SINGAPORE: The hearing for the legal action on the Government's decision not to hold a by-election in Marsiling-Yew Tee Group Representation Constituency (GRC) has been set for Jan 15, 2018, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) said in a statement on its website on Monday (Nov 13).
This was decided at a pre-trial conference held on Monday morning, said the SDP, adding that it was also decided that the SDP "will not be a party in the matter".
The party had filed a lawsuit in the High Court earlier this year challenging the decision not to hold a by-election after a seat in the four-member GRC fell vacant when President Halimah Yacob resigned as a Member of Parliament to run for President.
According to the SDP, the Attorney-General had objected to the party being part of the action because, according to him, the party had no standing in the issue.
"In order not to complicate the proceedings and hold up the process, the SDP has agreed to withdraw from the action," the party said in its statement.
This leaves Dr Wong Souk Yee, a resident in the GRC and the SDP's assistant treasurer, as the sole plaintiff in the action, it said.
"The withdrawal does not change the essence of the legal action," the SDP added. "Our position is that the PAP must abide by the constitution and the spirit of democracy by ensuring that an MP who vacates his/her seat be replaced by another MP through a by-election.
"As such, the SDP will support Dr Wong in her action," it added.
Dr Wong had filed an affidavit in September stating that with Mdm Halimah's resignation, the constituency would not be fully represented in Parliament until the next general election if a by-election is not called.
In addition, it added that this meant the GRC would also be left without an elected minority MP to represent minority constituents.
Dr Wong also stated in her affidavit that if a by-election is called, she would contest in it under the SDP ticket, the party added.
The registrar will set a date for written submissions to be filed before the hearing, the SDP added.
The three remaining MPs of Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC after Mdm Halimah's resignation - Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, Mr Ong Teng Koon and Mr Alex Yam – had said they will take turns to cover Mdm Halimah’s meet-the-people sessions in the Marsiling ward.
Mr Zaqy Mohamad, an MP from Chua Chu Kang GRC, has also been appointed as adviser to grassroots organisations in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.