1984 Singaporean general election

General elections were held in Singapore on 22 December 1984. The result was a victory for the People's Action Party, which won 77 of the 79 seats, marking the first time since 1963 that at least one opposition candidate was elected to parliament, although the first presence of opposition was in 1981. Excluding the 30 uncontested constituencies, the voter turnout was 95.6%, with 63.2% of the total electorate casting their votes.[1]

1984 Singaporean general election

← 1980 22 December 1984 1988 →

79 (Only 49 contested) seats to the Parliament of Singapore
40 seats needed for a majority
Turnout95.6%
  First party Second party Third party
  Lee Kuan Yew.jpg JoshuaBenjaminJeyaretnam-Singapore-20051107-cropped.jpg ChiamSeeTong-SDARally-20060502.jpg
Leader Lee Kuan Yew J.B. Jeyaretnam Chiam See Tong
Party PAP WP SDP
Leader's seat Tanjong Pagar Anson Potong Pasir
Last election 75 seats, 77.7% 0 seat, 6.2% 0 seat, 1.8%
Seats won 77 1 1
Seat change Increase2 Increase1 Increase1
Popular vote 568,310 110,939 32,102
Percentage 64.8% 12.7% 3.7%
Swing Decrease12.9% Increase6.5% Increase1.9%

Prime Minister before election

Lee Kuan Yew
PAP

Elected Prime Minister

Lee Kuan Yew
PAP

BackgroundEdit

In his 1983 National Day Rally speech, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew lamented that declining birth rates and large number of graduate women remaining single or not marrying their intellectual equal could see Singapore's talent pool shrink. The PAP government then proceeded to launch the "Graduate Mother Scheme" to entice graduate women with incentives to get married.

In March 1984, Health Minister Howe Yoon Chong released a controversial proposal to raise the age for the withdrawal of Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings from 55 to 60 years. At a news conference on 26 March 1984, Howe reasoned that Singaporeans could not depend only on their children in their old age. That suggestion, part of the 54-page report of the Committee on the Problems of the Aged[2] which he chaired, was eventually dropped. Taking up the suggestions in the report, the Singapore Government subsequently introduced the Minimum Sum scheme. This allows workers to withdraw some of their CPF funds at age 55, setting aside a certain minimum sum which can only be withdrawn at retirement age, currently at 62 years.[3][4]

The proposals sparked debate and uproar in the Singapore electorate and were said to have caused a big dip in PAP's support and its share of votes plunged by more than 10% to below 70%, the biggest fall and the lowest for PAP since the 1963 General Election.

Changes during the parliamentary term 1980-1984Edit

No by-election was held for the seat of Havelock, vacated in 1983 upon the death of Minister of Finance Hon Sui Sen, for the reason that the constituency will be redrawn and merged into Delta constituency.

Significant events in the 1984 electionEdit

PM Lee's son Lee Hsien Loong (who went on to become the nation's third (and current) Prime Minister) made his debut in the seat of Teck Ghee, while PAP stalwarts Dr Goh Keng Swee and Ong Pang Boon stepped down. In the only election among several preceding and succeeding ones, the election deposit ($1,500) remained unchanged. The Workers' Party of Singapore (WP) secretary-general J. B. Jeyaretnam successfully retained the Anson constituency with an increase of majority, while the Singapore Democratic Party made its first in-road into Parliament with the victory of Chiam See Tong, who would serve the Potong Pasir Single Member Constituency for the next 26 years until 2011. A new Non-Constituency Member of Parliament scheme was introduced whereby between three and six seats, the exact number which was decided by the President of Singapore, would be offered to unsuccessful opposition candidates with the best scores and who garner at least 15% of the votes if any one party wins all the seats, subtracting one NCMP seat for every one opposition MP elected. Opposition parties dismissed the scheme for misleading voters into thinking that they could have opposition MPs without voting for them. M.P.D. Nair of WP was the first to be offered but declined. The offer was then made to Singapore United Front's Tan Chee Kien, who also declined, and no further offers were made.

