PAP Member of Parliament C. V. Devan Nair was appointed the third President of Singapore on 23 October 1981, vacating the Anson seat for a by-election for the third time in the constituency's history. WP leader J. B. Jeyaretnam and SDP leaders including Chiam See Tong turned up at the nomination centre. SDP decided not to contest the seat after a discussion with Jeyaretnam but UPF leader Harbans Singh proceeded to throw his hat into the ring. In the end, Jeyaretnam won. His victory marked the end of PAP's 15-year monopoly since Barisan's boycott of Parliament in 1966 and WP's return to the legislature after 20 years since 1961, in the very same seat David Marshall, then WP chairman, clinched. This also saw the largest vote swing away from PAP in Singapore's post-independence history.

Writ of election: 14 October 1981 [Wed]
Nomination day: 21 October 1981 [Wed]
Polling day: 31 October 1981 [Sat]
Member swearing-in: 22 December 1981 [Tue]

Eligible voters: 14,512
Voter turnout: 13,746 (94.7%)

Election deposit: $1,500


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