We Asked Marsiling About the By-election. Here’s What They Said.
Image credit: SDP

Marsiling Yew-Tee GRC has been missing a minority-race MP since MP Halimah Yacob became President. However, no by-election was called to replace her vacant seat. In her absence, the position has been filled by grassroots adviser Mr. Zaqy Mohamad.

The SDP has filed a lawsuit to challenge this decision, but Deputy Attorney-General Nair has defended the government’s decision, saying that the GRC was designed to ensure minority representation ‘at the point of elections.’

While the high court mulls over this case, we went to Marsiling Yew-Tee and asked its residents how they felt about the whole thing. Most people ignored us, but here’s what the rest said.

Dajit, 56

Do you know about the by-election lawsuit?

No, what is that?

Has there been any difference since MP Halimah Yacob left?

No, life is still the same. The grass around here is still not cut. Don’t get me wrong, I like Halimah Yacob because I think she is a very humble lady. The day after she was elected to MP, she came down and spoke to everyone. When my house had a damp problem, she visited me and listened but nothing could be done. But I think that is the contractor’s problem. There is a Mr. Zaqy, but we have not met him.

Do you think there should be a by-election?

Yes, why not? They (the other MPs) cannot understand (Malay, Tamil, or Hindi). Malays and Indians should have someone to speak to. Even if there is a translator, it is not the same. Talking to someone is not the same as having someone who listens to you.

Madam Aida, 50s

Do you know about the by-election lawsuit?

No, I dunno.

Has there been any difference since MP Halimah Yacob left?

No, everything still the same.

Do you think there should be a by-election?

I have no idea. It depends on the individual. No comment. Sorry.

Zainab, 50

Did you know about the by-election lawsuit?

No, I didn’t know.

Do you think there should be a by-election?

Yes, there should be a by-election. It’s no problem for the younger generation because they Chinese or Malay, there is no language barrier. However, the older generation will not be able to communicate.


Do you know about the by-election lawsuit?

I don’t want to get involved in this kind of thing. I don’t want to know.

Sanjit Singh, 54

Do you know about the by-election lawsuit?


Do you think there should be a by-election?

No, what’s the point? We have no say anyway. Senior management will always tell you ‘see me if there’s a problem’, but it is all empty words. Last time I had an issue, the MP promised they would get someone to call me but in the end, nobody called me. There’s no point, it’s better to mind your own business. It’s not that I don’t have problems, but I can settle them myself. I used to work in the government sector and I know it’s all bullshit.

I think MPs can’t solve my problems because it’s not the correct department. Maybe if Finance Minister Tharman is MP, then something can be done. Life was much better in the 70s and 80s when LKY was in power and Singapore felt like Singapore.

Sanjay, 25, full-time student & Pravin, 25, Engineer

Do you know about the by-election lawsuit?

Sorry, what is that?

Do you think there should be a by-election?

Not sure how to say this, but there is no point in having a minority candidate for the sake of it. But sure, why not, let’s give it a shot.

Do you think that your interests can be represented by a non-minority candidate?

Not really lah, but I’ve gotten over it. It’s not that I don’t care, but there’s nothing we can really do. I think that a lot of Singaporeans feel this way and they are looking to move overseas anyway. I’m thinking about moving to UK or Australia, because America is too dangerous right now.

Other thoughts from residents:

Mdm. Nora, 36

How are things currently without Madam Halimah Yacob as your MP?

Overall it’s okay. Madam Halimah looked after the senior residents very well when she was our MP. I heard from my grandmother’s senior friends that Mr. Zaqy Mohamad (advisor to Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC) is capable but not as good as Madam Halimah.

Do you think a by-election is important?

I think it is important for Mr. Zaqy to be officially presenting the Malay interests as an MP. I want a by-election so that I can vote him into parliament. Right now, it’s a bit hard for him to do some things in his current position.

Mdm. Nur, late 20s

Does the lack of an official MP representing your interests in your ward concern you?

I just moved to Marsiling from Admiralty this month, so the difference in not having an MP is quite stark. Without an official MP, it can be a bit confusing because I don’t know who I should turn to for help. Previously at Admiralty, it was easy to look for my MP Mr. Amrin Amin for any help, but I haven’t really seen Mr. Zaqy around at house visits and Meet-the-People sessions. The people at the MPS keep changing, so it can be problematic for us.

Do you think a by-election is necessary?

I think that voting Mr. Zaqy into parliament can allow him to do more for us. For example, some of the HDB blocks are not clean now, I think Mr. Zaqy as an MP can enforce cleanliness.

Do you need a Malay MP to represent your interests as a Malay resident?

There’s no real need for a Malay MP to represent our interests, as long as the MP is sincere about listening to and helping us.

Have something to say about this story? Write to us at community@ricemedia.co. 

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