WP candidates elected as NCMPs

Workers'_Party_of_Singapore_logoAll opposition parliamentarians in the new Parliament will be Workers’ Party members.

The Election Department (ELD) says Ms Lee Li Lian, Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong and Mr Leon Perera from the Workers’ Party (WP) have been elected Non-constituency Members of Parliament (NCMP).

According to Singapore’s laws, the number of NCMPs is nine less the number of opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) elected. NCMPs are candidates who scored the highest votes among the losing opposition candidates.

In the recent elections, the WP won six seats, and therefore there will be three NCMPs appointed.

The WP candidates also scored the highest in vote percentages among all the candidates in the opposition, and thus the party has been invited to fill the three NCMP seats.

While the WP has nominated three candidates for the seats, Ms Lee has declined to take up the position, affirming what she had told the press after the elections last week.

“I respect the voters’ decision,” she told the press after the election. “There are better people in the party that we should showcase. Let the people see how good these people are.”

While she has not decided what she would do henceforth, Ms Lee said “being a full-time mother doesn’t seem like a bad idea.”

She had been away from her 14-month old daughter during the elections and said that she missed her very much.

“I hope residents of [Punggol East] can understand my decision,” Ms Lee said in a Facebook post, referring to her decision about the NCMP seat. “I would like to thank ELD for the NCMP appointment, however I will not be accepting it.”

She added:

“Although I did not take up the seat, I will continue to contribute to society and to Singapore. I will continue to keep in touch with PE residents. I have made many friends there, including friends that wept for me.

“I left Parliament with a heavy heart and the hazy weather reflects my feelings. It has been a fantastic 2.5 years.”

The WP said it has accepted Ms Lee’s decision not to accept the NCMP appointment.

“The CEC concurred with Ms Lee Li Lian’s decision not to accept the NCMP position and with Mr Dennis Tan’s decision to accept the NCMP position,” the WP said in a statement shortly after the ELD’s announcement.

The WP added, “The CEC decided to nominate Mr Leon Perera from the East Coast GRC team to take up the NCMP position and, should Parliament resolve to fill the vacated NCMP seat left by Ms Lee, that Associate Professor Daniel Goh Pei Siong would fill that seat.”

However, the ELD has said that Parliament is not obliged to have the vacant seat filled, if Ms Lee declines it.

“The Attorney General is of the view that if any NCMP declared to be elected under Section 52 of the Parliamentary Elections Act fails to take and subscribe before Parliament the Oath of Allegiance under Article 61 of the Constitution at the first or second sitting of Parliament during its first session after the General Election, then Parliament may at its discretion declare that seat vacant,” the ELD said on Wednesday.

“Parliament is not thereafter obliged to declare that seat be filled by the next succeeding candidate.”

In the last Parliament, the WP had two NCMPs – Gerald Giam and Yee Jenn Jong – while the third was Ms Lina Chiam of the Singapore People’s Party.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Mr Goh said, referring to the prerogative of Parliament to decide if an NCMP seat can be filled by another if a nominee declines the seat, “There is no better fate than to place myself in the hands of the august men and women representing the will and wisdom of the people. Come what may, January’s destiny awaits. Regardless, I will march on.”

The next Parliament will be convened in January 2016.

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