Sunday 13 September 2015

GE2015: SMC results; PAP's Punggol East win opens door to AHPETC accounts

Single-Member Constituencies: Punggol East

PAP wrests single seat back with narrow win
Workers' Party candidate Lee Li Lian says she will not take up NCMP post
By Christopher Tan, Senior Transport Correspondent, Jalelah Abu Baker and Marissa Lee, The Straits Times, 12 Sep 2015

The sums have somehow added up for Mr Charles Chong, as the veteran MP reclaimed Punggol East for the People's Action Party (PAP) from the Workers' Party (WP).

Mr Chong, 62, beat the incumbent, Ms Lee Li Lian, 37, by a thin margin, garnering 51.76 per cent of valid votes.

His win ends the opposition's short hold on the single-member constituency, which it secured in January 2013 in a by-election called following the resignation of PAP MP Michael Palmer over an extramarital affair.

Back then, Ms Lee beat PAP's Dr Koh Poh Koon with 54.5 per cent of the votes.

During his campaign, Mr Chong dwelled on the affairs of the Punggol East town council, saying that Pasir Ris-Punggol town council had a surplus of $1 million when it handed its accounts over to the WP after the 2013 by-election.

The WP denied the claim vigorously, insisting that the town council had a deficit of $282,009 then.

The debate took on a life of its own on social media, with professional accountants weighing in on the matter. And observers reckoned that the PAP's claim would backfire.

But as the latest election results have shown, that did not happen.

Mr Chong said his immediate plans were to "get (the) town council in order and some municipal issues, and also some issues which residents have brought up to me during the last few Meet-the-People Sessions".

He also said residents had complained that maintenance of the town had "deteriorated".

"There was not much I could do until I took back the town council, then we can know how much funds we have," he said.

Asked if he expected to win, the man who claimed his first - and equally thin - SMC victory four years ago in Joo Chiat, said: "I never take things for granted. Most of my contests, they have been close. I never take anything for granted."

He said he had a slight advantage as "some of the areas, I have taken care of before".

Before Joo Chiat, Mr Chong was an MP for the Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, which Punggol East was a part of.

Mr Chong, who has been in politics for nearly three decades, said he did not want to harp on the town council accounts, but the WP "kept on raising it during the rally, so I had to respond".

"I think one way of resolving (this) once and for all is to have all the accounts checked, do a forensic, once and for all," he added.

Ms Lee, who impressed residents in 2013 with her earnest and approachable ways, said that her loss may be down to "municipal issues".

"I respect the voters' decision": The Workers' Party's Lee Li Lian says she will not take up a Non-Constituency MP post. She lost her Punggol East seat to People's Action Party's Charles Chong. #GE2015LIVE UPDATES: LIVE:
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Friday, September 11, 2015

She broke down and cried after the sample count was done, but managed to compose herself later when she met the press.

"Right from the start, we cannot expect that we will win," she said. "We have to fight for every vote. We cannot take any election for granted."

Ms Lee looks poised to be offered a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament position because she lost by the thinnest margin among all losers.

But she said she would not take it up.

"I respect the voters' decision," she said.

With Punggol East back with the ruling party, the number of seats the opposition has in Parliament will shrink from seven to six.

Hougang remains opposition stronghold
The Straits Times, 12 Sep 2015

Hougang residents are sticking with the Workers' Party (WP), with the majority voting for the opposition stronghold in this year's elections.

The single-member consti-tuency's incumbent Member of Parliament Png Eng Huat retained his seat with 57.69 per cent of the votes, beating People's Action Party challenger Lee Hong Chuang, who took 42.31 per cent.

Mr Lee Ah Boon, a 52-year-old babysitter, was among the residents who showed unwavering support for their Member of Parliament. He said: "For our MP, we don't need to look out for him. He looks out for us. He treats us like friends and we can have a coffee with him at the coffee shop as he has no airs.

"I have moved house four times and all in Hougang. It's a good place because of the Workers' Party and I don't want to move out."

Mr Png, 53, thanked his voters for giving him another opportunity to serve them. He added: "I will do my best for the whole of Hougang."

GE2015 Png Eng Huat on Hougang SMC
I don’t think AHPETC could have caused the voter swing: MP-elect for Hougang SMC Png Eng Huat. #GE2015LIVE UPDATES: LIVE:
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Friday, September 11, 2015

However, Mr Png's winning margin had narrowed from the by-elections in 2012, when he had managed to garner 62.1 per cent of the votes.

