a tearful appeal on Thursday evening for Hougang voters to give him a chance to forge a new future for them.

Speaking in English, Mandarin, Malay and Teochew at the Hougang stadium during the party’s last rally for the Hougang by-election, Choo said that he had continued his work in the single member constituency despite losing in last May's General Election (GE) because "I care and I want to serve you".

The last speaker for the night, the 34-year-old PAP candidate talked about the improvements he has brought to the residents since the GE -- including toilet upgrades and tuition programmes -- but added that there remains work to be done in Hougang ........................ 

As he neared the end of his speech, Choo turned emotional when he promised to take the journey with Hougang residents.

"We can build a future for Hougang together," he urged one last time, as tears rolled down his cheeks.

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PAP candidate Desmond Choo refutes online rumours

PAP candidate Desmond Choo refutes online rumours

PAP candidate for Hougang by-election Desmond Choo has rubbished online rumours that he is asking residents to vote for him in return for gifts.

Mr Choo said he is a man of integrity and he does not want his integrity to be challenged.

He said he has been going about the campaign in a sincere way and there's no way he will do such things.

"I have developed schemes for them even after I've lost (in the last GE), these things are provided for them and the allegation is nothing consistent with what I've been doing," he said.

The allegation first appeared on Temasek Review's Facebook page this morning, but the post has since been taken down.

The person who posted the allegation said a police report may be made.

Mr Choo said if a police report is made, he will address it seriously.

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S’pore chooses new leaders very carefully: Lee Kuan Yew

S’pore chooses new leaders very carefully: Lee Kuan Yew
TOKYO: Singapore’s former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said Singapore is very careful in selecting its new leaders, allowing them to work with senior leaders for long years before they take over the leadership.

He said this is to ensure that leaders understand the intricacies of government and also maintain high standards of honesty and duty.
"I hope that successive leaders will bring in carefully selected people who have got the potential to do more than something for themselves.

They’re not paid very much to do that. It must be a bit of a sacrifice, because the people with the potential to be ministers can easily earn bigger figures outside in the public sector," he said.

Mr Lee was asked at the annual Nikkei "Future of Asia Conference" in Tokyo about Singapore’s leadership succession process.

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PM on PAP's chances in Hougang and NCMP issue

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday gave the media written answers to several questions on the Hougang by-election. These are his replies:

This is the second time that PAP candidate Desmond Choo is being fielded for Hougang. How different is the contest this time?

The PAP takes Hougang seriously. In the last GE, we fielded a strong and promising candidate - Desmond Choo. Desmond is young, energetic and passionate about helping people.

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PAP and WP's last try to win hearts and minds

Who the next Member of Parliament (MP) for Hougang will be, now
lies in the hands of its voters, who will go to the polls tomorrow.
Last night marked the end of nine days of hard-pounding campaign efforts by both candidates - the Workers' Party's (WP's) Png Eng Huat and the People's Action Party's (PAP's) Desmond Choo.

They held concurrent rallies last night in Hougang - the PAP at Hougang Stadium and the WP at an open field in Hougang Central.

It was their last-ditch attempt to win over the hearts and minds of the single-member ward's 23,368 voters, as campaigning and election advertising are disallowed today, which is Cooling-Off Day.
The WP called for a check against the PAP, while the PAP called for a fresh start.

Yesterday, Mr Png added that he turned down the opportunity to run for the Joo Chiat single-member constituency in the GE last year - in which the losing party was seen as having a high chance of fielding an NCMP - precisely because he was against the NCMP scheme.

Mr Png also said Mr Teo had "hijacked" Mr Choo's campaign. He questioned why the PAP's "big guns" weighed in only mid-way, while the WP's central team has supported him since the start. "Is PAP serious about taking Hougang?" he asked.

Mr Png also outlined his plans for Hougang, giving specific numbers of clusters and blocks of flats which he said would receive renewal programmes, repairs, reroofing and redecoration.

He added that voting for WP will ensure that the "fire of democracy that was started (in Hougang) 21 years ago will continue to spread from Aljunied to East Coast to Joo Chiat and beyond".

Also speaking at the rally, WP chairman Sylvia Lim responded to Mr Choo's comments about how Hougang belonged to residents and not the WP.

"We know that Hougang does not belong to the Workers' Party, just as Singapore does not belong to the PAP," she said. "Singapore belongs to the people of Singapore and Hougang belongs to the people of Hougang."

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Hougang by-election: What it will really come down to

The recent spate of events has caused the Hougang by-election to become more than just a mundane affair. (Yahoo!

A by-election which was expected to be nothing more than a formality to fill a vacant seat has turned into something else.

It all started earlier this year with allegations of personal indiscretions by the Workers' Party (WP) Member of Parliament (MP), Yaw Shin Leong. Subsequently, Yaw was dismissed from the party for failing to give an account of the allegations to his party leadership.

According to the law, anyone who is no longer a member of the party with which he won his parliamentary seat is deemed to have vacated that seat. Yaw's seat in the Hougang single-member constituency (SMC) was thus declared vacant on 14 February.

That set the stage for a by-election in the WP stronghold, which the party has held for more than 20 years. Speculation followed on who the WP would field to replace Yaw, and whether there will be a multi-party contest in the ward.

The rumours and speculations continued — until the Prime Minister , under whose aegis resided the power to call by-elections, made some controversial remarks regarding his discretionary powers. Speaking to the media on 15 February, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, "On whether and when to hold a by-election in Hougang, I will consider the matter carefully."

That gave rise to questions of his discretionary powers in calling by-elections. The law clearly says that the PM must call by-elections, and that he has no power not to call one.

To settle the uncertainties, Hougang resident Vellama Marie Muthu then made an application to the courts to order the PM to call a by-election in Hougang within 3 months of the seat being vacated or any such time as the court deemed fit.

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PAP Rally Speeches

Workers Party Speeches