The straight fight between the Singapore Democratic Party and the People's Action Party in the Bukit Batok by-election looked nowhere threatened after a member of the public Shirwin Eu showed up at the nomination centre in the hopes that he is allowed to contest as an independent candidate based on goodwill.
Eu was subsequently disqualified. (Or rather, he wasn't even qualified.)
This was after he did not have the paper work done, no assentors and no election deposit money to run in a contest where he appeared to not even have any supporters.
The 32-year-old Uber driver had previously planned to contest Bukit Panjang SMC as an independent candidate during the General Election 2015 in September last year.
He did not manage to run then as he did not have assentors.
Mothership.sg caught up with Eu after his failed by-election bid and asked him: That did not just really happen, right?
Mothership.sg: So tell us what went on, what happened?
"This time round is a bit different. I didn't even have a chance to sit down to have a chat with the elections officials.
So on the onset that I didn't have the paper documents and assentors and the deposit required. So, of course, I went in with the hope the supporters, be it the incumbent and the opposition, are willing to give me a chance for this consideration since this is a rule which the majority has accepted.
However, being an individual, I actually oppose such a restriction because then what about the beggar, what about the poor man, what about the cleaner, road sweepers, cardboard pickers on the street? How are they able to come up with such a money? How are they able to afford time to lobby before the campaign period to solicit supporters and who are willing to come forward during a working day in the morning, sacrificing their bread and butter?
So, precisely this point, I think, the rule of this game should be abolished, if sincerely we want a true democratic society that individuals are able to express themselves and leave the mandate to really the electorate, who again are not marginalised. Because let's say they are not able to, they didn't vote for the last election, this round is automatically cancelled. So there are a lot of such rules in place that is not creating a level playing field."
Full video here:
[video width="760" height="428" mp4="https://cdn.mothership.sg/1/2016/04/shirwin-eu-bukit-batok.mp4"][/video]
When he arrived at the nomination centre, Eu was asked by other reporters why did he want to run again.
— Channel NewsAsia (@ChannelNewsAsia) April 27, 2016
Reporter: Maybe you can tell us why you want to take part in this election?
Eu: "I like to be elected. I like to, eh, enjoy the fame and wealth of this job prospect.
Reporter: What can you do for the residents here?
Eu: "Erm, for the residents of Bukit Batok, I'm not sure what they really want. At this juncture, I do not know what I can offer. It depends on demand and supply."
Update, April 27, 1pm: The Elections Department has issued a statement to the media regarding Shirwin Eu's and another person's bid to be nominated as candidates for the Bukit Batok by-election.
This is the statement in full [Note that ELD got Shirwin Eu's name wrong]:
Mr Sherwin Eu and Mr Kwan Yue Keng were at the Nomination Centre. Election officials explained to them the requirements and procedure under the law for nomination as an election candidate. Both individuals left after hearing the explanation without filing any nomination papers.
Nomination proceedings are to ensure that only candidates who meet the legal eligibility and procedural requirements under the law stand for election. To be nominated as a candidate, the Parliamentary Elections Act states that, amongst other requirements, the candidate needs to duly fill up his nomination paper and be accompanied by his Proposer, Seconder and at least 4 Assentors whose names must appear in the current register of electors for the constituency when filing his papers between 11am and 12pm on Nomination Day. Candidates must also pay the election deposit before 12pm on Nomination Day.
Top photo by Lim Weixiang