Parliamentary Elections Act, Section 24

Parliamentary Elections Act, Section 24, under the Writ of election.
Writ of election

24. —(1) For the purposes of every general election of Members of Parliament, and for the purposes of the election of Members to supply vacancies caused by death, resignation or otherwise, the President shall issue writs under the public seal, addressed to the Returning Officer.

(2) Every such writ shall be in Form 1 in the First Schedule and shall specify the date or dates (referred to in this Act as the day of nomination) not being less than 5 days nor more than one month after the date of the writ and the place or places of nomination (referred to in this Act as the place of nomination).

(2A) In respect of any group representation constituency, no writ shall be issued under subsection
(1) for an election to fill any vacancy unless all the Members for that constituency have vacated their seats in Parliament.

The above is a part of our election law which many are now familiar with, especially 2A(1) which states that the President will not issue any writ for a by election in a GRC ‘unless all the Members for that constituency have vacated their seats in Parliament’. What is in this Act is very clear, no by election unless all the MPs have vacated their seats in a GRC, all resigned, sacked or mati. If one is left, no need for by election.

The legal minded and the critics have pointed out this section as a violation of Section 49 (1) of the Elections Act which provided for a seat to be filled.

The question is who drafted Section 24(2A) and what was the intent, or what was the reason behind the law?

The next question, who were the MPs who voted to pass this Act and what were their intentions? Do they believe that this is what the law should be, that in a 5 or 6 member GRC, if only one MP is left, it is perfectly ok for the single MP to look after a whole GRC? And is this a reasonable thing to do or to believe, and to pass as a law? And if not, why is this happening?

For those who believe this is a reasonable law, a good law, a practical law, a law that they themselves would support and vote for it, case closed. For those who think this is not right, that one MP cannot possibly look after a GRC and it is only fair and proper to have a by election quickly under normal circumstances, they may want to think back and ask why such a law can be written and can be passed in Parliament.

Even if a Prime Minister calls for a by election, the President can say no under this Act if one MP in a GRC is still in office. Even if a Prime Minister wants a by election, there shall be no by election in a GRC under Section 24(2A). The President cannot issue a writ for a by election. But I am not a learned legal counsel so I must be misreading or misinterpreting the law, or the reason behind the law. Mine is a layman’s unlearned and blur reading of the law. Sure wrong one. I better admit first before kenna bokok by the honourable learned counsels.

Why would an MP support and voted for such a law?


Anonymous said...

Let's see if the Singapore Judiciary or the Justice Department will come in to provide You a CLEAR DEFINITION.
Otherwise, whether or not You understand the Law has got no bearing and purpose. And this applies to ALL Singaporeans alike.

bic_cherry said...
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bic_cherry said...

Most of the time, whip in parliament isn't lifted, so the only way out for a dissenting PAP MP AFAIK is to go toilet break during vote count, they otherwise will by party policy have to rubber stamp the act or face the wrath of the party whip (e.g. sack fr party n lose MP seat)- PAP will have no qualms doing this since there is no real need for by-election n the party can always get some crony to replace an outlying PAP MP.

Yes, the allowance for a GRC to exist with just 1 MP is ridiculous but guess this reflects the ridiculousness of the current SG parliament/ the session that passed this Act of law.

SGporeans have suffered long enough, some times I too wonder when the misery will stop.