Tagged: People’s Action Party

Shock Resignation of Speaker Michael Palmer – Another By-election in the Offing?

Parliament House photographed in August 2010

Parliament House, Singapore, photographed in August 2010. (Photograph by Smuconlaw [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via the Wikimedia Commons.)

Dr Jack Tsen-Ta Lee
Assistant Professor of Law
School of Law, SMU

THE SHOCK RESIGNATION of Michael Palmer as Speaker of Parliament, Member of Parliament for Punggol East Single Member Constituency (SMC), and member of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) due to a personal indiscretion has once again raised the intriguing possibility that a by-election may be called.

Things would have been different if Punggol East had been a Group Representation Constituency (GRC). No by-election may be called in a GRC unless all the MPs representing that constituency vacate their seats.[1]

Continue reading

Reflections on Press Freedom in Singapore

A stack of newspapers

Photograph by Daniel R Blume [CC-BY-SA-2.0],
via the Wikimedia Commons.

Dierdre Grace Morgan
Third Year LLB student
School of Law, SMU

PERSPECTIVES ON PRESS FREEDOM, a talk on international and local perspectives on press freedom, was held at the Singapore Management University on 3 September 2012. It featured Dr David Goldberg, Senior Honorary Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Computers and Communications Law, Queen Mary College, University of London; and Dr Cherian George, Associate Professor at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University. The session was chaired by Dr Jack Tsen-Ta Lee from the SMU School of Law.

Listening to the presentations by the three speakers, what stood out for me personally was Singapore’s unique state of media regulation. Continue reading

What Can You Say on Cooling-off Day?

Antoine-Augustin Préault, Le Silence (19th century)

Ssssh! French sculptor Antoine-Augustin Préault‘s 19th-century work, Le Silence. (Photograph by Electron [public domain], via the Wikimedia Commons.)

Jack Tsen-Ta Lee
Assistant Professor of Law
School of Law, SMU

UNLESS YOU’VE BEEN living under a rock for the past two weeks, you’ll know that polling day for the by-election in Hougang Single Member Constituency is tomorrow, 26 May. This makes today “cooling-off day”, when no active election campaigning is permitted by law.

At 12:46 am today, one of my Facebook friends posted a hyperlink to a speech by Workers’ Party candidate Png Eng Huat delivered at the Party’s last rally before cooling-off day. The person added a comment to the effect that the article was worth reading, but that he would not quote any portions of it due to cooling-off-day restrictions.

Subsequently, another person posted a comment on the contents of the speech. The original poster then responded that that person might wish to delete the comment in view of cooling-off-day restrictions. Then ensued a discussion about what the law permits or disallows.

That got me thinking about the issue. Continue reading

Low Thia Khiang as a Candidate for By-election in Hougang?

Low Thia Khiang at a Workers' Party general election rally, Bedok Stadium, Singapore

Workers’ Party Secretary-General and Aljunied GRC MP Low Thia Khiang at an election rally in Bedok Stadium, 30 April 2011. (Photograph by NewNation.sg [CC-BY-2.0], via the Wikimedia Commons.)

Jack Tsen-Ta Lee
Assistant Professor of Law
School of Law, SMU

IT HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED that nomination day for the by-election in Hougang Single Member Constituency will be on 16 May 2012, and if there is a contested election, polling day will be on 26 May. This ten-day period is the shortest permitted by the Parliamentary Elections Act (‘PEA’),[1] and means a nine-day campaigning period (no campaigning may take place on ‘cooling-off day’, the eve of polling day).

The Workers’ Party has confirmed it will be seeking to hold on to this constituency that it won in the 2011 general election. Since the National Solidarity Party, Singapore Democratic Party and Singapore People’s Party have said they do not intend to take part, attention turns to the identity of the candidate that the WP will field against the People’s Action Party‘s candidate. Continue reading

A Legal Backgrounder on By-elections

Yaw Shin Leong, 5 May 2011

Yaw Shin Leong at a Workers’ Party rally for the 2011 general election, 5 May 2011. (By Huaiwei. CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), via Wikimedia Commons.)

Jack Tsen-Ta Lee
Assistant Professor of Law
School of Law, SMU

THE EXPULSION of Yaw Shin Leong, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Hougang Single Member Constituency (SMC), from the Workers’ Party has once again thrust the issue of the Government’s policy on by-elections into the limelight. This was last discussed in Parliament in August 2008 following the death of Dr Ong Chit Chung, MP for Jurong Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

Article 46 of the Constitution provides that when MPs are ousted from the political parties they stood for in an election, their seats are vacated. Parliament has final say on the matter. On 22 February, Mr Michael Palmer, the Speaker of Parliament, announced that since Mr Yaw had indicated he does not wish to challenge his expulsion, his seat became vacant on 14 February.

During the Parliamentary debate four years ago, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the constitutional provision – often known as the “anti-hopping” clause – ensured a stable government. He recalled the tumultuous years in the Legislative Assembly – the predecessor to Singapore’s post-independence Parliament. In 1961, 13 People’s Action Party MPs were able to leave their party and cross the floor, decimating the Government’s majority. Continue reading