Photo of Murali from The Straits Times

Despite having lost their MP to corruption, Bukit Batok SMC voters gave their support to the ruling party PAP again in a 61.21% mandate for the by-election yesterday (May 7). PAP candidate Murali Pillai won 14,428 votes out of 24,192 votes cast, his opponent SDP Dr Chee Soon Juan only secured 9,142 votes (38.79%) while 622 votes were rejected. This is however a 12% vote swing from the ruling party PAP to the opposition SDP as compared to the General Election held September last year.

The by-election campaign was also one of the most corrupted in Singapore history, with various ministers firing disparaging remarks, some even defamatory like the one from Manpower Minister Tan Chuan Jin, at the opposition candidate. A S$1.9 million estate upgrading vote-buying carrot was also issued by the ruling party. State-controlled mainstream media also openly breached the Cooling-Off Day by advertising in full for the ruling party on hardcopy newspapers.

Opposition candidate Dr Chee and his party SDP however ran on a very conservative campaign, avoiding personal confrontations and taunting from the ruling party ministers. The SDP fear that responding to the PAP ministers would result in defamation lawsuits which had earlier disqualified Dr Chee from standing in the past two decades.

PAP candidate Murali Pillai was deployed from the PAP Aljunied GRC team, his replacement for Aljunied GRC is still not named yet.