OK, Workers’ Party won the Hougang By Election with a 62.1% margin. That’s 2.7% lesser than 2011 General Election. Depending on which analyst you read, some might say this is a sign that what PAP has been doing in Hougang last year is showing some success. Honestly, that’s bullshit.
Let’s all take a look at what happened since 2011 General Election. Soon after the Election, WP’s treasurer Eric Tan resigned from the party because the party chosen Gerald Giam as NCMP instead of him. Some Workers’ Party MP were accused of plagiarism in their parliament speech and Facebook posting. The expulsion of Yaw Shin Leong over lack of accountability on his extramarital affair allegations. Just before nomination day, a WP member applied for a Political Donation Certificate without the knowledge of the party. And during the election, confidential minutes of the WP CEC meeting were leaked to the media. There might be more dirt on Workers’ Party which I missed. But you get the point.
And after all these internal problem within the Workers’ Party, People’s Action Party’s candidate only managed to increase his margin by 2.7%. Most people expect PAP to get a better margin. This goes to show that the changes that PAP introduced since last General Election has little or no impact to the voters’ sentiments. It also shows that the WP supporters still have faith in the party despite all the setbacks and issues.
And FYI, Desmond Choo garnered 8,065 votes in GE2011 and 8,210 votes in the By Election. That’s just a 145 votes increase. OK, the turnout for the By Election is 1,225 lesser than the previous General Election.
In my opinion, the “shift in votes” are insignificant. PAP should have done better. It’s kinda embarrassing that they didn’t secure a bigger margin.
But Workers’ Party shouldn’t be too happy about the win. It has been a rough year for WP. Low Thia Khiang is right, every political party will face obstacles and challenges. Although the voters continue to support WP despite all these issue, the party shouldn’t take the people’s support for granted. If Workers’ Party wants to take up bigger role and responsibility in Singapore political scene, it needs to tidy up the party first.
As for the People’s Action Party, it seems that nothing much has changed since last election. Some analyst said that this By Election is a referendum on the government’s recent reforms. If that is really the case, then it seems like the voters of Hougang has given the PAP a F9 grade.