The Workers' Party (WP) has to move a parliamentary motion if it wants to propose someone else in place of Lee Li Lian for the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) seat that she has declined, said Leader of the House Grace Fu on Sunday.
NCMP seats are offered to the best losers at the general election. The law provides for nine such seats, less the number of opposition MPs elected.
Ms Lee, 37, was absent for Parliament's first sitting on Friday.
She had announced after losing the contest in Punggol East to People's Action Party's Charles Chong that she would not take up the NCMP offer.
Ms Lee had been an MP for the ward after winning a 2013 by-election and, with 15,800 votes cast in her favour, had the highest vote percentage among the three elected to be NCMPs at 48.23 per cent.
The other two best performers among opposition candidates - Dennis Tan and Leon Perera of WP - have both taken up the NCMP offer.
Ms Fu, who is also Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, said in response to media queries: "Ms Lee's election to the NCMP seat is determined in accordance to the Constitution and the related legislation, and on the basis of the results of the General Election. Her decision not to take up the seat should therefore not be lightly taken. Some 15,800 voters in Punggol East had cast their ballots for her. They, along with many other Singaporeans, would want to understand the basis of her decision."
Ms Lee's decision not to return to Parliament is supported by WP, which has also said that it would put up Daniel Goh, a member of its East Coast Group Representation Constituency team, for consideration if Parliament resolves to fill the vacant seat left by Ms Lee.
Ms Fu said: "If Ms Lee indeed fails to take up her seat, and the Worker's Party would like to propose an alternative candidate, they would have to put it to the Parliament for decision. They can do so by moving a motion at a sitting of this Parliament."
This article was first published on Jan 17, 2016.
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