President issues Writ of Election for Punggol East, Nomination Day 16th of Jan

The President of Singapore, Tony Tan, has issued a writ of election for Punggol East constituency with Nomination Day being next Wednesday, the16th of January.

If more than one candidate is nominated, Polling Day will take place later this month on the 26th of January.

The Punggol East seat was left vacant after MP Michael Palmer stepped down due to an extra-marital affair last month.

Pasir Ris-Punggol MP, Teo Ser Luck, has been standing in as caretaker MP in recent weeks.

PM Lee said in a statement on Wednesday that he advised the President to call the by-election quickly as it was important that Punggol residents "can have their own MP in Parliament" and because of a "busy national agenda this year".

"The White Paper on Population will soon be debated in Parliament. Budget 2013 is around the corner. The Our Singapore Conversation is translating the views of citizens into programmes to improve our lives," he added.

The single-seat constituency is expected to be hotly contested with as many as five parties -- including the Workers' Party, Singapore Democratic Party, the Singapore Democratic Alliance and even the Reform Party -- expressing interest in contesting the by-election in recent weeks. 

On Tuesday, a surprise candidate, 40-year-old surgeon, Dr Koh Poh Koon, may have emerged as the People's Action Party (PAP) choice, after he was seen accompanying Teo during an Meet-the-People session.

This is the second by-election is as many years, after Hougang also held a by-election last year, which Workers' Party member Png Eng Huat won decisively over PAP candidate Desmond Choo.

But this time around, Punggol East is seen as a stronghold for the PAP, going by the last general election results in May 2011 when Palmer defeated WP candidate, Lee Li Lian, by a convincing 54.5 percent to 41 percent of votes. A third candidate, Singapore Democratic Alliance's Desmond Lim received 4.4 percent of votes.

However, analysts Yahoo! Singapore spoke to last month said that if the contest were to be a straight fight between the WP and PAP, the former could be seen as favourites.

“This is a competitive seat with a three-corner fight last round. A one-on-one contest will make this a potentially winnable seat for the opposition,” said Bridget Welsh, associate professor in Political Science at Singapore Management University (SMU).

Meanwhile, Punngol-East resident Syed Muhammad, 25, welcomed the possibility of a multi-party contest.

"I believe that it is a good idea to let the 5 parties compete as our PM mentioned in his statement he wants us (residents) to vote for the best MP to represent us. By having as many as five parties contest, I believe residents will be able to wisely consider who is best suited for the job," he said.

Another resident, Nadh, a 25-year-old freelance designer, welcomed the timing of the by-election.

"I like how they are acting fast to get a replacement for Palmer. I don't think it's too rushed because residents here just want a fast solution," he said.


Related stories:

WP could be hot favourites: analysts
SDP to contest Punggol East hot-seat?
Top surgeon to be PAP's candidate?
Speaker of Parliament, PAP MP Michael Palmer resigns due to 'improper conduct'

Punggol East residents divided over MP’s resignation

  • The Lotus breadvan: Flickr photo of the day 13 hours ago
    The Lotus breadvan: Flickr photo of the day

    The Lotus Europa was one of the stranger sports cars of the '70s, but still managed to corner like a sheepdog thanks to its low weight and fiberglass body. This example caught by Dave Lindsay is fairly typical of the nicer early '70s Type 62 Europas Lotus exported to the United States; by today's standards they're odd, underpowered and unreliable — which means they have a fervent fan base.

  • Inside MotoGP, elbow on asphalt at 210 mph 14 hours ago
    Inside MotoGP, elbow on asphalt at 210 mph

    In MotoGP, a most strange sport, compact, highly fit men, most of them Spanish, Italian, Japanese, or Australian, maneuver 350-lb., multimillion-dollar motorcycles around Formula One tracks at 220 mph while wearing computerized suits that inflate when they fall off at speed. It feels as though you’re watching Tron live, and the crashes are just as spectacular. Driving these things requires a lot of nerve, as well as generous levels of Euro-style machismo. The riders of MotoGP can’t walk down the street in Barcelona or Milan without being followed by screaming fans. They’re like some sort of unholy marriage between Daft Punk and Apollo astronauts. In the United States, they’re just guys walking down the street.

  • Ken Block plays soccer in his 650-hp rally car, because "Footkhana" 16 hours ago
    Ken Block plays soccer in his 650-hp rally car, because "Footkhana"

    We've seen Ken Block slide his 650 hp Ford Fiesta rally car through the streets of San Fransisco and, more recently, around Miley Cirus' wrecking ball. But how he is he at playing soccer while doing these things? It turns out, quite good. Welcome to the world of Footkhana, where Ken Block faces his toughest challenge yet — defeat Neymar, Jr., a Brazilian soccer football star, in a head-to-head battle of fancy footwork.

  • First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy
    First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy

    He called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.

  • Fresh wave of Hello Kitty mania to descend on McDonald’s outlets in Singapore
    Fresh wave of Hello Kitty mania to descend on McDonald’s outlets in Singapore

    It may not be safe to enter a McDonald’s restaurant in Singapore on Mondays starting 28 April. To celebrate the iconic Japanese character Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, the fast food chain announced last Friday that it would be releasing a new collection of Hello Kitty toys in McDonald’s restaurants island wide next Monday.

  • Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia
    Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Armed pirates boarded a Singapore-managed oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, kidnapping three Indonesian crew and stealing some of the vessel's shipment of diesel fuel, the International Maritime Bureau said Wednesday. The attack occurred early Tuesday off Malaysia's west coast, said Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. The diesel oil tanker was believed to be en route to Myanmar. "IMB is aware of the attack on the Singapore-managed ship in the Malacca Straits.