Not just a win for Bukit Batok: PM Lee on Murali’s 61.2% victory DPM Tharman says Mr Murali Pillai “came out stronger than expected” while the new PAP MP called the results a “good foundation” for his plans. By Yvonne Lim PAP's Murali Pillai giving his mother a kiss after the post-by-election press conference. (Photo: Linette Lim) SINGAPORE: Fresh off his by-election victory in Bukit Batok, Mr Murali Pillai is raring to get started on his “ambitious agenda” for the ward, viewing the result as a “good foundation” to build his plans on - despite the sizeable vote swing away from the People’s Action Party (PAP). “I think it’s a great result,” said the 48-year-old lawyer and grassroots veteran who felt humbled and encouraged. “And I thank Bukit Batok residents for giving me this mandate.” Mr Murali, 48, netted 14,428 or 61.2 per cent of the total votes cast on Saturday (May 7). It was a tough electoral fight that saw the Singapore Democratic Party’s Dr Chee Soon Juan narrowing the vote margin significantly from the 2015 General Election, when the PAP’s David Ong won 73 per cent of the vote against SDP candidate Sadasivam Veriyah. Asked about the nearly 12-percentage-point vote fall – even larger than that in the 2013 by-election, where the ruling party lost Punggol East – Mr Murali said: “Coming from Aljunied, I’m used to razor-thin margins. “I said from the start that this will be a tough election, and I’m really grateful for the results.” Mr Murali was part of the PAP team in GE2015 that got 49 per cent of the vote in Workers’ Party-held Aljunied GRC. “Certainly there’s lots of work to be done. Take it in that spirit,” he added, saying he would “start tomorrow”. Posting on Facebook, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong congratulated Mr Murali, saying he and his team “have campaigned hard, but now their real work begins”.