GE2020: Key ministers in the Covid-19 battle lead GRC teams to victory in polls

SINGAPORE – Ministers front-and-centre in the nation’s battle against Covid-19 led their teams to victory in the general election, albeit with lower margins compared with the 2015 polls.

Multi-ministry task force co-chair Gan Kim Yong, 61, who led the PAP team contesting Chua Chu Kang GRC, garnered 58.64 per cent of the votes against the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), down sharply from its 76.89 per cent win in 2015.

Task force co-chair Lawrence Wong, 47, who led the PAP team in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC against the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), won 63.18 per cent of the votes, a dip from 68.73 per cent in 2015.

Health Minister Gan and National Development Minister Wong have together been the face of the nation’s fight against the coronavirus, directing a whole-of-government response and appearing together at least once a week to update the country on efforts to protect Singaporeans and curb the virus spread.

The People’s Action Party won 15 out of 17 group representation constituencies, losing the newly formed Sengkang GRC and Aljunied GRC to the Workers’ Party (WP).

The ruling party saw its vote share dip in all GRCs.

In Jalan Besar GRC, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, 51, who moved from Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, saw her team win against Peoples Voice with 65.37 per cent of the votes, compared with 67.73 per cent in the previous election.

She had been in the spotlight over living standards for foreign workers, after an explosion of Covid-19 cases in dormitories where they live.

Commenting on the trio’s performance, Dr Elvin Ong, post-doctoral fellow at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia, said: “I think, overall, they fared reasonably well, even though the spotlight was on them.”

Dr Ong, who is also overseas post-doctoral fellow with the Department of Political Science at the National University of Singapore, added: “They will have to work hard to maintain their lead in the next few years.”

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, 50, another central figure in efforts to contain the economic fallout of the virus, led his Tanjong Pagar team to victory against the PSP, with 63.13 per cent of the votes, down from 77.71 per cent in 2015.

While PAP teams in constituencies such as Ang Mo Kio and Jurong scored comfortable wins exceeding 70 per cent of the votes, several others – including East Coast, Marine Parade and West Coast – failed to breach 60 per cent of the votes.

The PAP team in Marine Parade GRC, led by the Speaker of the 13th Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, took home 57.76 per cent of the votes against the WP, lower than the 64.07 per cent achieved in the 2015 General Election.

Observers had anticipated a close fight in the five-member constituency after Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, 79, said last month that he was leaving politics after 44 years.

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