SINGAPORE - The Elections Department has declared three Workers' Party (WP) candidates - Ms Lee Li Lian, Mr Dennis Tan, and Mr Leon Perera - elected as Non-Constituency MPs (NCMPs).
Ms Lee, 37, who contested in Punggol East single-member constituency at the Sept 11 General Election and lost to the People's Action Party's Charles Chong, and Mr Tan, 45, who contested in Fengshan SMC and lost to the PAP's Cheryl Chan, received the top two highest percentages of votes among unelected Opposition candidates, a statement from the department said on Wednesday.
The WP's East Coast Group Representation Constituency team which comprised Mr Perera, chief executive of a consultancy firm; IT consultant Gerald Giam, 37; sociology don Daniel Goh, 42; and former librarian Mohamed Fairoz Shariff, 36, received the third highest percentage of votes among unelected Opposition candidates, it added.
The statement said that the Returning Officer, Mr Ng Wai Choong, wrote to the party's East Coast GRC candidates on Tuesday asking them to determine among themselves who would take up the NCMP seat.
The group replied on Wednesday that they were nominating Mr Perera, 44.
As such, Mr Ng declared Ms Lee, Mr Tan and Mr Perera elected as NCMPs.
But the WP released a statement of its own shortly after, saying the party's leadership backed Ms Lee's decision not to take up the seat. Ms Lee had made her intention known to the media shortly after the Punggol East result was announced on Polling Day on Sept 11.
The WP added that it was putting Dr Goh up for consideration "should Parliament resolve to fill the vacated NCMP seat left by Ms Lee".
Responding to queries, a department spokesman said on Wednesday that the Attorney General’s view is that if anyone who is declared an NCMP “fails to take and subscribe before Parliament, the Oath of Allegiance under Article 61 of the Constitution” at the first or second sitting after the General Election, “then Parliament may at its discretion declare that seat vacant”.
“Parliament is not thereafter obliged to declare that seat be filled by the next succeeding candidate,” the spokesman added.
Earlier, Mr Giam, a former NCMP, posted on his blog that the East Coast team had decided among themselves that Mr Perera and Dr Goh were the most suitable candidates for NCMPs.
"They have both taken leading roles in policy work within our Party, and I am confident they will be able to make very positive contributions to Parliamentary debates and speak up for not just residents of East Coast GRC, but all Singaporeans," he wrote.
The WP's Central Executive Council unanimously supported the team's decision, he added.
NCMP seats are offered to losing opposition candidates who score the highest percentage of votes. The scheme was introduced in 1984 to ensure a minimum number of opposition members in Parliament.
The Parliamentary Elections Act states that at any General Election, the number of NCMPs to be declared elected "shall be nine less the number of Opposition MPs elected".
NCMPs can vote on all matters except supply Bills, money Bills, Constitutional amendments, motions of no confidence in the Government and motions on the removal of the President from office.