His challenger, Mr Lee, was pleased with the improvement in margin for his own party despite the loss. At the 2012 by-election, the PAP had garnered 37.9 per cent of the votes.

The first-time candidate and former national gymnast, who previously acknowledged the enormity of his task in an area where its residents strongly favoured the opposition, said: "I think the residents trusted me and could see that I was sincere. If the Prime Minister lets me, of course I want to come back."

"I'm quite happy with the results - in fact, my activists seem happier than me": PAP candidate for Hougang SMC Lee Hong Chuang, who is up against incumbent Png Eng Huat from WP. The sample count indicates that PAP has garnered 42% of the votes so far.LIVE UPDATES: LIVE:
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Friday, September 11, 2015

The 45-year-old senior IT manager's primary concern had been to forge a bond with the residents and to help solve their problems, which included a pledge to upgrade ageing facilities in the estate.

He had been walking the ground actively since May last year and had previously vowed to continue meeting residents in his current capacity as the PAP's Hougang branch chairman even if he lost.

Hougang SMC has been held by the WP since 1991, when Mr Low Thia Khiang, now the party's secretary-general, first wrested it from the PAP's Mr Tang Guan Seng.

Mr Low served Hougang for two decades before leaving the ward in 2011 to stand in Aljunied group representation constituency (GRC), as part of the WP's "A" team, which included party chairman Sylvia Lim and Rhodes scholar Chen Show Mao.

At the last general election in 2011, the WP had retained the seat, winning 64.8 per cent of the votes against the PAP.

In that election, the WP candidate was Mr Yaw Shin Leong, and the PAP candidate was Mr Desmond Choo. But Mr Yaw was later expelled from the WP for refusing to account to the party for an alleged extramarital affair. A by-election was called in 2012 and Mr Png, who replaced Mr Yaw, won the seat against Mr Choo.

Single-Member Constituencies: Potong Pasir

Sitoh retains seat with bigger margin
Estate upgrading seen as the clincher in defeat of SPP's Lina Chiam
By Clarissa Oon, Deputy Life! Editor, Lim Yan Liang and Lydia Lam, The Straits Times, 12 Sep 2015

Potong Pasir MP Sitoh Yih Pin took the former opposition stronghold for a second term, bettering his winning margin over opponent Lina Chiam by about 45 times.

His sprucing up of the single-seat ward, helmed by Mrs Chiam's husband Chiam See Tong for 27 years before the 2011 General Election, appeared critical to his win.

Mr Sitoh, 51, collected 66.4 per cent of the votes, 5,228 votes more than Singapore People's Party (SPP) chairman Mrs Chiam, 66. In 2011, he won by a mere 114 votes on his third attempt contesting in the single-seat ward where the electoral boundaries remain largely unchanged.

The People's Action Party MP has since rolled out a slew of upgrading projects in the once-rustic estate, including covered linkways, over 100 extra parking spaces and lifts that stop on every floor of HDB blocks.

In this election campaign, he promised other improvements, such as an expanded community-club gym and a free shuttle bus service plying the constituency.

Mrs Chiam had promised to bring back Potong Pasir's do-it-yourself "kampung" spirit. Mr Sitoh's rejoinder? "Kampung spirit doesn't mean you have to stay in a kampung... with no amenities."

"I'm very humbled by the mandate you've given me": People's Action Party's Potong Pasir MP-elect Sitoh Yih Pin thanks supporters as he retains his seat. #GE2015 FULL STORY: LIVE:
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Friday, September 11, 2015

He underlined his ability to roll up his sleeves and bring about change, likening himself to Hong Kong movie star Jackie Chan whose "one show a year is always a hit. There are no queries about his ability to act... I am the same".

His dynamism appeared to have won over supporters who previously voted for Mr Chiam.

One of them, Mr Tommy Tan, 63, who used to work in shipping, was at Cedar Girls' Secondary School last night where the votes for Potong Pasir were being counted.

He told reporters: "I used to support Mr Chiam but after so many years, the lift had still not been upgraded. Can you imagine, the estate had not been done up in 27 years and Sitoh does it in four years? I think he has the drive."

