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India-born Singaporean politician calls it quits

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Singapore: An Indian-born Singaporean member of parliament has decided against contesting the upcoming general elections, the media reported on Saturday.

picture from- newnation.sg
picture from- newnation.sg

Following the release of the Electoral Boundary Review Committee’s report on Friday, Inderjit Singh posted on Facebook that he would be stepping down.

He thanked the people of Kebun Baru area in central Singapore for their consistent support.

“I did my best to serve them and this would not have been possible without my team, the grassroots leaders and branch activists at Kebun Baru who have become my extended family,” Channel News Asia cited Singh as saying.

“I urge the residents at Kebun Baru to continue supporting the team which will be helmed by my successor. To Kebun Baru, Ang Mo Kio and everyone there, you will always be in my heart,” the 55-year-old veteran wrote on Facebook.

Singh, along with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, served the Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency (GRC) since 1996.

Born in Punjab, Singh attended Kaki Bukit Primary School in Singapore and earned Bachelor’s of Engineering (Electrical and Electronics) degree from Nanyang Technological University in 1985.

During this period, Singh became the first chairperson of the students’ union council.

He became an active grassroots leader in 1984 and a member of Parliament for the Kebun Baru ward in the 1996 general elections under the governing People’s Action Party banner.

From 1985, Singh worked as an engineer for 13 years. After the stint, Singh began a career in entrepreneurship. Later, he founded the United Test and Assembly Center (UTAC), a semiconductor firm, in 1998.

(IANS)

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Sri Lanka Forms Its Cabinet But Crisis Still Persists

Sirisena was health minister in Rajapaksa’s Cabinet when he defected and joined Wickremesinghe to challenge Rajapaksa in the 2015 presidential election.

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Sri Lanka, cabinet
Ranil Wickremesinghe, ousted as prime minister in October, takes his oath for the same post before Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena during his swearing-in ceremony in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Dec. 16, 2018. VOA

Sri Lanka’s president Thursday appointed 28 lawmakers and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as Cabinet ministers after weeks of political crisis led to government dysfunction.

President Maithripala Sirisena administered oaths in a private event. Wickremesinghe’s reinstatement as prime minister earlier this week and the appointment of a new Cabinet will result in Sri Lanka’s government resuming functions that have been obstructed since October, but continued acrimony between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe means the crisis is far from over.

Notably, Sirisena has not appointed a law and order minister, a crucial post for investigating corruption and crime allegations against former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, his family and government members. Wickremesinghe promised such investigations before the 2015 elections.

 

Sri lanka, cabinet
Sri Lanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, front left, is sworn in as prime minister before President Maithripala Sirisena in Colombo, Sri Lanka. VOA

Sirisena sparked the crisis in October when he suddenly sacked Wickremesinghe and appointed former President Rajapaksa in his place.

 

Wickremesinghe insisted he was sacked illegally and hunkered down in the prime minister’s official residence in Colombo, while Rajapaksa failed to secure majority support in Parliament in two chaotic no-confidence votes.

Sirisena dissolved Parliament and called for elections. The Supreme Court first suspended the move and later declared the dissolution unconstitutional.

Separately, the Court of Appeal ordered Rajapaksa and his Cabinet to cease functioning. As a result, the newly restored government in Sri Lanka has only 11 days left to pass a budget to provision state money in 2019.

 

sri lanka, cabinet
Sri Lanka’s ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe reacts during a news conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka, VOA

 

After reappointing Wickremesinghe, Sirisena made a speech saying he doubted that the new arrangement would last long. Sri Lankans are not scheduled to go to the national polls again until 2020, but if the government fails to function, Parliament can pass a resolution with a two-thirds vote for snap elections.

Also Read: Lawmakers in Sri Lanka Defect From President to Prime Minister

Sirisena was health minister in Rajapaksa’s Cabinet when he defected and joined Wickremesinghe to challenge Rajapaksa in the 2015 presidential election. After victory he formed a government with Wickremesinghe as prime minister, but the two disagreed on everything from economic reform to investigating alleged government abuses during Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war. (VOA)