Court hearing for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC by-election lawsuit fixed for Jan

The PAP team which won Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC in the 2015 general election, consisting of (from left) Mr Alex Yam, Mr Lawrence Wong, Madam Halimah Yacob and Mr Ong Teng Koon.
The PAP team which won Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC in the 2015 general election, consisting of (from left) Mr Alex Yam, Mr Lawrence Wong, Madam Halimah Yacob and Mr Ong Teng Koon. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

SINGAPORE - The High Court has set aside half a day on Jan 15 next year to hear a legal challenge to get the Government to call a by-election in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) said this in a statement on its website on Monday (Nov 13), even as the party announced it would withdraw from the lawsuit.

The SDP move came after the Attorney-General (A-G) objected to the opposition party being part of the legal action, the SDP said.

But it added that the withdrawal does not stop the legal action, as the lawsuit was brought in the High Court jointly with its former chairman Wong Souk Yee.

Dr Wong, a resident in the group representation constituency, will continue as the sole plaintiff in the lawsuit.

In its statement, the SDP said the A-G had argued the party had no standing in the issue.

A person or entity bringing up a case in court has to have a legal right to do so, by virtue of having sufficient connection to the issue.

The SDP said it decided, at a pre-trial conference for the case on Monday, to withdraw from the lawsuit, instead of fighting the A-G's objection, "in order not to complicate the proceedings and hold up the process".

It added: "The withdrawal does not change the essence of the legal action. Our position is that the PAP must abide by the Constitution and the spirit of democracy by ensuring that an MP who vacates his or her seat be replaced by another MP through a by-election."

The four-member Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC was left with three MPs after Madam Halimah Yacob resigned to run in the September presidential election, which she won in a walkover.

Her three former colleagues from the People's Action Party have said they will collectively take care of the residents in her former ward of Marsiling.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad, an MP from neighbouring Choa Chu Kang GRC, has been tasked to help grassroots organisations in Marsiling.

The SDP has said the PAP's decision not to call a by-election when a seat is vacated in a GRC is unconstitutional.