Political pundits had expected a closer race in a constituency where the Chiam name still commands loyalty and affection among some residents. This is especially as Mrs Chiam has said this will be the last election for her and her husband, 80, who has retired from politics.

Mr Sitoh had predicted that "it's going to be close", and confessed he had not slept much the night before, when interviewed by reporters yesterday evening ahead of the vote count.

The furrowed brow was replaced by a big smile when he thanked cheering supporters in his victory speech later that night at Toa Payoh Stadium. He said he was "very humbled" and assured voters that he "will fulfil all the promises and even more".

After the sample count showed her opponent clearly in the lead, Mrs Chiam left the school in a car, without stopping to talk to reporters. She later congratulated Mr Sitoh in a Facebook post, saying: "I hope that Singaporeans can work hand in hand with their elected MP to help the Government create better policies."

While she respected the choice of voters, she said her party would not give up contesting the ward. "Potong Pasir is too close to our hearts."

Single-Member Constituencies: Other SMCs

Ruling party scores over 70% in four single seats
By Yasmine Yahya, Assistant Money Editor, The Straits Times, 12 Sep 2015

The People's Action Party (PAP) swept four single-seat wards in the west and another in Central Singapore.

Incumbents in Mountbatten, Hong Kah North, Pioneer and Yuhua single-member constituencies (SMCs) all romped home with more than 70 per cent of the vote, and in Bukit Panjang, with 68.4 per cent.

It was clear from early on that things were going well for the ruling party's candidates. Barely an hour after counting started islandwide, sample counts showed the PAP leading strongly with at least 69 per cent of votes in all the five SMCs.

In Yuhua, Minister Grace Fu, 51, retained her seat with a resounding 73.5 per cent win. She beat opponent Jaslyn Go, 43, from the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) while chalking up a solid improvement from her 2011 showing, when her 66.8 per cent vote share made her one of the PAP's top performers.

Ms Fu, who has unveiled a five-year plan for the ward, called the result both an endorsement and a reflection of the responsibility placed on her shoulders.

"This shows our efforts to reach out to residents have paid off but it also reminds us of a lot of work that is ahead of us, and we will continue to work very very hard to serve the residents to the best of our abilities and to do as much as possible to reach out and to connect with the residents," she said.

Supporter Ong Eng Joon, 55, said he has found Ms Fu to be someone who delivers on her promises, adding that she has made improvements to the estate.

"The area has changed a lot in the past years, with lift upgrading and more facilities like parking spaces," he said.

Pioneer was another early win for the PAP, with incumbent Cedric Foo beating the National Solidarity Party's Elvin Ong by garnering 76.3 per cent of the vote.

Mr Foo, 55, who has been the ward's MP for 14 years, told reporters at Jurong West Stadium that the numbers showed residents recognise his team's efforts. He said that over the past four years, he and his team have done more for the young, improved facilities and organised activities to bring neighbours together.

"What is most fulfilling for me is to be able to reach out to needy families," he said.

In Hong Kah North, Dr Amy Khor, 57, took 74.8 per cent of the votes, almost three times more than her rival Ravi Philemon, 47, from the Singapore People's Party (SPP). Dr Khor improved on her 2011 result of 70.6 per cent, which made her the PAP's top scorer in that election.

"I want to pledge to continue to do my utmost to fulfil all my election promises and to work together with all of you to build an even better, more vibrant and more caring Hong Kah North," she told supporters at Jurong West Stadium.

In Mountbatten, Mr Lim Biow Chuan, 52, won 71.8 per cent of the vote against the SPP's Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss, 52.

Mr Lim, the ward's MP for nine years, said the result validates the work the PAP has done in the area, but added that there is more to do immediately.

"We have a whole list of things we are looking into. During the election campaign we received several requests from residents. We will compile them and see what we can do together to make Mountbatten a better place for all residents," he told The Straits Times.

Supporter Bryant Ng, who took leave from work to help Mr Lim campaign, said the MP has always been attentive to residents' needs.

"He will get contacts of residents and get agencies and grassroots leaders to resolve issues. He reacts very fast to help residents," he said.

In Bukit Panjang, Dr Teo Ho Pin, 55, garnered 68.4 per cent of the vote - more than double the share received by his opponent, the SDP's Khung Wai Yeen, 33.

Dr Teo, the ward's MP for 19 years, said the PAP's track record there speaks for itself.

