Another unexpected by-election since last year was called after PAP legislator and Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer resigned from all posts and his party for personal indiscretions with a staff of the People's Association, thereby vacating his single-seat ward.

On 12 December 2012, Palmer convened a press conference alongside Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean to apologise on the matter. This made him the shortest-serving Speaker since independence.

The same day, the main opposition WP declared that it will contest should a by-election be held, as it has done so in the ward in 2011, to offer constituents there a choice again. SPP endorsed WP's bid. NSP declared it would stay away. RP, SDA, SDP and several individuals expressed interest including a former SPP candidate who joined and revived DPP.

Within less than a month, the writ was issued, which caught many by surprise. PM Lee Hsien Loong explained that it was to allow constituents to elect a new Member of Parliament before returning to the busy government schedule ahead. This would be the first time since 1979 that more than one by-election was held between a Parliament term.

Some opposition parties made overtures to WP to withdraw or work together, including SDP who offered to let it run the town council if they won. However, these gestures were turned down. By the close of nominations, four parties were officially in the race, with PAP fielding the only fresh face and WP, the sole woman and youngest contender.

As expected by analysts, the fight was between PAP and WP although both RP and SDA sent in their top man. Campaign barbs were noticeably milder compared to the past, as the main parties portrayed a gentle image to win over the middle ground. Local issues included the stalled upgrading works of Rivervale Plaza, while WP raised the plight of young families and PAP's town council software transaction as key national issues.

The final results revealed a further disenchantment with the ruling party, as WP captured yet another seat from PAP's hands with Lee Li Lian defeating Dr Koh Poh Koon with more than a 10% swing. The two opposition secretary-generals lost their deposits, with Desmond Lim of SDA obtaining the lowest vote share since independence.

 
Writ of election:
  9 January 2013, Wednesday
Nomination day:
  16 January 2013, Wednesday
Cooling-off day:
  25 January 2013, Friday
Polling day:
  26 January 2013, Saturday
Overseas vote-counting:
  30 January 2013, Wednesday
Member swearing-in:
  4 February 2013, Monday

Eligible voters:
  31,649 [OV: 59]
Voter turnout:
  29,859 [OV: 27] (94.3%)
Election deposit:
  $14,500 (+$1,000)

PUNGGOL EAST SMC
People's Action Party 12,875 (43.7%)
[OV: 19]
Workers' Party 16,045 (54.5%)
[OV: 7]
KOH Poh Koon
40  |  M  |  Colorectal surgeon
LEE Li Lian
34  |  F  |  Sales trainer
Reform Party 353 (1.2%)
[OV: 0]
Forfeited $14,500 deposit
Singapore Democratic Alliance 168 (0.6%)
[OV: 0]
Forfeited $14,500 deposit
Kenneth Andrew JEYARETNAM
53  |  M  |  Activist
Desmond LIM Bak Chuan
45  |  M  |  Principal engineer
Workers' Party wins by margin of 3,170 (10.8%)
Valid votes: 29,441 (98.6%)
[OV: 26]
Rejected votes: 418 (1.4%)
[OV: 1]
Previous election > GE 2011 > People's Action Party won 54.5% > Swing -10.8%

SEATS
Party Current MPs Candidates Won New MPs
People's Action Party 80 1 0 80
Workers' Party 6 1 1 7
Singapore Democratic Alliance 0 1 0 0
Reform Party 0 1 0 0
Previous seats > GE 2011 & BE 2012
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