The Straits Times
Published on Dec 21, 2012

A stand-in MP won't do


AN ELECTED MP's duties, such as holding the Meet-the-People Sessions and managing the town council, cease officially the moment he leaves for whatever reason, creating a vacancy ("DPM Teo to meet Punggol East residents"; Sunday).

A stand-in MP does not fill such a vacancy. The constituency can be served by the various government agencies, such as the Community Development Council, but not other appointed or assigned MPs.

The only MP who can serve the ward should be elected by its voters.

Alternatively, the MP who resigns, and is not sacked, should serve a six-month notice period, much as some chief executives of organisations do, to perform any outstanding work.

The Prime Minister will then have six months to get a replacement MP.

Ideally, an MP should be elected before Parliament debates the major national issues.

Ang Chin Guan