Choo: Back on the ground today

He may not have been successful in the Hougang by-election but, for People's Action Party's (PAP's) Desmond Choo, it is back to work today, helping residents on the ground.

Said the 34-year-old: "Let's remain true to what we have always set out to do, which is to help residents solve their problems.

"Many residents have said that they want to come by, and there are some follow-up cases that we need to do... The programmes (for residents) still need a lot of fund raising."

Despite his defeat, Mr Choo appeared upbeat before heading out to thank residents in Hougang yesterday morning.

At the PAP's Hougang branch office, he told reporters that he has "no regrets" about his "heartfelt campaign".

He was also encouraged by his larger vote share this time, compared to that in the General Election (GE) last year.

"We have an improvement in the percentage, reversed a downward trend, which is a big positive for myself and for the team... I believe that the process of change has started."

Mr Choo garnered 37.9 per cent of the votes in the by-election, compared to 35.2 per cent in last year's GE. In the 2006 GE, PAP secured 37.3 per cent of the votes in Hougang. Waving to residents from a lorry that took him around Hougang's public and private estates, Mr Choo was greeted by cheers and jeers. Still, he was heartened by the reception, saying it was "warmer" and better than it was at last year's tour to thank residents.

Last Saturday night, newly minted Member of Parliament for Hougang Png Eng Huat called upon Mr Choo to back the town council's efforts in pushing for upgrading in the constituency.

To this, Mr Choo said yesterday: "As long as the projects are sound, practicable, and are in the best interests of residents, I will try my best to support these programmes."

There was a chance meeting between Workers' Party (WP) and PAP members on their thank-you tours along Hougang Avenue 2, with spontaneous clapping erupting from both parties.

Hoping to catch up with Mr Png over a cup of coffee, Mr Choo said in Mandarin: "I told him, 'I'll wait till you aren't so busy and we will make a date'... We have exchanged phone numbers, he can look for me any time."

At an event last night, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean was asked about WP chief Low Thia Khiang's intention to put the by-election behind them and work together with the PAP.

Mr Teo said: "I do hope that he will move away from the combative tone he took during the by-election and work in a constructive way with the Government."

nggwen@sph.com.sg

Additional reporting by Ethan Lou


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