Ruling party PAP government is not calling for a by-election for MP Heng Swee Keat and has instead appointed a replacement to perform MP duties in Tampines GRC. The illegal and unconstitutional move was announced by Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli at a community event on Saturday (May 14).
The replacement MP is former PAP MP for Tampines GRC Sin Boon Ann. According to Minister Masagos, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong approved the appointment:
“And I thought it would be helpful for Mr Sin to be appointed as the second adviser so that he can help supervise and lead the grassroots organisations in Tampines Central. I asked PM (the Prime Minister) and he concurred.
As it stands today, all Tampines residents can approach any of us at our MPS (Meet-the-People Sessions), as well as in any occasion should they need any help. That has been something that we’ve been doing all this time anyway. And therefore, we will continue to provide the support, and together with Mr Sin on board, we will give the best support we can to our residents.”
Sin Boon Ann however claimed that he is “not replacing” MP Heng Swee Keat:
“I’ll be taking over the grassroots function as second adviser. This is something where I’m called upon to look after the CCC (Citizens’ Consultative Committee), the CCMC (Community Club Management Committee) and RC (Residents’ Committee) activities and also the municipal issues. And as far as the MPS is concerned, the elected MPs will continue to run it and I will help in the MPS as well. I know the residents well because of my previous role as an elected member, but I’m not here to replace him, I’m here to support the ongoing work of Mr Heng in Tampines Central.”
MP Heng Swee Keat was relieved of his Finance Minister duties after he suffered a sudden stroke last Thursday (May 12) that has left him incapacitated. The former Minister is still sedated in the hospital and his recovery will likely “take some time” according to the Prime Minister. Under the Singapore Constitution, a MP who is not able to discharge his MP duties must be relieved and a by-election must be called within a short period.