2001 Singaporean general election
84 seats (only 29 seats contested) to the Parliament of Singapore
43 seats needed for a majority
1 NCMP seat offered
People's Action Party
Workers' Party of Singapore
Singapore Democratic Alliance
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General elections were held in Singapore on 3 November 2001. President S.R. Nathan dissolved parliament on 18 October 2001 on the advice of Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. The ruling People's Action Party (PAP) won 82 of the 84 elected seats in Parliament. Due to the large number (51) of uncontested seats, only 675,306 of the 2,036,923 eligible voters (33.2%) had an opportunity to vote. As of the recent election in 2020, this was the most recent, and fourth overall (third consecutive) election PAP returned to power on nomination day with a majority of uncontested walkovers. The election marked Goh Chok Tong's last election in which he led the party into a general election; his successor, Lee Hsien Loong, would succeed Goh on 12 August 2004.
The ruling PAP's secretary-general and Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong initially scheduled for the election to be held in 2002, but pushed to November after Singapore faced an economic crisis due to the events of September 11 attacks in the United States.
For the first time since 1963, a formal political umbrella emerged from within the opposition. The four-party Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA), which consist of the leader party Singapore People's Party (SPP), the National Solidarity Party (NSP), Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Singapura (PKMS) and Singapore Justice Party (SJP), was led by Chiam See Tong. SDA fielded the most candidates in the election, where NSP provided the bulk of nine candidates, SPP with four, and PKMS providing a required minority candidate.
Former Workers' Party (WP) Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam, who lost his seat after being declared a bankrupt owing to lawsuits by PAP leaders, resigned from the party, citing disagreements with the present leadership. The only WP Member of Parliament, Low Thia Khiang took over as secretary-general. During nomination day, WP was nominated on only two wards (Hougang and Nee Soon East SMC), as their sole GRC team who attempt to nominate in Aljunied Group Representation Constituency was disqualified for filing incomplete papers.
A seat had been vacated in 1999 after the conviction of Jalan Besar GRC's MP Choo Wee Khiang over commercial crimes, but no by-election was held as the seat was within a GRC. Under the law, an entire electoral constituency (for both single member and GRC seats) has to be vacated before a by-election could be called, as this was done during the Marine Parade GRC by-election of 1992.
This election saw its shortest campaigning period of 17 days after opening of the register of electors, as well as the absence of four-member GRCs from the electoral map (four-member GRCs would reappear again in the 2011 elections, in nearly a decade later). Another increase of the election deposit amount this time was the most significant one in history, which almost doubled.
The end result saw WP's Low and SDA's Chiam retaining their seats, but saw their winning margins slashed from the 1997. With these two opposition wins, one NCMP seat was offered to and accepted by Steve Chia of Singapore Democratic Alliance, who became the youngest and first-ever non-WP NCMP.
Chee Soon Juan incident
Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) leader Chee Soon Juan came under fire in the media when he encountered Prime Minister Goh while campaigning at a hawker centre. He used a megaphone to ask Goh, "Where is the $18 billion that you have lent to (Indonesian President) Suharto?". Goh and Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew sued Chee for defamation shortly after the election.
Chee lost the lawsuits and was ordered to pay damages of S$300,000 to Goh and S$200,000 to Lee. On 10 February 2006, Chee was declared bankrupt by the High Court after failing to pay the damages owed to Goh and Lee, and was unable to stand in the elections held later May that year, until on 23 November 2012 where Chee was discharged from bankruptcy, and later returned to participate in the 2015 elections.