"My residents know that I've laid out plans for them and these plans are relevant to their future needs. There are 30 per cent (of voters) who are still not very pleased with certain things. I'd like to hear from them, so we can see how we can improve their lives," he said.

Additional reporting by Chong Koh Ping, Carolyn Khew, Adrian Lim and Yeo Sam Jo.

Single-Member Constituencies: Radin Mas

Sam Tan's 77% score is highest for SMC
By Jonathan Wong and Priscilla Goy, The Straits Times, 12 Sep 2015

It was a memorable victory yesterday on several counts for Radin Mas SMC incumbent Sam Tan.

Not only did he increase his vote share by over 10 percentage points from GE2011, but his tally of 77.25 per cent was the highest garnered by the People's Action Party (PAP) for a single seat on a night of several expanded wins for the ruling party.

Mr Tan's stirring win came despite being in a three-cornered fight with independent candidate Han Hui Hui, 24, a civil society activist and blogger, and the Reform Party's Kumar Appavoo, 46.

OFFICIAL RESULTS: People's Action Party wins Radin Mas SMC with 20,230 votes vs RP's 3,329 vs independent candidate Han Hui Hui's 2,629. #GE2015
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Friday, September 11, 2015

That the overwhelming majority of the 28,906 voters backed him was vindication of his years of service, noted Mr Tan, who was elected an MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC in 2006 following a walkover. He took charge of the Radin Mas ward when it was carved out five years later.

He had defeated his National Solidarity Party rival Yip Yew Weng with 67.10 per cent of the votes, the second-highest tally in 2011, behind fellow PAP member Amy Khor of Hong Kah North SMC.

In his victory speech at Toa Payoh Stadium last night, Mr Tan, 56, paid tribute to his residents and added: "This strong and clear mandate given to me has actually strengthened my resolve to do better for the Radin Mas residents.

"For the past nine years, Radin Mas has been a home to me. I've been walking the ground many times a week, day and night, and I have many friends there."

Both his defeated opponents declined to comment. Mr Kumar, who received 12.71 per cent of the votes, drove off from the Radin Mas Primary School counting centre without stopping to talk to the media, while Ms Han also declined to speak. With just 10.04 per cent of the votes, she will have to forfeit her $14,500 deposit.

Mr Tan, who is Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, emphasised that he and his team had achieved many of the goals they had set out to; to transform and reinvigorate the ward, which has a larger-than-average proportion of elderly residents. It was important to ensure community bonds in Radin Mas were strengthened as they build "an enduring home for all", he noted.

"Most importantly, my team and I will never take your support for granted. We will want to do our best, not for ourselves, but for all Radin Mas residents... You are really the target audience to whom we want to pledge our service and dedication."

Single-Member Constituencies: Fengshan, Sengkang West

Victories for PAP new face and incumbent
By Amelia Teng, Danson Cheong and Melody Zaccheus, The Straits Times, 12 Sep 2015

Fengshan has not turned out to be "heavenly" for the Workers' Party (WP) after all.

The team in blue lost to the People's Action Party (PAP) by a sizeable margin despite high expectations to the contrary.

PAP's Cheryl Chan, a first-time candidate, garnered 57.52 per cent of 21,556 valid votes. She beat WP's Dennis Tan, 45, who was also a first-time contestant but probably not as familiar to residents as his rival. Ms Chan, 38, has been a long-time grassroots leader in the precinct carved out of the East Coast GRC after the 2011 elections.

On Instagram last month, WP chairman Sylvia Lim posted a photo of herself eating at the Fengshan Market and Food Centre, captioned "the taste of Fengshan - heavenly", and hashtagged #reasonstowin. Up till the moment last night when a sample count showed Ms Chan leading Mr Tan 57:43, punters were expecting the area previously under PAP's Raymond Lim to swing towards the opposition.

But Mr Kenneth Lim, 39, who grew up in Fengshan, did not think so. "I was very confident that Cheryl would win because she has done a lot of groundwork," the property agent said.

Spotted at the Bedok Stadium with his eight-year-old daughter, Mr Lim said Ms Chan is "very sincere and upfront with people".

Asked if she was surprised by her win, Ms Chan said: "I didn't speculate on the results from the beginning." She added: "I'm happy that the residents are supportive. I'll continue to work hard and serve them to the best of my abilities."

