January - Politics: By-election defeat leads call to transform

The year started with defeat for the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) in Punggol East Single Member Constituency (SMC) on January 26, and ended with a resolution at party's convention calling to “transform the PAP”. In between, there was also the discovery of empty ballot boxes used in 2011 Presidential Elections.

 All nine Workers' Party members of Parliament, Courtesy: Workers' Party

All nine Workers' Party members of Parliament, Courtesy: Workers' Party

Punggol East by-election

Michael Palmer, the former speaker of Parliament, resigned from his Punggol East SMC seat, for having an extramarital affair. PAP unveiled a colorectal surgeon, Dr Koh Poh Koon, as its candidate, who was defeated by opposition Workers' Party candidate Lee Li Lian with a 13.5% voter swing in her favour. This was PAP third electoral set-back after loosing Aljunied Group Representation Constituency in 2011 general elections, and Hougang SMC by-election in 2012. 

 PAP's Convention 2013, Courtesy: People's Action Party  

PAP's Convention 2013, Courtesy: People's Action Party  

PAP's Convention

It prompted the ruling PAP to adopt an eight-point resolution, a first since 1988, at the party's convention on December 8. The resolution included the realisation of the need to “transform the PAP” and keep the party “fresh, enthusiastic and relevant”. The party also emphasised on the need to develop a Singaporean model of social welfare, “a Singaporean Singapore”, and “a democracy of deeds”.  

Empty ballot boxes

The year also witnesses a controversy when few empty ballot boxes used during the 2011 Presidential Election in the electoral division of Bishan-Toa Payoh were found in August in a secondary school. Chan Chun Sing, minister for social and family development, later assured the Parliament that discovery of boxes “does not constitute a lapse in the election procedures”.