Here’s why There’s a High Chance That Pritam Singh Won’t Lose His MP Seat Even If He’s Found Guilty


The next General Election in Singapore is set to happen in 2025. That means all of the political parties are trying to clear their name and look good to garner our support.

However, Singapore’s Opposition Party Leader, Mr Pritam Singh found himself in some murky legal waters after he was called to court on 19 Mar 2024 to answer for his charges relating to the Committee of Privileges (COP) for Raeesah Khan’s lie in Parliament.

That makes some Pritam Singh supporters concerned over whether he would lose his seat as Minister of Parliament (MP) representing the Workers’ Party (WP).

Pleading Not Guilty

In summary, Mr Singh was accused of falsely testifying to the Committee’s questions on 10 Dec and 15 Dec 2021. In other words, this means that he allegedly gave false information in his recollection of his interactions with Raeesah Khan.

However, after the hearing on 19 Mar 2024, he pleaded not guilty to the two charges under Section 31(q) of the 1962 Parliament (Privileges, Immunities and Powers) Act and requested for a four-week adjournment (or a pause to a trial) for him to find a lawyer to represent him.

For those of you who don’t know, Mr Singh himself is also a lawyer, and he has expressed his confidence and resilience in standing his ground.

The next pre-trial hearing is set for 17 Apr 2024.

All about Semantics

The punishment for each of his charges is up to three years imprisonment and a fine of up to S$7000. Since he has two, he might be fined up to S$14,000.

Keep this in mind when looking at a new change in Singapore’s Constitution passed by Parliament on 9 May 2022.

Back then, an MP might lose their seat or be disqualified from standing for election if they had charges against them that resulted in them being jailed for at least a year or fined at least S$2,000.

The Elections Department thought that the fine amount was too little, and instead should account for inflation and correspond to the updated sentences that were handed down by the Singapore courts.

Therefore, the fine is raised to “not less than S$10,000” while the minimum jail term is the same.

Now, in the case of Pritam Singh, we still don’t know how much he’s fined and how long he’ll be jailed if he were to be found guilty.

That means he still will have a chance to keep his seat if the fines for his two charges are significantly lesser than the maximum amount (S$14,000) and his jail term is, again, significantly less than the expected 6 years.

Of course, the best option is, still, if he is found not guilty.


The key is in the phrase “up to” for both jail time and fine amount. It is up to what the courts say.

An Offence, or Many Offences?

However, the key thing here is “an offence”.

According to the Singapore Constitution, Article 45, a person won’t be qualified as an MP if he has been “convicted of an offence by a court in Singapore or elsewhere and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year or to a fine of not less than $10,000.”

For each offence that Pritam Singh is charged with, the maximum amount is $7,000. The prosecution has mentioned they’re seeking a fine instead of a jail term. Therefore, if that article is interpreted that way (one offence instead of combined offence), he would still retain his seat, since it won’t hit the $10,000 mark.

But of course, just like what a lawyer would always say, “Everything is up to interpretation.”


Even experts interviewed by mainstream media agreed. Going by this logic, experts said that there is “no real risk” of him losing his seat.

Staying Loyal

As stated on his Facebook, Mr Singh still hopes to serve residents in need until this legal matter clears up. Recently, he was seen at En-Naeem Mosque for a break-fast event, in light of the Holy Month of Ramadan.

As Dr Gillian Koh, senior research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), said to Channel News Asia, the WP’s “unfazed” stance against “threats and challenges” can show “to residents that they are courageous and committed”.

It’s clear that the public is rooting for him, with comments under his Facebook post expressing support for him and his Party.