Hougang residents welcomed the Workers’ Party’s (WP) shock decision to expel its Member of Parliament (MP) for Hougang, Yaw Shin Leong.
On Wednesday, WP party chairman Sylvia Lim told the media Yaw was expelled after he failed to give a proper account of his alleged indiscretions in his private life to the party leadership. She said he repeatedly did not show up for meetings when summoned.
Under the Constitution, once an elected Member of Parliament ceases to be a member of, or is expelled or resigned from the political party for which he stood in an election, the seat shall become vacant.
Regina Chua, 34, an auditor who has lived in Hougang SMC for six years, said, “The party did well to sack him. It was a brave move and it shows they are willing to choose morals over power.”
She added, “Regardless of who stands in the by-election, I will still pick the WP because it has done a good job for residents here.”
Another resident of 15 years, Desmond Chin, 31, systems engineer said: “To me, it is a long overdue move. But at least they have done it now. By sacking Yaw, the WP is showing Singapore that it expects its MPs to not just be passionate about serving constituents but also be morally upright. “
But he said he will only decide who to vote for in the by-election after the candidates from both sides have been confirmed.
Pamy Tan, a research writer, thinks that this shows well on WP in “preserving a good image”. However, she remains skeptical if it will truly benefit the residents in the case of a by-election.
But the scrutiny is undoubtedly on WP and their upcoming performance. Tan said that she will choose where to place her vote carefully in the upcoming election “based on what WP says in rallies. I’d hear what they have to say and based on my assessment, I’d see who I’d vote for”.
The last elections saw People’s Action Party candidate Desmond Choo contest the single-seat ward against Yaw. At press time, Choo could not be reached for comment on whether he will contest in a by-election.
However, his supporters are already geared up to vote him in.
Facebook user Kwek Kah Heong posted on Choo’s wall: “Get ready for another fight!”
Another user Chong Yao Yang encouraged Choo to contest in this by-election, saying, “Don't Worry this time round if you contest in Hougang’s by-Election, you will win because Yaw Shin Leong have been sacked from the Workers’ Party.”
-- Additional reporting by Lin Wenjian and Melissa Aw