GE2020 SINGAPORE VOTES: BATTLEGROUND- SMCs

GE2020: PSP's West Coast team to be offered two NCMP seats as 'best losers'

The Progress Singapore Party team that contested in West Coast GRC, comprising (top left) Dr Tan Cheng Bock, Ms Hazel Poa, (above, from left) Mr Leong Mun Wai, Mr Jeffrey Khoo and Mr Nadarajah Loganathan, will be offered seats in Parliament as NCMPs.
The Progress Singapore Party team that contested in West Coast GRC, comprising (top left) Dr Tan Cheng Bock, Ms Hazel Poa, (above, from left) Mr Leong Mun Wai, Mr Jeffrey Khoo and Mr Nadarajah Loganathan, will be offered seats in Parliament as NCMPs. Dr Tan had earlier said he would decline an NCMP seat if he was offered one, although other party members could take it up if they wished.ST FILE PHOTOS

Two Progress Singapore Party (PSP) candidates in West Coast GRC will be offered seats in Parliament as Non-Constituency MPs (NCMPs), as the "best losers" of the 2020 General Election.

The five-member team lost the GRC to the PAP team led by Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran and Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee with the smallest margin of 3.38 percentage points.

The PAP team retained the GRC with 51.69 per cent of the vote, while the PSP team secured 48.31 per cent of the vote.

The PSP team in West Coast GRC comprises Dr Tan Cheng Bock, Ms Hazel Poa, Mr Leong Mun Wai, Mr Jeffrey Khoo and Mr Nadarajah Loganathan.

However, Dr Tan had earlier said during the campaign period that he would decline an NCMP seat if he was offered one, although other party members could take it up if they wished.

Meanwhile, the Workers' Party retained the five-member Aljunied GRC and single-seat constituency Hougang, and won four-member Sengkang GRC - totalling 10 elected WP MPs.

To ensure that the new Parliament will have at least 12 opposition MPs, two NCMP seats will be offered to the "best losers" of GE2020.

The maximum number of NCMPs was increased from nine to 12 after amendments to the Constitution were made in 2016, which also gave NCMPs the same voting rights as elected MPs.

Under the scheme, which was introduced in 1984, the losing opposition candidates with the highest percentage of votes will be offered seats in Parliament, should the number of opposition candidates elected fall short of the minimum number.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had earlier said during campaigning that the expanded NCMP scheme will guarantee a "significant opposition presence" in Parliament, even if the PAP wins all the seats.

He also noted that the NCMPs would have the same rights and privileges as elected MPs in Parliament.

 
 
 

As such, PM Lee said, Singaporeans should not vote for "compromise candidates" that would weaken the national team.

The expanded NCMP scheme was also cited by the PAP's Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Finance and Education, to rebut WP's Jamus Lim, who had urged voters to vote for his party and deny the PAP a "blank cheque" during a televised debate on July 1.

Ms Indranee had said: "The PAP will never have a blank cheque, because no matter what happens, the Constitution guarantees at least 12 opposition seats at the minimum."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2020, with the headline 'PSP's West Coast team to be offered two NCMP seats as 'best losers''. Subscribe