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SINGAPORE — The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) may not have won any seats this General Election (GE) but it has “definitely” caused an impact, said secretary-general Tan Cheng Bock following the release of poll results on Saturday (11 July) morning.
Speaking to reporters at the party’s headquarters in Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, the 80-year-old said that he was proud of his team members’ performance in the four group representation constituencies (GRC) and five single-member constituencies (SMC) they contested in, even though the party lost all 24 seats to the incumbent People’s Action Party (PAP).
West Coast GRC - which Dr Tan ran in - saw a tight contest, with his team taking 48.31 per cent of the vote share against the PAP’s 51.69 per cent.
Dr Tan’s team, also comprising assistant secretary-general Leong Mun Wai, Hazel Poa, Nadarajah Loganathan, and Jeffrey Khoo, came up against the PAP’s Communications and Information S Iswaran, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, Foo Mee Har, Ang Wei Neng, and Rachel Ong.
Commenting on his party’s overall performance, Dr Tan said, “We may not have won seats, but if you look at the level of support given to PSP candidates, I think average is about 40 per cent...for a new party and going through all these new areas, I am really quite proud of that performance.”
Calling it a new chapter for PSP, Dr Tan added, “I think the movement that I created will grow. We are not deterred by this disappointment. Because I think the team that I have built will go further in the next election.”
Apart from West Coast GRC, PSP contested in Tanjong Pagar GRC, Chua Chu Kang GRC, Nee Soon GRC, and five SMCs: Hong Kah North, Pioneer, Marymount, Yio Chu Kang and Kebun Baru.
He told his candidates not to be disheartened but to take failure in their stride and continue working the ground.
Dr Tan said PSP gave the PAP “a good fight” in West Coast GRC.
“I would say that if you look at the percentage, (West Coast) was a strong PAP area I know. The last one (PAP got) 78 per cent. Now we have brought it down to 51 per cent, I think that's a great achievement.” In GE2015, the PAP won against the Reform Party with 78.57 per cent of the votes.
He added that the overall results did not show a strong mandate for the PAP, whose overall vote share at the GE fell to 61.24 per cent from 69.9 per cent in GE2015.
“If you look at the result...maybe they over-concentrated on the West Coast. We distract them,” said Dr Tan, to laughter from the media personnel.
Dr Tan also congratulated the Workers’ Party (WP) for its unprecedented win in Sengkang GRC. The WP also retained Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC. With the three wins, the leading opposition party won 10 out of 93 parliamentary seats.
“I feel really happy for Workers’ Party, it’s a really big move. It’s good for the opposition... You see it takes so long to get 10 people in the House. So, I am quite happy that within one year, we have actually achieved a certain percentage of support by the people. So maybe together, we can even do better in the House.”
As the “best loser” in the GE, the PSP’s West Coast GRC team is expected to be offered two Non-Constituency Member of Parliament seats.
Dr Tan reiterated that he would not take the NCMP seat and leave it “open” for other members of his West Coast team to take them up.
“I've been in Parliament for so many years... but of course I leave the choice to the party, to the Exco, and I'm quite open. Maybe If we agree, we will send in two people into parliament, let them have an understanding of how parliamentary processes are like, and how we debate in the House.”
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