Let us take a look at our Parliamentary Elections Act
September 29, 2010, 4:49 pm
Filed under: Singapore

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“We have not considered that. There is nothing automatic about calling for a by-election. We have discussed this many times.”, said Lee Hsien Loong, according to Channel News Asia.

Ok Mister Prime Minister, let’s take a look at Part III of the Parliamentary Elections Act, Section 24, under the Writ of election.

Writ of election

24. —(1) For the purposes of every general election of Members of Parliament, and for the purposes of the election of Members to supply vacancies caused by death, resignation or otherwise, the President shall issue writs under the public seal, addressed to the Returning Officer.

(2) Every such writ shall be in Form 1 in the First Schedule and shall specify the date or dates (referred to in this Act as the day of nomination) not being less than 5 days nor more than one month after the date of the writ and the place or places of nomination (referred to in this Act as the place of nomination).

(2A) In respect of any group representation constituency, no writ shall be issued under subsection

(1) for an election to fill any vacancy unless all the Members for that constituency have vacated their seats in Parliament.

[10/88]

(3) Upon receipt of the writ, the Returning Officer shall proceed to hold the election in the manner hereinafter provided.

So enlighten me please, why is there nothing automatic about calling for a by-election?


9 Comments so far
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What about the following?

http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/non_version/cgi-bin/cgi_getdata.pl?&actno=1999-REVED-CONST&date=latest&method=part&segid=931158660-001483#931158660-001779

“Filling of vacancies

49. —(1) 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.

(2) The Legislature may by law provide for —

(a) the vacating of a seat of a non-constituency Member in circumstances other than those specified in Article 46;

(b) the filling of vacancies of the seats of non-constituency Members where such vacancies are caused otherwise than by a dissolution of Parliament.”

So is someone high up there being unconstitutional?

Comment by Butt So Cute

“(1) for an election to fill any vacancy unless all the Members for that constituency have vacated their seats in Parliament.”

This means to say if the entire team of MP resigns or vacates its seats for whatever reason then a by election must be called. In this case it is Ang Mo Kio GRC.

Comment by Jermin Chia

Hi Rachel, this part of the section should explain why:

(2A) In respect of any group representation constituency, no writ shall be issued under subsection(1) for an election to fill any vacancy unless all the Members for that constituency have vacated their seats in Parliament.

This just means that the by-elections can’t be called unless all the other GRC members have left their seats as well. Technically it’s possible that all but 1 member of a GRC may vacate their seats and no by-election need be called by law.

Of course, citing the law as backing doesn’t address whether the question of whether it’s fair to leave seats empty and residents without representation in parliament until the next GE. It’s a nonsensical law to begin with. Singapore is full of such nonsense.

Comment by defennder

It’s stated in subsection 2A for GRCs:

(2A) In respect of any group representation constituency, no writ shall be issued under subsection (1) for an election to fill any vacancy unless all the Members for that constituency have vacated their seats in Parliament.

Comment by burp

Hmm oh well, perhaps I was too excited and misinterpreted it.

However Butt So Cute there pointed out something interesting which I have overlooked. Food for thought?

Comment by rachelabsinthe

Butt So Cute September 30, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

With reference to the above comments, it still doesn’t look as though a by-election has to be called by the constitution.

“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.”

This means to say the vacancy has to be filled in accordance with any law governing parliamentary elections. And that means it defers to the Parliamentary Elections Act which says no election shall be called unless all GRC seats have been vacated.

You can interpret it however way you like, but you can’t fight the party by using the rules it designed to keep it in power. The only hope is for Parliament to make amendments to that unjust act. And while they’re at it, please also amend it to allow 18-year olds to vote. If you’re old enough to be deemed by the state to fight and die for your country, you should be old enough to vote.

Comment by Defennder

“If you’re old enough to be deemed by the state to fight and die for your country, you should be old enough to vote.”

I totally AGREE!

Comment by rachelabsinthe

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