[UPDATE at 6:08pm, adding analyst responses]
Former member of parliament for Hougang and Workers' Party member Yaw Shin Leong says he will not be appealing his expulsion from the party, therefore renouncing his seat in parliament.
Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer announced in a press statement issued Wednesday that Yaw had responded on Monday to a letter sent to him by the Clerk of Parliament last week, which sought confirmation that Yaw would be vacating his MP seat and would not be appealing his dismissal.
He had until Friday, 24 Februrary, to respond to the letter sent to him.
"In view of the above, and pursuant to Article 46(2)(b) of the Constitution, the seat for the Member of Hougang is vacant from the date of his expulsion from the political party for which he stood in the 2011 General Election, that is, 14 February 2012," said Palmer in the statement.
He added that he will be making a formal announcement to the House when Parliament next convenes on 28 February.
Responding to Yahoo! Singapore's queries, political science lecturer Bridget Welsh said that Yaw's decision is a wise one, having in her view chosen to put his party before himself at this juncture.
She said his decision to vacate his MP seat weakens the opposition voice, saying it is now missing one of the six voices it represents in Parliament.
"Given that there are only six seats for the opposition (not counting the three NCMP positions) -- who collectively carried 40 per cent of the vote -- this seriously weakens the alternative voices in Parliament," she added.
When asked if Yaw's move might increase the possibility of there being a by-election in Hougang SMC, Welsh said, "A government confident in representing the people will allow the legal process to move forward and allow Hougang residents a by-election.
"Delays in this process are a sign of weakness and lack (of) confidence in the outcome," she added.
The Workers' Party announced last Wednesday that it had expelled Yaw on 14 February, and its secretary-general Low Thia Khiang had informed Parliament officially of his dismissal two days later.
- Parliament asks Yaw if he will challenge WP expulsion
- I'm an MP, not a PI, says Low
- WP's Low: We have not let the people down