Fengshan, Sengkang West: Victories for PAP new face and incumbent

Fengshan has not turned out to be "heavenly" for the Workers' Party (WP) after all.

The team in blue lost to the People's Action Party (PAP) by a sizeable margin despite high expectations to the contrary.

PAP's Cheryl Chan, a first-time candidate, garnered 57.52 per cent of 21,556 valid votes. She beat WP's Dennis Tan, 45, who was also a first-time contestant but probably not as familiar to residents as his rival. Ms Chan, 38, has been a long-time grassroots leader in the precinct carved out of the East Coast GRC after the 2011 elections.

On Instagram last month, WP chairman Sylvia Lim posted a photo of herself eating at the Fengshan Market and Food Centre, captioned "the taste of Fengshan - heavenly", and hashtagged #reasonstowin. Up till the moment last night when a sample count showed Ms Chan leading Mr Tan 57:43, punters were expecting the area previously under PAP's Raymond Lim to swing towards the opposition.

But Mr Kenneth Lim, 39, who grew up in Fengshan, did not think so. "I was very confident that Cheryl would win because she has done a lot of groundwork," the property agent said.

Spotted at the Bedok Stadium with his eight-year-old daughter, Mr Lim said Ms Chan is "very sincere and upfront with people".

Asked if she was surprised by her win, Ms Chan said: "I didn't speculate on the results from the beginning." She added: "I'm happy that the residents are supportive. I'll continue to work hard and serve them to the best of my abilities."

Mr Tan, on the other hand, said he would like to "continue with my house visits, get to know residents better, and maybe win their support in the future".

Meanwhile, PAP incumbent Lam Pin Min, 46, has won Sengkang West SMC. Dr Lam got 62.11 per cent of the votes to beat his Workers' Party opponent, Mr Koh Choong Yong, 42. This represents a bigger win than in 2011, when Dr Lam defeated Mr Koh with 58.1 per cent of the vote.

But the single-member constituency has changed significantly since - nearly 40 per cent of its 30,119 voters did not vote there in 2011. The number of voters in the area has grown because 15 Build-to-Order developments, with about 10,500 flats in all, have been completed in the area. In addition, part of the ward was absorbed into Ang Mo Kio GRC with the redrawing of electoral boundaries.

Asked what he planned to do first, Dr Lam said residents had told him they wanted more childcare centres, wet markets and hawker centres. "All these will come in the coming years," he said, adding that there will be more infrastructure development to make Sengkang West "a better home".

This article was first published on September 12, 2015.
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