WP's EP motion not picked in ballot again

The Workers' Party (WP) has failed again in its bid to raise the issue of the elected presidency in Parliament.

An adjournment motion, filed by WP chairman and Aljunied GRC MP Sylvia Lim, was not selected in a ballot for the coming Parliament sitting next Monday.

But she may still have a chance to speak on the topic if the House sits for a second day, as another ballot will be held.

In a Facebook post, the WP said Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Intan Azura Mokhtar and Sembawang GRC MP Vikram Nair had also vied for the 20-minute slot to speak, and Dr Intan's topic on preserving the heritage and green spaces in Jalan Kayu was chosen. Mr Nair's topic is on national service.

The ballot yesterday was conducted by Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and witnessed by Ms Lim.

This was her second time filing the motion "Counting from President Wee Kim Wee or President Ong Teng Cheong for Reserved Presidential Election - Policy Decision or Legal Question".

The first time was for the Sept 11 Parliament sitting, which was two days before Madam Halimah Yacob was declared President in a walkover at the presidential election.

Mr Nair and Bukit Batok MP Murali Pillai had both also filed motions for that sitting, and Mr Murali's topic was picked.

The WP said there was a chance Ms Lim's motion "may be subject to ballot again", if Parliament sits on Tuesday. This happens when one day is not enough for the legislature to complete debating Bills and passing laws.

The timing of the reserved election was the subject of a legal challenge mounted by former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock, who felt it should have happened in 2023 at the earliest.

An election is reserved for candidates from a community if five terms have passed without a president from that community.

The Government started its count from the second term of Mr Wee, and reserved the recent election for Malay candidates.

In August, the Court of Appeal found Parliament had the right to do so.

Yesterday, Dr Tan said on Facebook that the Government had initially wanted to seek costs from him, but later changed its mind and consented to "no order as to costs". He added that he hoped Ms Lim gets a chance to raise the topic in Parliament.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2017, with the headline 'WP's EP motion not picked in ballot again'. Print Edition | Subscribe