Marine Parade by-election, 1992

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A by-election for the Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency in Singapore was held on 19 December 1992. The by-election was called after the resignation of all four MPs of the GRC from their seats, including then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. The nomination day was held on 9 December 1992.

Background and historical significance[edit]

This was the first and only by-election in a Group Representation Constituency. The reasons for the then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong to hold this by-election was due to several reasons:

• He hoped and probably felt the need to secure another fresh, stronger mandate after the 1991 general election that oversaw the unprecedented loss of three Single Member Constituencies (namely Hougang, Nee Soon Central, Bukit Gombak) on top of Potong Pasir, which the People's Action Party had failed to recover ever since it was lost in the 1984 general election.

• Through the by election, Teo Chee Hean, Singapore's current Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, was introduced as new blood to the team, while Lim Chee Onn decided to retire.

• He wanted to keep his promise of allowing WP's chief J. B. Jeyaretnam to contest an election upon the latter's ten-year ban ending just after the 1991 GE. Jeyaretnam had also accused the PAP of calling a snap election because it was afraid of him.

Despite how many had expected the return of J. B. Jeyaretnam, he did not take part in the election due to multiple cornered fights within the opposition camp. This was a speculated reason for one of WP's candidate's decision to back out at the very last minute. It was also widely thought that one of the WP's candidates had lost his way to the nomination centre. Also contesting in the by election was the Singapore Democratic Party, who introduced their "trump card", Chee Soon Juan (now Secretary-General of the SDP), in his debut into politics. The Singapore Justice Party had also sent their teams with two of them participating once again in the same GRC like they did in 1991. NSP entered into the fray too, and with the opposition's disunity, Goh's team had a strong mandate despite the results dipping slightly lower compared to the 1991 general election.

Election deposit[edit]

The election deposit was set at $6000 per candidate. 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.

Results[edit]

By-election 1992: Marine Parade GRC
Party Candidate Votes % ±
PAP Goh Chok Tong
Othman bin Haron Eusofe
Teo Chee Hean
Matthias Yeo
48,965 72.9 -4.3
SDP Chee Soon Juan
Low Yong Nguan
Mohamed Shariff bin Yahya
Ashleigh Seow
16,447 24.5 +24.5
NSP Ken Sen
Tan Chee Kian
Sarry bin Hassan
Yong Choon Poh
950 1.4 +1.4
SJP Theng Chin Eng
Yen Kim Khooi
Suib bin Abdul Rahman
Lim Teong Howe
764 1.1 -21.7
Majority 30,804 45.9 -8.5
Turnout 68,436 92.5 -1.1
PAP hold Swing -4.3

Aftermath[edit]

It was considered disastrous for the opposition camp, within which there was a clear disunity. It was also another watershed for them since the 1966 by-elections when the Barisan Sosialis resigned en-masse from Parliament. The National Solidarity Party and Singapore Justice Party had their election deposits forfeited.

Chee Soon Juan then took up the leadership of the Singapore Democratic Party under controversial circumstances and both Chee and Chiam fell out within a year. Chee and his party subsequently lost both its newly acquired seats in 1997, namely Nee Soon Central SMC and Bukit Gombak SMC. Chiam had by then formed Singapore People's Party in 1996, under whose banner he contested and retained his Potong Pasir seat.

For the People's Action Party, it was a victory as Goh obtained a strong mandate within his constituency. The votes to PAP had risen during its next election by 4%, when the PAP won back the 2 SDP-held seats mentioned above. Marine Parade GRC has since enjoyed walkovers at subsequent general elections until almost 19 years later in 2011, which saw the most hotly contested election since the independence of Singapore.

References[edit]