Lina Chiam takes up NCMP seat

The SPP has given its approval to Lina Chiam to take up the NCMP seat. (Yahoo! photo/ Faris Mokhtar)The SPP has given its approval to Lina Chiam to take up the NCMP seat. (Yahoo! photo/ Faris Mokhtar)

The Singapore People's Party (SPP) has given its approval to Lina Chiam to take up the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) seat in Parliament.

The party said that its decision came after it held discussions for more than two hours with its Central Executive Committee (CEC) on Wednesday evening.

In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, the party said, "The SPP CEC met last night and gave approval for Mrs Chiam to take up the NCMP seat in Parliament."

It noted that Mrs Chiam, 62, will be supported by the party's 15-member Policy Working Group, headed up by Benjamin Pwee, 43, who contested in the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.

The working group will also consist of ex-senior civil servants, former government scholars and senior corporate executives.

Mrs Chiam said that she accepted the NCMP post to provide an alternative voice in Parliament. Her decision, she added, was influenced by the "wishes" of Potong Pasir residents and because of the narrow margin won by the People's Action Party (PAP).

"I promise to represent and speak up for the common Singaporean, and hold the PAP government publicly accountable to the people.

"I will be in active collaboration with SPP's Policy Working Group, to continue our fight for democracy, justice and equality for all Singaporeans," she said.

Losing candidates with the highest percentage of votes are offered the NCMP seats in Parliament. Mrs Chiam -- a first-time candidate -- is eligible after she secured 49.6 percent of the votes, losing by a mere 114 votes to PAP's Sitoh Yih Pin.

The SPP said that the NCMP role is "critical" for the party to ensure an alternative voice in Parliament. This it said, will allow the SPP to remain engaged in national issues through Parliamentary debates, and to continue to be publicly visible in the next 5 years.

NCMPs are allowed to participate in Parliamentary debates and raise motions but they are unable to vote on constitutional changes. Based on the constitution, such powers will remain as privileges of an elected MP.

In addition, the party emphasised that it will continue to reach out to Singaporeans through regular ongoing dialogue groups, virtual MPS, and online forums.

"The SPP hopes to bring the voice and concerns of all Singaporeans to Parliament through Mrs Chiam, in addition to that of voters in Potong Pasir, Hong Kah North and Bishan-Toa Payoh," it said.

Workers' Party to decide on NCMP seats

The Workers' Party candidates who were offered the NCMP seats will be meeting party's CEC this evening to confirm if they will be taking up the role.

WP's Joo Chiat SMC candidate Yee Jenn Jong and team leader for East Coast GRC Eric Tan have both indicated that they are keen to take on the role.

Yee, 46, told Yahoo! Singapore, "For me individually, I will consider what the voters want. With floods of messages on Faceboook, my blog and SMSes asking me to accept the position, I will seriously bear that in mind."

In the recent election, he had lost by a narrow margin to PAP veteran Charles Chong, securing 49 percent of the votes.

Tan also said that he could take up the NCMP seat if the party decides to go ahead with it, saying "the people of East Coast, residents, my friends and supporters have all encouraged me to take it up."

His East Coast GRC team won 45.2 per cent of the votes against the PAP team led by Minister in the Prime Minister's office, Lim Swee Say.

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