Singaporean by-elections, 1979

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The by-election was held on 10 February 1979 while the nomination day was held on 31 January 1979.


Similar to 1970 by election, as part of the People's Action Party continuous initiative to renew its ranks, the PAP had invited six instead of five veteran PAP Ministers and Members of Parliament (MPs) to resign. Also, with the demise of Anson's MP P. Govindaswamy, the 1979 by-election is regarded as the biggest-ever by-election in Singapore's history where there are seven seats namely Anson, Geylang West, Mountbatten, Nee Soon, Potong Pasir, Sembawang and Telok Blangah up for grabs. This by election also sees Chiam See Tong made his debut on Potong Pasir who will be the MP for that area on his third attempt in 1984 General elections with his second attempt made on the next year's general election.

Since this is the biggest ever by election in Singapore's history, therefore key opposition stalwarts emerged to contest with the exception of Barisan Sosialis which was then criticised by United People's Front (Singapore) and left the only two constituencies out of seven, namely Nee Soon and Geylang West to be uncontested.

Election deposit[edit]

The election deposit was set at $1200. Similar to previous elections, the election deposit will be forfeited if the particular candidate had failed to secure at least 12.5% or one-eighth of the votes.


By-election 1979: Anson
Party Candidate Votes % ±
PAP Chengara Veetil Devan Nair 8,127 86.2 N/A
UF Johnny Wee Lai Seng 1,300 13.8 N/A
Majority 6,827 72.4 N/A
Turnout 9,694 86.2 N/A
PAP hold Swing N/A
By-election 1979: Geylang West
Party Candidate Votes % ±
PAP Teh Cheang Wan Walkover
Turnout 20,874
PAP hold Swing N/A
By-election 1979: Mountbatten
Party Candidate Votes % ±
PAP Eugene Yap Giau Cheng 10,528 79.9 +14.0
UF Seow Khee Leng 2,642 20.1 -14.0
Majority 7,886 59.8 +28
Turnout 13,536 94.9 -0.4
PAP hold Swing +14.0
By-election 1979: Nee Soon
Party Candidate Votes % ±
PAP Koh Lip Lin Walkover
Turnout 15,932
PAP hold Swing N/A
By-election 1979: Potong Pasir
Party Candidate Votes % ±
PAP Howe Yoon Chong 9,056 66.8 -8.0
Independent Chiam See Tong 4,491 33.2 +33.2
Majority 4,565 33.6 -16
Turnout 13,854 94.2 +0.6
PAP hold Swing -8.0
By-election 1979: Sembawang
Party Candidate Votes % ±
PAP Tony Tan Keng Yam 12,824 78.4 -5.2
United People's Front Harbans Singh 3,528 21.6 +5.2
Majority 9,296 56.8 -10.4
Turnout 16,714 94.6 -0.2
PAP hold Swing -5.2
By-election 1979: Telok Blangah
Party Candidate Votes % ±
PAP Rohan bin Kamis 12,687 61.2 N/A
WP Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam 8,036 38.8 N/A
Majority 4,651 22.4 N/A
Turnout 21,089 95.0 N/A
PAP hold Swing N/A