Photo of Hri Kumar from heart truths

Refusing to call for an election after Halimah Yacob resigned from her MP seat in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, the Attorney General Chambers (AGC) claimed that it is not written in the law to call for an election even when she voluntarily resigned. Referring to a debate 30 years ago in 1988, Deputy Attorney General, Hri Kumar, said that the old Parliament has long ago decided that there is no need for a by-election:

“In a 1988 parliamentary debate on the aim of the GRC system, Parliament noted that even when one MP steps down, the others will continue to represent voters. A by-election would not be called when one or more members of a GRC vacate their seats. Doing so would allow an MP to hold the others in the GRC to ransom by threatening to resign.”

Hri Kumar, a former PAP MP-turned-Deputy AG being appointed by PM Lee Hsien Loong, defended the ruling party saying that PAP MP Zaqy Mohamad can juggle the area in Halimah Yacob’s absence:

“When Madam Halimah left the GRC to run for president, MP Zaqy Mohamad from neighbouring Chua Chu Kang GRC was appointed to take on the additional role of grassroots adviser to her constituency.”

Peter Low, the lawyer of Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) members who filed the High Court application, however pointed out that the Constitution has already provided the written law:

“Article 49 (1) of the Constitution, which states that when the seat of a Member… has become vacant for any reason other than a dissolution of Parliament, the vacancy shall be filled by election.”

Interestingly, the court judge, Chua Lee Ming, interpreted the Constitution law above as “asking others to vacate their seats”:

“Unless you can force the rest of the members to resign, how do these vacancies arise? Surely, there must be some legal provision for that?”

President Halimah Yacob “won” her election after her two election contestants were disqualified by the Election Department controlled by the Prime Minister’s Office. The controversial President who had disregarded her Indian race to become Malay, is largely criticised as being a puppet of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and act to allow the dictator have free access to the country’s national reserves and CPF funds.