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 four 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 Minister for Home Affairs as well as Deputy Prime Minister, 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 corner 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 on the way to the nomination centre. Also contesting in the by election was leader of Singapore Democratic Party, Chiam See Tong, who introduced their "trump card", Chee Soon Juan. He is now Secretary-General of the SDP. It was Chee's first debut then. 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.


By-election 1992: Marine Parade GRC
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
PAP Goh Chok Tong
Matthias Yao Chih
Othman bin Haron Eusofe
Teo Chee Hean
48,965 72.9 -4.3
SDP Ashleigh Seow Chuan Hock
Low Yong Nguan
Mohamed Shariff bin Yahya
Chee Soon Juan
16,447 24.5 +24.5
NSP Tan Chee Kien
Ken Sun
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 of this By-Election[edit]

It was considered disastrous for the opposition camp and was another watershed for the opposition since 1966 when the Barisan Sosialis chose to resign from Parliament in that top of the 2 opposition parties, namely the National Solidarity Party and Singapore Justice Party, had their election deposits forfeited. It showed a disunity within the opposition. 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. Singapore Democratic Party subsequently lost 2 of the newly acquired seats in 1997, namely Nee Soon Central SMC and Bukit Gombak SMC. Chiam See Tong had by then formed Singapore People's Party in 1996, contested under that party's banner and retained his Potong Pasir seat. Marine Parade GRC has since 1992 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.

For the People's Action Party, it was a victory as Goh obtained a strong mandate within his constituency and the votes to PAP had risen on its next election by 4% and winning back 2 of the seats.