Thursday, August 21, 2008

A By-Election in Singapore as Well?


(Click here for larger pic)

Malaysiakini, Malaysia Today, and The Malaysian Insider tend to be the "trifecta" of recommended reading in order to get an understanding of Malaysia's politics. But when the dust settles, the hype dies down and you're a bit tired of reading about the same old issues again and again (like Anwar and his by-election), it's time to look elsewhere.

My focus then went southward towards Singapore (it's been damn long since I wrote a SG-related blog post) and I came across this news which went under my radar for a month or so:

From Littlespeck.com:
The unfortunate demise of Bukit Batok’s MP Dr. Ong Chit Chung has thrown up opportunities for both the PAP and the opposition parties in Singapore, especially for J.B. Jeyaretnam's newly formed Reform Party.

...

If a by-election is held and the PAP receives a strong majority of votes, it will be a strong testimonial of the party’s infallability even in times of economic uncertainty. This will certainly help boost the ruling party’s image as one that is strong regardless of economic conditions.

If a by-election is held, and in the unfortunate event that the seat is lost to an opposition candidate, there can be a silver lining in the cloud - the party will then understand that, perhaps, some of its policies in recent times have lost touch with the electorate
.

Previous post: Singapore's J.B. Jeyaretnam To Register New Political Party On Friday

From 1988 to 2001, the late Dr. Ong served in the Bukit Batok constituency for two terms. From 2001 onwards, he was a part of the 5-member Jurong GRC (Group Representation Constituency).

In Singapore's law, there are no requirements that a by-election will be called in the event of the resignation/death of a GRC member, and past examples (like in 1999) indicate that the GRC team will take over his/her duties. So far the rather autocratic PAP government in Singapore has no plans for a by-election, but in case they change their mind, here are the stats of previous Jurong GRC elections:

2001:
Total voters - 115,113
Voter turnout - 109,198 (94.9%)
Spoilt votes - 2,945 (2.7%)
Winner's vote majority - 63,231 (59.6%)

PAP - 84,472 votes (79.75%)
• Halimah Bte Yacob
• Lim Boon Heng
• Ong Chit Chung
• Tharman Shanmugaatnam
• Yu-Foo Yee Shoon
SDP - 21,511 votes (20.25%)
• Chee Soon Juan
• Chee Siok Chin
• Ghandi s/o Karuppiah Ambalam
• Mohamed Isa Bin Abdul Aziz
• Yeo Boon Keng Vincent

2006:
Total voters - 116,573
Voter turnout - N/A
Spoilt votes - N/A
Winner's vote majority - N/A

PAP - Walkover
• Grace Fu Hai Yien
• Halimah Bte Yacob
• Lim Boon Heng
• Ong Chit Chung
• Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Opposition - No team fielded
• N/A
• N/A
• N/A
• N/A
• N/A

Sources:
Jurong GRC election results (2001)
Jurong GRC election results (2006)


Related articles:
• The Straits Times - Jurong GRC MP Ong Chit Chung dies
• The Straits Times - By-election: Pragmatism or Principle?

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