High Court Judge Throws Out Hougang By-Election Suit

2 Aug

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s High Court has thrown out the law suit filed by a Hougang resident on whether the Prime Minister has “unfettered discretion” as to when to hold a by-election in the constituency.

Madam Vellama Marie Muthu, 42, had asked the court to declare whether the Prime Minister is required to call elections within three months of a Member of Parliament vacating his or her seat.

The part-time cleaner filed her bid in March, after former Hougang MP Yaw Shin Leong vacated his post.

The case continued even though a by-election was held in Hougang in May.

In a media release, the Attorney-General’s Chambers said High Court Judge Philip Pillai struck out the application on Wednesday.

Justice Pillai said in his 53-page judgement that the Constitution does not require the Prime Minister to call elections to fill elected Member vacancies.

As such, there is no “prescribed time” within which such elections must be called.

Justice Pillai said in his conclusion that under the Constitution, the Prime Minister has the final say.

“Under the Constitution, to call or not to call an election to fill an elected Member vacancy is a decision to be made by the Prime Minister. Should the Prime Minister decide to call an election to fill an elected Member vacancy, he has a discretion as to when to call it,” the judge concluded.

Justice Pillai will bring up the issue of the costs of the application at a later date.

– CNA/wm

Channel News Asia

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