Singapore GE2020: Record Number of Women Candidates Emerge Victorious, Outshine Opponents

  • With a record number of women candidates in the GE2020, Singapore took a step forward in making the playing field even

  • These five women candidates made a mark in the GE2020 and will be the names to look forward to in future elections and shaping society

It was not an election the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) would be proud of. A decrease in the popular vote share aside, PAP for the first time lost two GRCs — Aljunied and newly formed Sengkang — in the General Election 2020.

However, the country saw the emergence of women power in politics. A record 40 women from all parties combined contested in the election. In the 2015GE, the number was 35. The majority of women candidates in the GE2020 was from the ruling PAP at 25 among 93 candidates. The main opposition, Workers' Party (WP), fielded five women among 21 candidates, while Progress Singapore Party (PSP) had five women among its 24 contenders.

However, among them, a record number of 27 women from PAP and WP combined will represent Singaporeans in the Parliament. There were few candidates among the winners who made a mark in the GE2020 — on social media and among voters in general.

Gan Siow Huang
PAP's Gan Siow Huang won from Marymount SMC Facebook/ Gan Siow Huang

Gan Siow Huang (PAP): Singapore's first woman general, Gan was a first-timer in politics and in the GE. The decision to field her from the newly formed Marymount SMC showed PAP's confidence in her. Marymount, a part of Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC in the previous election was a PAP stronghold but the changing political landscape and popularity of opposition in the constituency could have gone against the ruling party. But voters kept their trust on Gan, who was contesting against Progress Singapore Party's (PSP) Ang Yong Guan, the former SingFirst party chairman and a former army colonel. In a tough contest, Gan claimed 55.04 percent of votes to become a member of the parliament for the first time.

Poh Li San
PAP's Poh Li San won from Sembawang GRC YouTube grab/ Passenger Terminal Expo

Poh Li San (PAP): The former search and rescue helicopter pilot with the Singapore Air Force has been a popular face among youth and netizens. Poh, who contested from the Sembawang GRC, would enter the parliament for the first time. Her team that consisted of Ong Ye Kung, Vikram Nair, Lim Wee Kiak and Mariam Jaafar won against National Solidarity Party (NSP) line-up of Spencer Ng, Ivan Yeo Tiong Boon, Sebastian Teo, Yadzeth Haris and Sathin Ravindran with 67.29 percent of votes.

She has been lauded for her work with the Changi Airport Group. Poh helped conceptualize Terminal 4 and also aided in the planning of Terminal 5.

Josephine Teo
PAP's Josephine Teo, who is Manpower Minister, anchored Jalan Besar GRC and pulled off a win Facebook/ Josephine Teo

Josephine Teo (PAP): TheManpowerMinister is one of the most recognizable faces among PAP candidates. Teo, who moved to Jalan Besar GRC to anchor the constituency didn't disappoint her party, securing 65.37 of vote share against Peoples Voice party line-up. Her PAP teammates included Heng Chee How, Denise Phua and Wan Rizal.

Teo, who has been criticized for her response in dealing with an increasing number of COVID-19 patients among the migrant workers and the dormitories will look to bounce back. She recently said Singapore was already creating jobs for Singaporeans first and she would continue to expand jobs for them.

Raeesah Khan
WP's Raeesah Khan won from Sengkang GRC Facebook/ Raeesah Khan

Raeesah Khan (WP): A social activist and WP's youngest candidate has been a social media darling. But her comments on race and religion and accusations that Singapore Law and Enforcement was biased against minorities had almost derailed her from the campaign.

However, WP's backing and her supporters campaigning for her on social media eventually triumphed. Alongside He Ting Ru, Dr Jamus Lim and Louis Chua Khan's team claimed WP's second GRC in the election from Sengkang with a narrow 52.13 percent vote share. As a first time MP and a voice of minority and young generation, Khan would be the one to look forward to.

Sylvia Lim
WP's Sylvia Lim won from Aljunied GRC Facebook/ Workers' Party

Sylvia Lim (WP): A veteran politician and the chairman of the WP, Lim is the main face among women in the opposition. For the incumbent MP from Aljunied GRC since 2011, it was another show of people's trust in the GE2020. Her team that also included Pritam Singh, Faisal Manap, Leon Perera and Gerald Giam secured close to 60 percent mandate — up by nine percent — against PAP line-up of Victor Lye, Shamsul Kamar, Alex Yeo, Chua Eng Leong and Chan Hui Yuh.

There was also WP's Nicole Seah, who was one of the favorites in the GE2020 but her team lost a close contest to PAP that included Deputy PM Heng Swee Keat in the East Coast GRC. She will be one to look forward to in the future if she sticks to WP.