To have, or not to have a by-election? That is more than a question can handle.

“In July 2013, the Court of Appeal ruled that the law requires the prime minister to call an election to fill a seat vacated by an elected MP. However, this applies only to single-member constituencies as there is a provision requiring all MPs of a GRC to vacate their seats before an election can be held.”

When a by-election has to be called (Chong Zi Liang, ST) – 28 March 2016

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My views in relation to the petition for a by-election to be held at Marsling-Yew Tee GRC for the replacement of Halimah Yacob who had recently stepped down from her ward to contest as a candidate for PE2017:
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Since candidates standing for election in a GRC must include at least one member from a minority racial community, its only fair for consistency for such an implementation mandate to be carried through to the period of running the constituency e.g. such as having a minority representation be replaced by a new minority representation democratically through an electoral voting when the former departs from the GRC mid-term.
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I’m not fighting on the point that the by-election should be carried out merely for the sake of “ensuring minority representation”. Because in an ideal society – we would be able to see pass racial lines, go beyond positive discrimination, and hold the confident belief that MPs can serve everyone fairly regardless of diverse identities. Hence instead and rather, I’m fighting on the point that there should be consistency in how the GRC system is carried out, as how it was intended to function – which is for a GRC to have at least one minority representation present to run their constituency throughout the 4 years.
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“Then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew first broached the plan in 1982 to ensure minority representation in Parliament. He cited a concern that the minority races would eventually be underrepresented in Parliament, given that young voters were less aware of the importance of returning a racially balanced selection of Members of Parliament (MPs). ”             
 
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Q: “What if in individual majority representation departs from the GRC?”
A: Following through with my point, since there is no statistical rule about majority representation, I wouldn’t see the need for an by-election to replace that particular individual of a majority representation. 
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If the mandatory rule that there has to be at least one minority representation in an GRC during election is removed, I would likewise agree that there is no need for a by-election to replace a minority representation departing from that GRC.
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Q: “So when should a by-election be made applicable for GRCs?”
A: I disagree that a by-election can only be held when all members vacate their seats. The role of running a GRC was made for 4-6 members. If hypothetically only one MP remains due to unforeseen circumstances, he obviously would not be able to carry out his duties effectively as he is taking on 4-6 times his role.
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[He noted there are 25 minority MPs out of 89, “more than what you’d expect proportionately from adding up the percentage of Malays, Indians and other minorities”. “Even if we have one less, that is 24 out of 89, which is 27 per cent of Parliament,”]

– No by-election if minority MP leaves GRC, says Chun Sing (Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh, ST) – 7 Feb 2017

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Written by: Offbeat Perspectives

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Photo credit: mothership.sg

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