Lee Li Lian is by-election's top spender

Workers' Party (WP) candidate Lee Li Lian outspent her People's Action Party (PAP) rival Koh Poh Koon to be the top spender in the recent Punggol East by-election.

She spent about $65,000 in winning the seat, some $2,000 more than Dr Koh, according to the expenses that both of them and two other candidates declared to the Elections Department.

The declarations by the four also threw up some unusual items, like a skirt bought by the Reform Party's Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam, and about $15,700 given in honorarium to volunteers of the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA).

Ms Lee's bill totalled $65,227, of which the bulk - $47,324 - was spent on organising three rallies.

Campaign materials such as umbrellas, posters and newsletters cost $12,487.

The PAP's Dr Koh was a close second, spending $62,991.

Like Ms Lee, Dr Koh's big-ticket items were organising the two rallies ($32,045) and printing campaign publicity materials including 80,000 fliers ($19,791).

The law requires candidates to submit their election expenses to the Elections Department after the polls.

The first to do so was Ms Lee on Feb 25; Dr Koh was the last, on March 1.

All four bills were within the $110,771.50 legal limit, or $3.50 for each of the 31,649 registered Punggol East voters.

The lowest spender was Mr Jeyaretnam, at $35,308. He organised two rallies, like the PAP, but spent only $5,614 on them.

His biggest expense was $14,500, the amount he lost in election deposit because he received 353 votes, or 1.2 per cent of the votes, in the January polls.

He was the only candidate who hired a personal assistant at a cost of $1,200 for the campaign.

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