Bukit Batok electorate votes for better politics

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It has been 37 years since the PAP won a by-election in a single seat. The last time we did so was in 1979.

In the single seat by-elections for Anson (1981), Hougang (2012) and Punggol East (2013), we did not prevail. What this tells us is that when the PAP has already formed the government, the desire among voters to vote Opposition can be very enticing.

When the Bukit Batok by-election was called, some expected Dr Chee Soon Juan of SDP to win.

After all, the 2013 Punggol East by-election took place under similar unfortunate circumstances as Bukit Batok, with PAP failing to keep the Punggol East SMC seat.

Furthermore, Dr Chee is a nationally known politician, being the leader of the political party that veteran politician Mr Chiam See Tong founded. And Dr Chee was taking on a relative unknown - Comrade Murali Pillai. He is a good man but was not a national household name going into the campaign.

Looking back at nearly four decades of single seat by-elections, it was clear that the projected trend of history should have favoured Dr Chee in Bukit Batok.

Yet the result was a rejection of Dr Chee and the SDP which garnered only 38.79 per cent against 61.21 per cent for the PAP, despite every single factor apparently in Dr Chee's favour in this by-election.

On May 7, the residents of Bukit Batok made history, and voted for a good man and a better kind of politics.

The writer is a PAP activist at Taman Jurong Branch.

This article was first published in the May 2016 issue of Petir Magazine.

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