Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has announced that it has filed a lawsuit in the High Court to address the issue of whether the government has to call for a by-election after Mdm Halimah Yacob resigned from her position as Member of Parliament in the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.
Mdm Halimah is the minority candidate for the GRC and following her resignation, Mr Zaqy Mohamad, MP of Choa Chu Kang GRC took over her role as grassroots advisor.
SDP has earlier contested in the HTC ward during the General Election 2015.
Below is SDP’s statement in full.
The SDP has filed a lawsuit in the High Court to declare that it is incumbent upon the Government to call for a by-election in the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC due to Ms Halimah Yacob’s resignation from her seat.
For too long and on too many occasions, the PAP has made arbitrary and dubious decisions to amend the Constitution and statutes to preserve its own power. These decisions, however questionable, are rarely challenged.
One glaring example is the decision not to call for a by-election when a seat is vacated in a GRC. This is wrong given that Section Article 49 (1) of the Constitution states that “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.”
It was the PAP that mandated that each GRC include at least one candidate from a predetermined minority race. But the same party is also the one who has arbitrarily decided that if that minority member resigns, there is no need to replace him or her in a by-election.
It is crucial at this time of Singapore’s development that the ruling clique does not run away with further manipulating the political system. Continued undemocratic one-party rule is not responsive to the aspirations and wishes of the Singaporean people and will only hasten the decline of this country.
Singapore is not the PAP; it is a sovereign nation. The PAP, on the other hand, is just a political party – like any other political party in Singapore. And like any other political party, it must serve the nation by respecting democracy – especially in spirit – enshrined in the Constitution.
This is the reason why the SDP is challenging the ruling party’s decision not to hold a by-election in Marsiling-Yew Tee in court. Even though it won the last elections and forms the government, it cannot and must not be allowed to do as it pleases without any check from the opposition.
We have engaged Peter Low & Choo LLC as counsel. The pre-trial conference has been set for 9 October 2017.
We also call on our fellow Singaporeans to support us in this matter by contributing financially to the expenses in the legal process. We will provide information on how to do this shortly.