By Phyllis Lee
The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has filed a lawsuit in the High Court to challenge the Government’s decision on not calling for a by-election in the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.
A seat in the four-member constituency opened up when former Member of Parliament (MP) Halimah Yacob resigned from her roles to run for this year’s Reserved Presidential Elections.
In a statement published yesterday [Sept 13], SDP cited Section Article 49 (1) of the Constitution, which states that “Whenever the seat of a Member, not being a non-constituency Member, has become vacant for any reason other than a dissolution of Parliament, the vacancy shall be filled by election in the manner provided by or under any law relating to Parliamentary elections for the time being in force.”
“It was the PAP that mandated that each GRC include at least one candidate from a predetermined minority race. But the same party is also the one who has arbitrarily decided that if that minority member resigns, there is no need to replace him or her in a by-election,” SDP noted.
The party also asserted that PAP, like any other political party, must serve the nation by respecting democracy.
SDP said: “Even though it [PAP] won the last elections and forms the government, it cannot and must not be allowed to do as it pleases without any check from the opposition.”
This topic was previously brought up in Parliament on Feb 6.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing said that a by-election need not be called for if a minority member of a GRC stepped down to run for the president.
This is because it would not affect the key goals of the GRC system, one of which is to ensure that there are enough minority members in the House.
SDP has engaged Peter Low & Choo LLC as their counsel, and the pre-trial conference is set for 9 October 2017.