WP files motion to take up 3rd NCMP seat

WP's former Punggol East MP Lee Li Lian cited, in a Facebook post last year, several reasons for not wanting to take up the NCMP post. Among them: She wanted to respect the choice of voters who did not vote for her, and wanted to give other aspiring
WP's former Punggol East MP Lee Li Lian cited, in a Facebook post last year, several reasons for not wanting to take up the NCMP post. Among them: She wanted to respect the choice of voters who did not vote for her, and wanted to give other aspiring MPs in the party a chance to speak in Parliament.ST FILE PHOTO

It wants NUS don Daniel Goh to take up post turned down by Lee Li Lian

The Workers' Party (WP) has taken the first step towards trying to get another of its office-holders into Parliament as a Non-Constituency MP (NCMP).

It wants National University of Singapore sociology don Daniel Goh to occupy the seat, its chairman Sylvia Lim said yesterday in a statement. Dr Goh is in charge of the media team in the party's executive council.

The NCMP seat had been offered to - and turned down by - the WP's former Punggol East MP Lee Li Lian, who was the best performer among the losing candidates in the general election last September.

Last Friday, WP chief Low Thia Khiang filed a parliamentary motion to have the seat declared vacant, Ms Lim said.

The motion will be debated in Parliament and, in the event the MPs give it the nod, Dr Goh will be sworn in as the 92nd MP.

The party expects the motion to come up for debate late next week, the statement added.

It will be during the one-week debate on the Presidential Address, which sets out the Government's goals and policies for its new five-year term.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam delivered it when he opened the 13th Parliament last Friday.

Ms Lee... also said it was "not possible to be a full-time NCMP", unlike an MP, for which she had quit her job.

The WP's statement comes a day after Leader of the House Grace Fu said on Sunday that the opposition party needed to file a motion in Parliament if it wished to propose an alternative candidate for the NCMP seat.

Ms Fu, who is Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, also said Ms Lee's decision should not be taken lightly as the NCMP seat had been offered in line with constitutional rules, and based on the election results.

She noted that 15,800 Punggol East voters had voted for Ms Lee, and "would want to understand the basis of her decision". They form 48.2 per cent of the voters in the single-seat constituency.

As an NCMP, Ms Lee, 37, would be able to take part fully in parliamentary debates, raise motions and ask questions in Parliament, she added.

In a Facebook post last year, Ms Leecited several reasons for not wanting to take up the post.

Among them: She wanted to respect the choice of voters who did not vote for her, and wanted to give other aspiring MPs in WP a chance to speak in Parliament.

She also said it was "not possible to be a full-time NCMP", unlike an MP, for which she had quit her job.

Dr Goh was in the party's East Coast GRC team, which got 39.3 per cent of the votes.

The WP's other two NCMPs are consultancy firm chief executive Leon Perera, who is in the party's media team, and lawyer Dennis Tan, a central executive council member.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2016, with the headline 'WP files motion to take up 3rd NCMP seat'. Print Edition | Subscribe