Elections Department says third NCMP will be from WP East Coast GRC team

Dr Daniel Goh has confirmed he will take up the NCMP post when he receives the formal offer.
Dr Daniel Goh has confirmed he will take up the NCMP post when he receives the formal offer.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The third Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) will come from the Workers' Party (WP) team that contested in East Coast GRC, and Dr Daniel Goh has confirmed he will take it up when he receives the formal offer.

The Elections Department told The Straits Times on Monday: "The Returning Officer has been informed of the resolution passed by Parliament on Jan 29, 2016, to fill the NCMP seat of Ms Lee Li Lian that has become vacant."

The Department added that Returning Officer Ng Wai Choong, who announces which candidates are elected as MPs and NCMPs, will write to the WP's East Coast candidates, who will decide among themselves who will fill the seat.

They will notify the Returning Officer of their decision within seven days.

Ms Lee lost her Punggol East seat at last year's general election but was the losing opposition candidate with the highest vote share. She said almost immediately after the polls results that she would not take up the NCMP post.

 

The WP then said it wanted Dr Goh, 42, a sociology associate professor at the National University of Singapore, to fill the seat.

On Friday, the WP moved a motion for Parliament to declare the third NCMP seat vacant and have it filled.

An intense, nearly two-hour debate ensued, and the People's Action Party and WP locked horns over the principles of the NCMP scheme and the WP's motives in wanting to fill the seat.

 

The motion was passed, but not before Government Whip Chan Chun Sing added an amendment that said Parliament "regrets that Ms Lee Li Lian, having stood as a WP candidate and received the highest vote share among all losing opposition candidates, has now decided to give up her NCMP seat to another candidate from her party with a lower vote share, contrary to the expressed will of voters".

It added that "the WP supports this political manoeuvre to take full advantage of the NCMP seat, even as its secretary-general criticises NCMPs as just 'duckweed on the water of a pond'."

The WP abstained from voting on the motion as it objected to the amendment.

When contacted, Dr Goh said he had not yet received any word from the Elections Department.

But he confirmed he would take up the offer, and said he saw it as a form of service to the country.

He will join two other NCMPs who are also from the WP. They are consultancy firm chief executive Leon Perera, 45, who was in the WP's East Coast team, and shipping lawyer Dennis Tan, 45, who stood in single-seat Fengshan constituency.