SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said he will carefully consider whether to call a by—election in Punggol East and, if so, when.
This follows the resignation of Michael Palmer as MP for the area.
In a statement to the media on Wednesday, Mr Lee also assured Singaporeans that he will make his decision based on what he said, "is best for the constituents of Punggol East and the country."
Mr Lee pointed out that Singapore is currently focused on several national issues.
He cited the ’Our Singapore Conversation’, which he said is making good progress.
Mr Lee added the White Paper on Population will be debated in Parliament in January.
Separately, the government is also preparing for Budget 2013.
Mr Lee said his first priority is to ensure that the residents of Punggol East continue to be well taken care of.
"We have appointed Mr Teo Ser Luck to oversee Punggol East constituency, and Mr Zainal Sapari to chair the Pasir Ris—Punggol Town Council. DPM Teo Chee Hean, who himself is in Pasir Ris—Punggol GRC, will also take a personal interest in the welfare of Punggol East residents," said Mr Lee.
The Constitution does not require the prime minister to call a by—election within any fixed time frame.
The Workers’ Party (WP) and the Singapore People’s Party (SPP) have urged the prime minister to call a by—election as soon as possible.
And speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a Meet—the—People Session on Wednesday, WP chief Low Thia Khiang said he was surprised by Mr Palmer’s resignation, which he said was unexpected.
Mr Low also said it was not fair to draw a comparison between Mr Palmer’s situation and that of former WP MP Yaw Shin Leong, who was sacked by the party due to personal indiscretions.
Mr Low said his party is ready to contest in the event a by—election in the Punggol East ward is held.
"It’s premature at this point to speculate who will be the candidate. Anyway we don’t know whether the prime minister is going to call a by—election at all. We’ll let you know the moment by—election is announced. We’ll decide who to field," he added.
Mr Low also said that in the selection of political candidates, no process was foolproof.
HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you think a by-election should be called in Punggol East? Why? If it does take place, who will you be rooting for? Sign in with your Windows Live/ Hotmail ID below, and share your thoughts with us now!
If PAP wants to show that Singapore is really democratic, than there should be a quick by-election!
Unless they are afraid of the opposition...
There should be a by-election as the next GE is still sometime away. I believe the general electorate would like to see a by-election to take place, and this is only fair for the Punggol East residence. Who will we be rooting will largely depend on the incumbent.
What comes out from this episode is that........ no parties can claim moral high ground.
yes definately if a mp cant perform his/her duty as a mp=that incl grc
hopefully the opp can united a field a single candidate against the pap n both candidates should be crediable but nowsaday is hard even for the pap=gd example yaw sl n palmer both caught their party off guard n pant drop
may the best man win
Needing to focus on other issues is not a good excuse for not calling a by-election. I believe the residents of Punggol East know if the current political party has been doing a good job in their constituiency. Having a by-election would only be a fair and open test.
Be it a won again or lost constituiency, a by-election would nonetheless be a victory for the PAP; in its public image and moral grounds. The PAP should learn to look beyond immediate losses.
A by election is the best way to let the ruling party's and our dear Mr PM know that the people r fed up with empty promises before general election.
That, they may have overlook their obligation to citizen basic needs.
Not just putting up additional GANTRY.
I live in Aljunid! Last night i called towncouncil because corridor lights was spoilt,by 1hr it was
repaired!than someone called me to confirm OK!
So i think WP can take Pongoleast or west or joo chiat or tampinese or sengkang or jurong!