David Ong admits to 'personal indiscretion', asks for privacy after resigning as Bukit Batok MP
SINGAPORE — Bukit Batok Member of Parliament (MP) David Ong has announced his resignation citing "personal reasons", according to a press statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Saturday (March 12).
In a statement later on Saturday, Mr Ong said that there was "personal indiscretion" on his part.
"I feel that it’s the right thing to do to step down for the best interests of the party, my constituents and family," said Mr Ong. "There is personal indiscretion on my part which I deeply regret. I would appreciate if you can give me and my family the privacy to heal and rebuild."
A by-election will be held in Bukit Batok SMC in due course, said PM Lee Hsien Loong, who is also the Secretary-General of the People's Action Party (PAP).
In the meantime, Mr Desmond Lee, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development and MP for Jurong GRC, will take care of Bukit Batok residents, added PM Lee.
Said PM Lee in the statement: "I believe your decision to resign is in the best interest of your constituents, the Party, your family and yourself."
FIRST PRIORITY TO MAKE SURE BUKIT BATOK IN GOOD HANDS: THARMAN
At an event on Saturday, Deputy Prime Minster Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who is also a Jurong GRC MP, said that the decision was "totally unexpected".
"Mr David Ong has apologised but I want to say to Bukit Batok residents on behalf of the party that we are deeply sorry this had happened," said Mr Tharman. "It's totally unexpected but it has happened. Our first priority is to make sure that Bukit Batok SMC is in good hands until the by-election."
"Our priority now is to ensure that the residents of Bukit Batok continue to be very well taken care of," added Mr Desmond Lee, who was at the same event. "I’m already in very close touch with community leaders and volunteers, and I’m in the process of taking over the duties and responsibilities of the MP for Bukit Batok, such as conducting meet the people sessions, conducting house visits."
"My Parliamentary colleagues in Jurong GRC will when necessary, provide all the support to ensure the residents' interests come first," added Mr Desmond Lee.
Jurong GRC MP Mr Ang Wei Neng will take over as Jurong Town Council chairman, added Mr Tharman.
At the 2015 General Election, Mr Ong won Bukit Batok SMC with 73.02 per cent of the vote, beating out Singapore Democratic Party candidate (SDP) Sadasivam Veriyah, who got 26.4 per cent of the vote, and independent candidate Samir Salim Neji, who received 0.6 per cent of the vote.
Bukit Batok was carved out as an SMC for the 2015 General Election. Previously, it was merged with Bukit Timah GRC.
OPPOSITION PARTIES RESPOND
The SDP said they will contest the by-election when it occurs.
"Following the announcement of the resignation of David Ong from his post as MP for Bukit Batok and from the PAP today, the SDP looks forward to contesting the by-election that will be called in the constituency," said SDP Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan in a statement.
"We will continue to push for the alternative policies that we advocated during the last GE and we look forward to be the people's voice in Parliament," he added.
Additionally, the opposition People's Power Party's (PPP) Goh Meng Seng said that he will first discuss with the SDP if the PPP will run for Bukit Batok SMC when the by-election takes place. "We respect SDP's decision first before we make any decision," said Mr Goh, noting that Bukit Batok is next to Chua Chu Kang GRC, which PPP contested in 2015.
The Singapore Democratic Alliance's Desmond Lim said the party has "no comment" as to whether it will contest.
"As it is stated as personal reasons, we have no access to the real reasons, thus have no comment whether SDA will contest or not," said Mr Lim. "We need to call for a CEC meeting to discuss among the members before we are able to make an announcement."
Meanwhile, the National Solidarity Party said that they are "considering the issue", and Reform Party's Kenneth Jeyaretnam said that the Party's Central Executive Committee will meet and decide "in due course".
National Solidarity Party Secretary-General Lim Tean that the Party was "studying the situation carefully and will make an announcement in due course as to whether we will be contesting the by-election".
MR ONG 'WORKED HARD TO STRENGTHEN BUKIT BATOK'
PM Lee said that as an MP, Mr Ong "worked hard to strengthen the Bukit Batok community, building up a team of volunteers and community partners to help residents in need".
“The programs you introduced are making a difference: Helping needy families with monthly groceries, ensuring they get holistic assistance including jobs and healthcare support, and enabling a fresh start for individuals who have had repeated problems,” added PM Lee.
PM Lee also said that Mr Ong spoke up for the elderly regularly on issues such as the retirement age, CPF, MediShield coverage, and the use of MediSave for Specialist Outpatient Clinic treatments. CHANNEL NEWSASIA