There’s Technically No Need for a By-Election if 2 WP Members Lose Their Seats in the Same GRC

Lest you’re not aware, the Committee of Privileges (COP) has recommended action to be taken against the Workers’ Party (WP) leaders, Pritam Singh, Faisal Manap and Sylvia Lim.

More specifically, Mr Singh and Mr Faisal are possibly facing charges, as the COP has asked for both of them to “be referred to the Public Prosecutor” for further investigations.

This means that both Members of Parliament (MPs), who are MPs of Aljunied Group Representative Constituency (GRC), may lose their seats in Parliament.

Huh, so we elect new MPs again? Got two of them from the same GRC who might be gone leh.

Well, not really.

And here’s why.

Why We Don’t Need to Elect New MPs for Aljunied

The TL;DR version of the explanation would be that we wouldn’t need to elect new MPs due to the fact that there are still other MPs in the GRC.

According to the Parliamentary Elections Act, a GRC by-election only takes place when “all the MPs for the GRC have vacated their seats. If only one of the MPs vacates his/her seat, the needs of residents in the GRC would continue to be served by the remaining members in the GRC team.”

In this case, should Mr Singh and Mr Faisal be stripped of their positions as MPs, Aljunied GRC will still be run by the remaining three members of Aljunied GRC: Sylvia Lim, Gerald Giam and Leon Perera.

And if Ms Lim somehow ends up in the same fate as Mr Singh and Mr Faisal, then Aljunied GRC will be left with two MPs lah.

Before you wonder what kind of weird sorcery is this, news flash: It’s not that weird after all, and, in fact, it’s already happened in Singapore a few times in the past.

History of MPs Stepping Down in GRCs

You probably already know the most recent case of an MP stepping down.

Yup, Raeesah Khan, who’s basically the reason why we’re all here reading this now.

Ms Khan resigned as an MP for Sengkang GRC in November last year after admitting that she had lied in Parliament, leaving the Sengkang GRC team with three members: Jamus Lim, He Ting Ru and Louis Chua.

Apart from Khan, another MP who also stepped down during her term is none other than Mdm President herself, Halimah Yacob.

She stepped down from her role as MP in the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC to run for President back in 2017, and Choa Chu Kang GRC MP Zaqy Mohamad took over temporarily as a grassroots advisor.

However, the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC was still manned by the remaining four MPs of the GRC with no by-election.

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History of MPs Stepping Down in SMCs

However, there’d be a very different story unfolding if the MPs at risk of losing their seats were MPs in Single Member Constituencies (SMCs).

In the history of Singapore, there have been a few cases of MPs in SMCs stepping down.

Traditionally, by-elections will be held to fill in the place of the MP who resigned.

Past MPs who have resigned for various reasons include David Ong and Michael Palmer from the People’s Action Party (PAP) in 2016 and 2013 respectively, as well as Yaw Shin Leong from WP, who was expelled from his party, in 2012.

Well, at least we don’t need to fret over what’s going to happen to Aljunied GRC for now.

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Featured Image: YouTube (govsg)