SINGAPORE — With the resignation of Raeesah Khan from the Workers' Party (WP) and as a Member of Parliament (MP), Sengkang Group Representation Constituency (GRC) will be redrawn into three divisions, with her Compassvale ward divvied up among the three remaining GRC MPs, said the WP on Thursday (2 December).
The ward will be taken care of by Sengkang MPs He Ting Ru, Louis Chua, and Jamus Lim, while party vice chair and Aljunied MP Faisal Manap will also chip in.
Further, party chair Sylvia Lim stressed that under the Parliamentary Elections Act, there can be no by-election issued in a GRC unless all the members have vacated their seats. She noted that this was reaffirmed by the Court of Appeal in 2018, when it rejected an application to hold a by-election in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, following Halimah Yacob’s resignation as MP in order to run for president.
"The fact is that in the General Election last year, the voters of Sengkang gave the Workers Party a mandate to represent them in Parliament," said Lim. When asked if the remaining Sengkang MPs might step down to trigger a by-election, she replied emphatically, "No."
At a press conference held at the WP headquarters, party chief Pritam Singh earlier acknowledged that, a week after Raeesah Khan lied to Parliament in August about accompanying an alleged rape victim to make a police report, she had confessed the "untruth" to the party leadership.
Raeesah admitted in Parliament on 1 November that she had lied about the incident involving the alleged rape victim. The 27-year-old eventually resigned from the WP and as an MP on Tuesday.
Who will replace Raeesah?
Yahoo News Singapore asked if the party had given any thought to Raeesah's eventual replacement, with an eye on the next General Election. Singh, who had earlier said that the party's vetting process for candidates would be reviewed, said this was "quite premature".
Yahoo also asked: Given that the WP's parliamentary presence is now down to nine MPs, how would this affect the party's ability to raise issues in the House? And was it prepared for the issue to be raised in the House again, with the attendant implications: how can Singaporeans trust that a WP MP is telling the truth?
Singh responded that a WP MP who is not truthful would have to account for their conduct, and face "very harsh outcomes". He also admitted that losing an MP is a "big thing", but noted that the WP MPs had continually raised important issues such as on wealth tax and inequality.
"This is a strong team that we have here. And the team is made of stern stuff. The challenge just got harder. But I cannot think of any better people to take on that challenge," said the WP chief.
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