WP candidates head list for 3 available NCMP seats

PHOTO: The Straits Times

With the election of six opposition MPs (one from Hougang SMC and five from Aljunied GRC), three seats are up for grabs under the Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) scheme.

Introduced in 1984 to ensure that there would always be a minimum number of opposition members and to increase the diversity of views in Parliament, NCMP seats are offered to the best performers - those with the highest percentage of votes among the losing opposition candidates - in a general election.

The top three losers in this general election all came from the Workers' Party.

With 48.24 per cent of the votes in Punggol East SMC, the Workers' Party's Ms Lee Li Lian is the top finisher among the losing candidates and qualifies to be an NCMP.

But the 37-year-old, who won the Punggol East seat in a 2013 by-election and gave birth to her first child last year, indicated last night that she would reject the NCMP offer.

The next closest performer after Ms Lee was fellow WP member Dennis Tan, 45, who garnered 42.48 per cent of the votes in the single-seat ward of Fengshan.

Next in line after him are the four-man East Coast GRC team: Mr Gerald Giam, 37, Mr Leon Perera, 44, Mr Daniel Goh, 42, and Mr Mohamed Fairoz Shariff, 36.

Their 39.27 per cent was the third-best result by the opposition.

Under the NCMP guidelines, no more than two nominees are allowed to be drawn from the same GRC.

An NCMP, who does not represent any constituency, holds his seat for the entire term of Parliament.

He can vote on all matters, except supply Bills, money Bills, constitutional amendments, motions of no confidence in the Government and motions on the removal of the President from office.

The scheme offered three seats initially.

The 1991 General Election was the last time no NCMP positions were offered as the opposition, with four elected seats, exceeded the allocated NCMP slots.

The next three general elections saw the NCMP allocation in Parliament fulfilled before the limit of NCMP seats was raised to nine in 2010.

A year later, the 2011 General Election brought a record three NCMPs into Parliament: Ms Lina Loh (the wife of Mr Chiam See Tong, the former MP for Potong Pasir SMC) of the Singapore People's Party, and the WP pair of Mr Yee Jenn Jong and Mr Giam.


This article was first published on September 12, 2015.
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