Yesterday (14 Jul), the defeated People’s Action Party candidate in the recent General Election (GE), Ng Chee Meng, posted a message on his Facebook page saying that he will “soon be stepping down from the Cabinet”.
Ng and the rest of his PAP teammates lost to Workers’ Party (WP) at last week’s GE. Despite police reports being made against one of WP’s candidates, Ms Raeesah Khan, over an alleged online racist remark she made in 2018, WP garnered 52.13% of valid votes and went on to beat PAP at Sengkang GRC.
As such, Ng would no longer qualify to become an MP in the coming new Parliament. He would, of course, also no longer qualify to become a Cabinet minister.
In his post, Ng said, “With GE 2020, I have stepped down as a Member of Parliament and will soon be stepping down from the Cabinet.”
However, he mentioned that prior to GE 2020, he was elected by union members as Secretary-General of NTUC last year. Hence, he will continue to “fulfill” his “elected role in NTUC”.
“I will continue as the Secretary-General of NTUC and fulfill my elected role in NTUC. I will continue to serve workers who have given me their trust and I remain undeterred as the day I first joined the Labour Movement – to be alongside our workers and to be their voice,” he said.
Constitution allows Cabinet ministers to continue hold office until next Parliament sitting
According to the Singapore Constitution, the prime minister and other ministers who make up the Cabinet do not vacate their offices upon a dissolution of Parliament. They would continue in their posts until the first sitting of the next Parliament following a general election.
This can be seen in Article 25 where it states that Cabinet ministers are appointed by the President acting in accordance with the advice of the prime minister from among the MPs.
If the Parliament is dissolved, a person who was an MP of the last Parliament may be appointed as minister but shall not continue to hold office after the first sitting of the next Parliament unless he is also an MP of the next Parliament.
In any case, the phrase “step down” means to resign from an important job or position, usually in a voluntary manner. If a person was to resign abruptly due to external circumstances, the phrase “forced to step down” would usually apply.