Mr Tan, on the other hand, said he would like to "continue with my house visits, get to know residents better, and maybe win their support in the future".

Meanwhile, PAP incumbent Lam Pin Min, 46, has won Sengkang West SMC. Dr Lam got 62.11 per cent of the votes to beat his Workers' Party opponent,

Mr Koh Choong Yong, 42. This represents a bigger win than in 2011, when Dr Lam defeated Mr Koh with 58.1 per cent of the vote.

But the single-member constituency has changed significantly since - nearly 40 per cent of its 30,119 voters did not vote there in 2011. The number of voters in the area has grown because 15 Build-to-Order developments, with about 10,500 flats in all, have been completed in the area. In addition, part of the ward was absorbed into Ang Mo Kio GRC with the redrawing of electoral boundaries.

Asked what he planned to do first, Dr Lam said residents had told him they wanted more childcare centres, wet markets and hawker centres. "All these will come in the coming years," he said, adding that there will be more infrastructure development to make Sengkang West "a better home".

GE2015: Three-cornered fights, NCMPs

3-way fights see biggest wins and losses for SMCs
Independent candidate in Bukit Batok manages only 150 votes; loses polls deposit
By Lester Hio, Priscilla Goy, Olivia Ho and Huang Lijie, Arts Correspondent, The Straits Times, 12 Sep 2015

The three-cornered fights in this election were, in substance, straight fights between opposition candidates and those of the People's Action Party (PAP).

In all three Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) where three-sided contests took place, opposition candidates were crushed by their rivals from the PAP.

The three-cornered battles also produced the night's biggest wins and losses for SMCs.

The contest at the new Bukit Batok SMC, carved out from the Jurong Group Representation Constituency (GRC) this year, had the night's biggest loss.

The loss was sustained by independent candidate Samir Salim Neji, 45, who stood against the PAP's Mr David Ong, 54, and Singapore Democratic Party's (SDP) Mr Sadasivam Veriyah, 63.

Mr Samir managed only 150 votes or 0.6 per cent of the votes. The PAP's Mr Ong, a grassroots leader since 1999, won 72.99 per cent of the votes while SDP's Mr Sadasivam got 26.4 per cent.

A Kerala-born managing director of a software firm who became a Singapore citizen in 2004, Mr Samir was sanguine about his loss.

He said: "I got some votes, just not enough. But being part of this election, this change where more opposition voices are being heard, has been very exciting."

Because he was unable to obtain at least 12.5 per cent of the votes, he will have to forfeit his election deposit of $14,500.

At Radin Mas SMC, PAP's Mr Sam Tan, 56, won 77.25 per cent of the votes, the highest percentage of votes across all SMCs and a marked improvement from the 67.1 per cent he received in 2011.

Radin Mas opposition candidate Kumar Appavoo, 46, of the Reform Party, got 12.71 per cent of the votes and will keep his election deposit.

Independent candidate Han Hui Hui, the youngest contender in this election at age 24, got 10.04 per cent of the votes in Radin Mas SMC and will have to forfeit her deposit. The diminutive blogger left the counting centre at Radin Mas Primary School last night in a car, lying prone in the back seat.

She later thanked Radin Mas residents on her Facebook page and added: "I understand that I still have got a long way to go."

Mr Tan, in his thank-you speech at Toa Payoh Stadium early this morning, said: "This strong and clear mandate given to me actually strengthens my resolve to want to do more and better for Radin Mas and our residents.

"My team and I will never take your support for granted."

Radin Mas resident Gerald Tang, 37, an engineer, said: "I think the result is a good improvement. It shows that people can see Mr Sam Tan has been trying his best to improve the area and help the elderly and low-income residents in this mature estate."

The closest of the three-cornered contests was in MacPherson SMC, which was newly carved out of Marine Parade GRC this year.

PAP candidate Tin Pei Ling, 31, who came under heavy fire in 2011 because of her youth and inexperience, secured 65.58 per cent of the votes.

GE2015 Tin Pei Ling on MacPherson SMC
“Thank you for giving me the chance, the opportunity, to come back to serve and to make MacPherson an even better home for all. Thank you for entrusting MacPherson back to me”: PAP’s Tin Pei Ling #GE2015LIVE UPDATES: LIVE:
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Friday, September 11, 2015

The Workers' Party's Bernard Chen, 29, got 33.6 per cent and the National Solidarity Party's Cheo Chai Chen, 64, got 0.82 per cent, the second lowest percentage of votes in this election.

