Supporters of Mrs Chiam then organised this petition-signing to collect signatures to call for a by-election. It is unclear what the supporters are basing its request on, or which part of the Constitution it is referring to.
We all strongly believe that you, Ms Tin Pei Ling does not have what it takes to be a Member of Parliament but you are in Parliament because of the flaws in the Group Representative Constituency system.
It is extremely clear that Mrs Lina Chiam has lost the contest for Potong Pasir under the first-past-the-post electoral system. Even if she had polled one atom of a ballot less than Sitoh, it does not matter. I’m sorry to pour cold water on her supporters, but I don’t think there can be any by-elections as long as the elected MP does not resign, die or be sacked from his party.
Those who had voted the PAP candidate might not have done so if Mr Chiam had remained in Potong Pasir. But I’m not discussing his strategies or analysing his campaign here. We’ve to respect the law of the land…and that includes accepting TPL as an elected MP, because she (with the help of her team-mates) won.
If we don’t respect rules, what are they for? What are the reasons for having rules in any forms of democracy?
While Singapore’s democracy as shaped by the PAP is not exactly simple, consistent or transparent i.e. arbitrary re-drawings of electoral boundaries, I don’t think pro-Chiam or anti-TPL people should stoop to their levels, by demanding a subversion of rules for their causes. Of course, a new rule can be added that if a petition among Potong Pasir residents has collected 10k signatures, then by-elections must be called. But until such a rule exists, and it should be properly evaluated if it ever pops up, then for now Chiam’s supporters have to accept the electoral outcome. I mean, they can do other meaningful stuff:
- Join his party to help his re-election bid
- Send a clear signal (petition) to the government that Potong Pasir should remain a SMC, as it has 99 percent chance of being absorbed into a GRC
- Hold the new PAP MP to accountability in Parliament and municipal issues (reasonably, I hope)
For TPL’s case, it’s more ridiculous. Is the petition or FB page demanding her to resign? On what right? And on what grounds, since she has been democratically elected? (OK, the GRC system not very democratic. But still.) Are they residents of Marine Parade in the first place? Similarly, those who dislike her as a MP can:
- Hold her accountable in a reasonable manner (her first parliamentary speech will be very important)
- Move to Marine Parade and vote her out
- Challenge her in the next elections lor
The PAP has tinkered with the GRC system, gerrymandered here and there etc such that democracy in Singapore is not simple to understand (people can change constituency without moving house, Jurong West resident part of Chua Chu Kang GRC), not consistent (SMCs pop out of nowhere, some GRCs so big, some so small), not transparent (who made these decisions?). The root of the pro-Chiam and anti-TPL frustrations lies here. Until our electoral system has these guiding principles, I think people would doubt the PAP has changed much.