SINGAPORE – In the wake of Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s announced resignation from his Member of Parliament (MP) position for Jurong Group Representation Constituency (GRC), the Red Dot United (RDU) party has issued a bold call to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for a by-election.
In a public Facebook post, the party disclosed that they had sent a letter to the Prime Minister, emphasizing the principle of democracy and fair representation, and expressing concern about the impact of Mr Tharman’s departure on Jurong GRC residents.
“A by-election would provide the opportunity for Jurong GRC residents to exercise their democratic right and directly elect their representatives, ensuring their voices are heard and their votes are cast for the entire team representing the GRC,” the RDU post read.
Interestingly, the party acknowledged the Apex Court’s ruling on by-elections in GRCs, which states there is no legal obligation for the Prime Minister to call a by-election for a single vacancy.
Despite this, RDU is urging PM Lee to exercise his discretionary power to trigger a by-election in the interest of upholding democratic values and public trust.
Mr Tharman’s resignation comes after his declaration to run for the presidency of Singapore, following President Halimah Yacob’s decision not to stand for re-election.
His resignation from all government roles, including his positions as Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Deputy Chairman of GIC, and Chairman of the Economic Development Board’s International Advisory Council, will take effect on 7 July. He is also resigning from the People’s Action Party.
In the interim, Mr Shawn Huang is said to take over Mr Tharman’s Meet-the-People sessions, with the remaining duties divided among the other MPs for Jurong GRC.
As the party awaits PM Lee’s response to its request, the likelihood of a by-election in Jurong GRC appears to be low, particularly given that no by-election was called when Raeesah Khan of the Workers’ Party resigned, leaving a vacant seat in Sengkang GRC, a seat notably designated for a minority candidate.
However, should it be triggered, the party has pledged that its candidates, if elected, will serve a full term as MPs, dedicated to advocating for their constituents’ interests and the betterment of society.