MacPherson resident Susan Tan, 66, a retiree, said: "Ms Tin has treated us residents well, everything we bring up to her she deals with. Her win is not a surprise."

Ms Tin, who hit the campaign trail just two weeks after she gave birth to son Kee Hau on Aug 5, told reporters in Mandarin at Bedok Stadium: "I will make arrangements both to care for my newborn son and also continue to manage MacPherson well and speak up for residents in Parliament. I will do my best to juggle these two roles."

WP candidates head list for three available NCMP seats
By Jonathan Wong, The Straits Times, 12 Sep 2015

With the election of six opposition MPs (one from Hougang SMC and five from Aljunied GRC), three seats are up for grabs under the Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) scheme.

Introduced in 1984 to ensure that there would always be a minimum number of opposition members and to increase the diversity of views in Parliament, NCMP seats are offered to the best performers - those with the highest percentage of votes among the losing opposition candidates - in a general election.

The top three losers in this general election all came from the Workers' Party.

With 48.24 per cent of the votes in Punggol East SMC, the Workers' Party's Ms Lee Li Lian is the top finisher among the losing candidates and qualifies to be an NCMP.

But the 37-year-old, who won the Punggol East seat in a 2013 by-election and gave birth to her first child last year, indicated last night that she would reject the NCMP offer.

The next closest performer after Ms Lee was fellow WP member Dennis Tan, 45, who garnered 42.48 per cent of the votes in the single-seat ward of Fengshan.

Next in line after him are the four-man East Coast GRC team: Mr Gerald Giam, 37, Mr Leon Perera, 44, Mr Daniel Goh, 42, and Mr Mohamed Fairoz Shariff, 36.

Their 39.27 per cent was the third-best result by the opposition.

Under the NCMP guidelines, no more than two nominees are allowed to be drawn from the same GRC.

An NCMP, who does not represent any constituency, holds his seat for the entire term of Parliament.

He can vote on all matters, except supply Bills, money Bills, constitutional amendments, motions of no confidence in the Government and motions on the removal of the President from office.

The scheme offered three seats initially.

The 1991 General Election was the last time no NCMP positions were offered as the opposition, with four elected seats, exceeded the allocated NCMP slots.

The next three general elections saw the NCMP allocation in Parliament fulfilled before the limit of NCMP seats was raised to nine in 2010.

A year later, the 2011 General Election brought a record three NCMPs into Parliament: Ms Lina Loh (the wife of Mr Chiam See Tong, the former MP for Potong Pasir SMC) of the Singapore People's Party, and the WP pair of Mr Yee Jenn Jong and Mr Giam .

Vacated NCMP seat may not be automatically filled
Should an eligible Non-constituency Member of Parliament decline to take the seat, it is up to Parliament to declare the seat vacant and allocate it to the next eligible opposition candidate, according to the Parliamentary Elections Act.
Channel NewsAsia, 13 Sep 2015

It is not the case that if an eligible Non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) candidate decides not to take up the position, that the seat would automatically be transferred to the next eligible opposition candidate, according to the law.

The issue has arisen because the Workers' Party (WP) candidate for Punggol East SMC, Lee Li Lian, tops the list of "best losers" after garnering 48.24 per cent of votes. She has, however, told the media after the results were announced that she is not inclined to take up the NCMP seat if offered.

It was assumed that her seat will automatically go to the next opposition candidate in line, fellow WP candidate Dennis Tan, who lost to People's Action Party's (PAP) Cheryl Chan in Fengshan SMC, as well as two other members from the party's East Coast GRC team - third on the "best losers" list.

However, according to the Parliamentary Elections Act, an eligible NCMP candidate must take the Oath of Allegiance at the first or second sitting of Parliament. Should the candidate fail to take the Oath, then it is up to the Parliament to decide if it wants to declare the seat vacant and allocate it to the next eligible opposition candidate.

This leaves WP with a choice to make: Allow Ms Lee to vacate her NCMP seat, and run the risk of the PAP-dominated Parliament not allowing the party to nominate an alternative candidate in her stead. Or take the time before the first or second sitting of Parliament to convince the former MP to take up the NCMP position.

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