Marsiling-Yew Tee by-election case will go to court in Jan 2018

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The court will decide whether the government needs to hold a by-election in Marsiling-Yew Tee Group Representation Constituency (GRC) at a half-day hearing on 15 Jan 2018.

The hearing date was set at a pre-trial conference (PTC) held this morning according to the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), which was one of the first groups that called on the government to trigger a by-election in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC since ex-minority Member of Parliament (MP) Halimah Yacob vacated her seat to run in the reserved presidential election this year, which she won by means of a walkover.

The SDP filed a lawsuit in mid-September, challenging the Government’s decision to appoint Chua Chu Kang GRC MP, Zaqy Mohamad as adviser to Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC Grassroots Organisation, instead of calling for a by-election.

While the SDP had planned to mount the legal challenge against the government itself, it appears that the political party will not be able to do so since the Attorney-General has objected to the SDP being part of the action.

The party revealed in a statement on its website today:

“It was also decided at the PTC that the SDP will not be a party in the matter. The Attorney-General had objected to the SDP being part of the action because, according to him, the party had no standing in the issue.
“In order not to complicate the proceedings and hold up the process, the SDP has agreed to withdraw from the action. This will leave Dr Wong Souk Yee, a resident in the GRC, as the sole plaintiff in the action.”

The SDP added that its withdrawal as a plaintiff in the legal case does not reverse its view that the “PAP must abide by the constitution and the spirit of democracy by ensuring that an MP who vacates his/her seat be replaced by another MP through a by-election.”

The party said that because of this, it will support Dr Wong in her legal action. Interestingly, the party also revealed that if a by-election is called, Dr Wong will contest the by-election under the SDP banner.

We re-publish the party’s full statement here:

The hearing for the legal action on whether the government needs to hold a by-election in the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC is set for a half-day hearing on 15 January 2018. This was determined at the pre-trial conference (PTC) held this morning.

It was also decided at the PTC that the SDP will not be a party in the matter. The Attorney-General had objected to the SDP being part of the action because, according to him, the party had no standing in the issue.

In order not to complicate the proceedings and hold up the process, the SDP has agreed to withdraw from the action. This will leave Dr Wong Souk Yee, a resident in the GRC, as the sole plaintiff in the action.

The withdrawal does not change the essence of the legal action. Our position is that the PAP must abide by the constitution and the spirit of democracy by ensuring that an MP who vacates his/her seat be replaced by another MP through a by-election. As such, the SDP will support Dr Wong in her action.

Dr Wong filed an affidavit in September in which she stated that with Ms Halimah Yacob (now President) resigning her seat, her constituency would not be fully represented in Parliament until the next general election if a by-election is not called.

In addition, the affidavit said that Ms Halimah’s resignation meant that the GRC would be left without an elected minority MP to represent the minority constituents there.

Dr Wong also stated in her affidavit that if a by-election is called, she would contest in it under the SDP ticket.

The Registrar will set a date for Written Submissions to be filed before the hearing.

In the meantime, we ask our friends to support the effort by contributing toward the legal expenses. To donate, please click here. Thank you.

SDP files lawsuit to call upon Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC by-elections

SDP considers legal action to spur govt to call for a by-election as Halimah Yacob vacates MP seat

13 COMMENTS

  1. 0

    4

    Dr Wong Souk Yee and “SDP’ standing behind you on this, is a total waste of time and people’s money. Even my 76 year old mother knows which way this will be going. Certainly not your way Dr Wong or for that matter the way of ‘SDP’ who only seem to be having your back for now.

  2. 2

    0

    When late Devan Nair vacated Anson to run for President, PAP lost Anson in the subsequent by-election. The win by JBJ broke the monopoly of Parliament by the PAP. Perhaps it is fearful of another loss and under similar circumstances if there is another BE.

  3. 4

    0

    I fully agree that there should be a by election in this GRC upon Halimah Yacob vacating this position as MP. Tho I’m always against SDP, it’s a principle of democracy since Halimah was chosen by the people in this GRC in 2015 election. Thus, the replacing MP should not be parachuted in automatically after all that MP wasn’t chosen by the people in an open election.