TimelineEdit

Tuesday 4 December Dissolution of the 5th Parliament
Wednesday 12 December Nomination Day. 130 candidates were nominated, PAP won 30 uncontested seats.
Saturday 22 December Polling day for 49 contested seats. PAP won all but 2 seats.
Monday 25 February 1985 First meeting of the 6th Parliament

Changes to ConstituenciesEdit

The newer constituencies are those with rapid developments of Ang Mo Kio, Tampines, Jurong East, Bedok & Jurong West (smaller developments), while other constituencies were dissolved, which was reflected in the table:

Constituency Changes
New Constituencies
Bo Wen Formed from Ang Mo Kio, Kebun Baru & Yio Chu Kang
Changkat Formed from Tampines & Kaki Bukit
Eunos Formed fromf Kaki Bukit & Tampines
Fengshan Formed from Bedok, Kampong Chai Chee & Tanah Merah
Hong Kah Formed from Boon Lay
Teck Ghee Formed from Ang Mo Kio & Chong Boon
Yuhua Formed from Boon Lay & Bukit Timah
Defunct Constituencies
Bukit Ho Swee Absorbed to Tiong Bahru and Kim Seng
Havelock Absorbed to Delta
Katong Absorbed to Joo Chiat and Mountbatten

New/Outgoing MPEdit

Outgoing MPs New MPs
Retiring
  • Abdul Rahim bin Ishak (Siglap)
  • Chan Chee Seng (Jalan Besar)
  • Chau Sik Ting (Thomson)
  • Chiang Hai Deng (Ulu Pandan)
  • Chor Yeok Eng (Bukit Timah)
  • Goh Keng Swee (Kreta Ayer)
  • Ho See Beng (Khe Bong)
  • Howe Yoon Chong (Potong Pasir)
  • Hwang Soo Jin (Jalan Kayu)
  • Joseph Francis (Katong)^
  • Lee Khoon Choy (Braddell Heights)
  • Michael Liew (Boon Teck)
  • Mohammad Kasim Abdul Jabbar (Radin Mas)
  • Mohammad Mansor bin Sukaimi (Kampong Kembangan)
  • P Selvadurai (Kuo Chuan)
  • Rohan Kamis (Telok Blangah)
  • Saidi bin Shariff (Kaki Bukit)
  • Seah Mui Kok (Bukit Ho Swee)^
  • Sia Kah Hui (Paya Lebar)

Deceased

  • Hon Sui Sen (Havelock)^
  • Abdullah Tarmugi
  • Aline Wong
  • Arthur Beng
  • Chiam See Tong
  • Dixie Tan
  • Goh Choon Kang
  • Heng Chiang Meng
  • Ho Tat Kin
  • Koh Lam Son
  • Lee Boon Yang
  • Lee Hsien Loong
  • Leong Horn Kee
  • Philip Tan
  • S Vasoo
  • Tang Guan Seng
  • Wang Kai Yuen
  • Wong Kan Seng
  • Yatiman Yusof
  • Yeo Cheow Tong
  • Yu-Foo Yee Shoon
  • Zulkifi Mohammad

^Note : A caret indicates that the constituency was removed and absorbed to other wards.

ResultsEdit

Party Votes % Seats +/–
People's Action Party 568,310 64.8 77 +2
Workers' Party 110,939 12.7 1 +1
Singapore United Front 87,197 9.9 0 0
Singapore Democratic Party 32,102 3.7 1 +1
United People's Front 27,217 3.1 0 0
Barisan Sosialis 24,212 2.8 0 0
Singapore Justice Party 10,906 1.2 0 0
Singapore Malay National Organisation 4,768 0.5 0 0
Angkatan Islam 359 0.0 0 New
Independents 10,586 1.2 0 New
Invalid/blank votes 26,384
Total 909,980 100 79 +4
Registered voters/turnout 944,624 63.2
Source: Nohlen et al.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen; Florian Grotz; Christof Hartmann (15 November 2001). Elections in Asia and the Pacific : A Data Handbook: Volume II: South East Asia, East Asia, and the South Pacific. OUP Oxford. p. 255. ISBN 978-0-19-924959-6.
  2. ^ Committee on the Problems of the Aged (1984). Problems of the Aged : Report of the Committee on the Problems of the Aged. Singapore: Ministry of Health. ISBN 9971-88-022-9.
  3. ^ "Former Cabinet Minister Howe Yoon Chong dies at age 84". Channel NewsAsia. 21 August 2007. Retrieved 21 August 2007.
  4. ^ "Late Howe Yoon Chong cared deeply for country's development: PM Lee". Channel NewsAsia. 22 August 2007. Retrieved 23 August 2007.