[Singapore Elections introduces this new design for elections starting from 2001. Due to time constraints, revamp will not be extended to previous elections.]
The ruling PAP was facing one of the toughest hurdles in history just as Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong went into the GE as the PM for the final time. Singapore faced the worst economic crisis since independence due to the September 11 terrorist attacks, also known as "9-11", in the United States.
For the first time in 38 years, a formal political umbrella emerged from the opposition. The four-party SDA was established with Chiam See Tong as its chief and comprised of the SPP he led, which would be the anchor party of SDA, along with NSP, PKMS and JPS.
Former WP Non-Constituency Member of Parliament J. B. Jeyaretnam, who lost his seat three months before the GE after becoming a bankrupt from failing to pay defamation damages, resigned from the party, citing disagreements with the present leadership. The sole WP MP, Low Thia Khiang, took over as secretary-general and became WP's third-generation face.
Parliament was dissolved a day before the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee released its report on 17 October 2001, which wiped four-member GRCs temporarily off the map until 2011. Opposition leaders were annoyed with having only a few days of preparation in lieu of the new demarcations. PM Goh defended his decision, stating that the circumstances were unique and holding the GE before the economic crisis turned worse was the better option. As a result of the snap polls, the eight Nominated Members of Parliament sworn in on 1 October 2001, instead of the usual nine, served only 17 days. However, six were serving their second or third term while the two new NMPs were re-appointed after the GE.
A seat had been vacated in 1999 after the conviction of PAP 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, be it GRC or SMC, has to be vacated before a by-election is required. Another increase of the election deposit amount this time was the most significant jump in history, which almost doubled.
On nomination day, the sole WP GRC team for Aljunied GRC, consisting of Dr Tan Bin Seng, Abdul Rahim Abdul Rahman, Huang Seow Kwang, James Gomez and Yaw Shin Leong, was disqualified for filing incomplete papers. DPP's father-son team made their return. Opposition parties ended up contesting only one-third of available seats, the lowest proportion of seats cumulating into the largest number of walkover victories for PAP since the 1968 GE.
SDP fielded the youngest candidate, Bryan Lim, in the GE. During one of the campaign days, its chief Dr Chee Soon Juan crossed paths with PM Goh and used a loudhailer to question him on an alleged loan made by the Singapore government to Indonesian President Suharto. The following year, Dr Chee was sued by PM Goh and Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew for this defamatory remark that insinuated they had issued a loan improperly.
PAP achieved its third highest score among the general elections it has contested. WP's Low and SDA-SPP's Chiam retained their seats but saw their winning margins slashed from the previous GE. With these two opposition wins, one NCMP seat was available to Steve Chia of SDA-NSP, who became Singapore's youngest NCMP to date.
|9th Parliament dissolved:
18 October 2001, Thursday
25 October 2001, Thursday
3 November 2001, Saturday
|10th Parliament opening:
25 March 2002, Monday