|17 October||Publication of Electoral Boundaries report|
|17 October||Certification of Registers of Electors|
|18 October||Dissolution of 9th Parliament; Writ of Election issued|
|25 October||Nomination Day|
|26 October-2 November||Campaigning Period|
|3 November||Polling Day|
|25 March 2002||Opening of 10th Parliament|
|Aljunied GRC||Absorbed the southern Punggol divisions from Cheng San GRC, and Lorong Halus area/Paya Lebar Air Base from Pasir Ris GRC|
Kampong Kembangan division was split into Aljunied-Kembangan and Kembangan-Punggol divisions (the latter absorbed with Punggol East from Cheng San GRC), while Punggol South division was renamed to Aljunied–Hougang
Carved out Changi-Simei division to East Coast GRC and Aljunied division to Marine Parade GRC
|Ang Mo Kio GRC||Ward upsized to six members|
Absorbed Cheng San and Jalan Kayu divisions from Cheng San GRC
Ang Mo Kio division was absorbed into Yio Chu Kang and Teck Ghee divisions
|Bishan–Toa Payoh GRC||No Change in Boundaries|
|East Coast GRC||Absorbed Changi-Simei division from Aljunied GRC|
Carved out Joo Chiat division into SMC
|Holland–Bukit Panjang GRC||New Constituency|
Formed with Ulu Pandan, Bukit Panjang and Buona Vista divisions from Bukit Timah GRC, Sembawang GRC and Tanjong Pagar GRC, respectively
Bukit Panjang divisions was split to include Cashew and Zhenghua divisions, while some of Zhenghua division was split from Tanglin division
|Hong Kah GRC||Absorbed Bukit Gombak SMC, and a portion of Chua Chu Kang SMC (to form Keat Hong division)|
Carved out Hong Kah East division to Jurong GRC
Hong Kah West was merged into Nanyang division
|Jalan Besar GRC||Ward upsized to five members|
Absorbed Kampong Glam SMC, Kreta Ayer and Kim Seng divisions (which would merge into Kreta Ayer–Kim Seng division) from Kreta Ayer–Tanglin GRC
Geylang West division was absorbed into Kolam Ayer and Jalan Besar divisions
|Jurong GRC||New Constituency|
Formed from a majority of Bukit Timah GRC (except for Bukit Timah division, which carved into SMC), and Hong Kah East division from Hong Kah GRC
Jurong division was split into Pioneer and Taman Jurong divisions, while Bukit Batok East division was formed from portions of Bukit Batok, Bukit Gombak & Bukit Timah divisions
|Marine Parade GRC||No Change in Boundaries|
|Pasir Ris–Punggol GRC||New Constituency|
Formed from Pasir Ris GRC (except for the Pasir Ris South division, which was absorbed into Tampines GRC) and northern Punggol divisions of Cheng San GRC (Punggol Central, North and South)
|Sembawang GRC||Carved out Nee Soon East division into SMC, and Bukit Panjang division into Holland–Bukit Panjang GRC|
Sembawang and Woodlands division were split to include Canberra and Admiralty divisions respectively
|Tampines GRC||Ward upsized to five members|
Absorbed Pasir Ris South division from Pasir Ris GRC (renamed to Tampines North)
|Tanjong Pagar GRC||Absorbed Moulmein and Tanglin (renamed to Tanglin-Cairnhill) divisions from Kreta Ayer–Tanglin GRC|
Carved out Buona Vista division to Holland–Bukit Panjang GRC
Leng Kee division was absorbed into Queenstown, Radin Mas and Tanglin-Cairnhill divisions
|West Coast GRC||Ward upsized to five members|
Absorbed Boon Lay SMC and some of Bukit Timah GRC (Jurong, Joo Koon, Gul Circle and Tuas)
Pasir Panjang division was dissolved into Telok Blangah and West Coast divisions
There were a total of 40 (25 PAP) candidates making their political debut in the 2001 election. Among the new faces were Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Halimah Yacob who would later become future Senior Minister and President of Singapore, respectively. 24 incumbent MPs retired prior to the announcements. 15 candidates outside PAP were also new, among which new faces include Chee Siok Chin, sister of the SDP's leader Chee Soon Juan, as well as Desmond Lim, who would later lead the newly-formed SDA in future years, and a future Perennial candidate Ooi Boon Ewe.
|New PAP candidates||Outgoing MPs||New opposition candidates|
PAP won a landslide victory and its best result since 1980. The party achieved its third highest score among the general elections it has contested since 1959. The PAP's vote percentage of 75.3% signalled an overwhelming endorsement of the PAP to lead the nation out of the crisis that came at a time of great uncertainty over world security and the recession that came after the September 11 attacks.
|People's Action Party||470,765||75.29||82||+1|
|Singapore Democratic Alliance||75,248||12.03||1||0|
|Singapore Democratic Party||50,607||8.09||0||0|
|Democratic Progressive Party||5,334||0.85||0||0|
|Source: Singapore Elections[a]|
- 1,361,617 of the 2,036,923 voters were registered in uncontested constituencies
- Elected as NCMP on 5 November 2001.
- "Hsien Loong: Election soon". (8 November 2005). New Straits Times, p. 31.