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Lee Li Lian Elected as NCMP but Rejects Role Due to “Lack of Mandate” and Personal Commitments

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The Workers’ Party’s losing candidate for Punggol East SMC, Lee Li Lian, has turned down the position of Non-Constituency Member of Parliament.

She was elected to fill one of the 3 NCMP positions, together with the WP’s Dennis Tan (Fengshan SMC) and Leon Perera (East Coast GRC).

Ms Lee explained that she turned down the role because she felt she didn’t have the support of voters.

“Majority of the voters in Punggol East decided to not give me the mandate after 2.5 years, and we must respect this. The NCMP role is better suited for an aspiring MP who has no such experience and should take this up to show how he/ she can contribute in Parliament.”

In addition, Lee said that she couldn’t be a full-time NCMP, and didn’t want to bog down her future employer with leave demands.

She’s currently unemployed, after quitting her job in 2013 to become MP for Punggol-East SMC.

“It will not be fair to my future employer to take leave from work every month. During budget debates, for example, you need to be away from work for at least 2 weeks.”

Ms Lee also said that she would like to make way for other good and aspiring candidates from the WP, and spend more time with her family.

“I had my first child while being an MP, and while I do not have any regrets, I did miss out on key moments in her life as I walked the ground in Punggol East.”

The WP has elected Daniel Goh to replace Ms Lee.

The NCMP position is awarded to the best losing General Election candidates from the opposition.

According to the law, if an eligible NCMP decides not to take up the position, parliament may leave the seat vacant.

The seat is not automatically transferred to the next eligible opposition candidate.

Here is Ms Lee Li Lian’s explanation of why she rejected the NCMP position:

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me on and have shared your disappointment with this decision. I wish to explain my reasons:

1. Respecting the electoral process and the voters’ choice.
I’ve done my part in Parliament in the 2.5 years. Residents have seen the issues that I have raised in this period,and we have shared my parliamentary work as part of our door-to-door outreach during GE2015 to every household except Rivervale Crest (Condominium) which we have no access to.

Majority of the voters in Punggol East decided to not give me the mandate after 2.5 years, and we must respect this. The NCMP role is better suited for an aspiring MP who has no such experience and should take this up to show how he/ she can contribute in Parliament.

2. Being Fair
In 2013, after I was elected. I resigned from my job to become a full time MP. The reason for doing so was to be fair to both my residents and employer with my commitment of time. If I were to take on the NCMP role, the commitment in Parliament is quite similar to a full fledged MP.

However, unlike for an MP, it is not possible to be a full time NCMP. It will not be fair to my future employer to take leave from work every month. During budget debates, for example, you need to be away from work for at least 2 weeks.

3. WP has many good candidates.
Hopefully with my decision, Parliament can allow one more from East Coast GRC to be appointed as NCMP. This gives a chance to our other aspiring MPs to show the people what they can do in terms of speaking up for them.

In addition, I would like to spend some time now with my family, who has supported me throughout this journey but have also missed my presence in their lives. I had my first child while being an MP, and while I do not have any regrets, I did miss out on key moments in her life as I walked the ground in Punggol East.

Although I did not take up the seat, I will continue to contribute to society and to Singapore. I will continue to keep in touch with PE residents. I have made many friends there, including those that wept for me. I will also continue to support and make my contributions to the Workers’ Party.

I left Parliament with a heavy heart and the hazy weather reflects my feelings. It has been a fantastic 2.5 years.

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