SINGAPORE: Workers’ Party (WP) chief and Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh visited old and new residents at Compassvale, a division of Sengkang Group Representation Constituency (GRC), on Thursday (27 July).
Compassvale was under the charge of former Sengkang GRC MP Raeesah Khan, who resigned from the WP and retired from politics in 2021 after she admitted to lying in Parliament. The division has not had a dedicated MP since Ms Khan stepped down.
Constituents appeared happy to see Mr Singh conduct house visits this week. Sharing photos he took with Compassvale residents, Mr Singh said on Facebook: “Cleanliness and general maintenance are things I routinely ask about and many residents were satisfied with their block and the area and had kind words to share about their block sweeper and the common area cleaners.”
He added, “It was an absolute pleasure to talk and chat with many of them this evening. A warm welcome to residents who have just moved into Sengkang!”
While a number of Singaporeans online have praised Mr Singh for walking the ground at Compassvale and have appreciated the WP’s teamwork in making sure residents are cared for, some are asking why the WP has chosen not to seek a by-election to fill the vacant seat so constituents can have a dedicated MP.
Sengkang GRC’s remaining three elected MPs have been juggling Ms Khan’s duties on top of their own over the past two years.
This not only skews the balance of workload and compromises the remaining MPs’ ability to fully represent and serve their constituents but also raises questions about equitable representation and fair governance, as the level of support that can be extended to each constituent is potentially limited.
Critics have argued that this undermines the fundamental principle of effective representation and could lead to constituents feeling neglected or unheard.
Parliament is now short of six MPs, with voters in six sub-constituencies left without dedicated representatives and MPs in six group wards having to serve more than one division.
The GRC system, which allows lesser-known candidates to ride on the popularity of heavyweight ministers, has been criticised for potentially diluting the voice of individual constituents and favouring the ruling party.
These critics hold that if it had sought by-elections, the WP could have maintained a higher moral ground by pushing for more direct representation and contesting the dominance of heavyweight ministers within the GRC framework.