The resignation of PAP Member of Parliament David Ong from his seat on 12 March 2016 over personal indiscretions with a married party activist came as a shock to PAP leaders. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong released the news of his resignation and assured that a by-election would be called in due course. Deputy PM Tharman Shanmugaratnam, anchor of the PAP team overseeing the town council that Ong was chairman of, apologised to voters.

This was the third in a string of similar cases within four years involving a sitting MP, after WP's Yaw Shin Leong and PAP's Michael Palmer, and the second for the governing PAP. Each case triggered a by-election as they were all MPs of single seats. Ong and the woman eventually resigned from PAP.

On the same day, SDP announced it would return to contest the constituency as it did in the previous year's GE six months ago, which saw a three-corner fight. The only Parliamentary opposition WP said it would not participate as it did not walk in the constituency's grounds. Other opposition parties did the same except SPP, which made no mention of its plan but reproved SDP for using an old photo of its chief and former SDP leader Chiam See Tong in a newsletter. Samir Salim Neji, the third candidate who ran as an independent in last year's battle, initially expressed interest to return but later followed suit.

SDP's candidate was its chief and opposition veteran Dr Chee Soon Juan. Having debuted in Marine Parade GRC in 1992, this would be his, and by extension SDP's, second by-election. DPM Tharman, who promised a familiar face, unveiled Murali Pillai, who was part of the PAP Aljunied GRC team defeated by WP in the GE. Son of a former political detainee, he was secretary of PAP's Bukit Batok branch under Ong and former MP Ong Chit Chung. Notably, Murali was the first ethnic Indian PAP candidate in a SMC since 1988 when GRCs emerged, while Dr Chee was the first ethnic Chinese to contest more than one by-election in history.

The writ was issued after the Committee of Supply debate on the year's Budget Statement ended. By the close of nominations, this narrowed down to a straight fight after former SDP candidate Kwan Yue Keng, who had two close fights in the ward in 1988 and 1991 and was sent by PPP as SDP's "spare candidate", did not file his papers. Another aspirant, private driver Shirwin Eu, failed to obtain assentors to contest as an independent, the same reason that saw him disqualified in Bukit Panjang last year.

The campaign began localised, with both sides introducing their town management plans and social programmes. Things heated up after PAP leaders attacked Dr Chee's character and past actions and SDP slammed PAP's smear tactics and its $1.9 million package to rejuvenate the estate, which SDP criticised as unfair politics should this be withdrawn if PAP did not win.

The outcome of the polls recorded PAP's first victory in a by-election for a single seat ward since 1979. SDP garnered the largest swing in a by-election since Anson in 1981 and Dr Chee clocked his personal best performance to date. Several political commentators expressed that it may be time to scrap GRCs since ethnic minorities could win in SMCs. Murali was sworn in within an unprecedented two days after the results, the shortest for a MP-elect in Singapore's history and the first time before the overseas votes were tabulated.

 
Writ of election:
 20 April 2016, Wednesday
Nomination day:
 27 April 2016, Wednesday
Cooling-off day:
 6 May 2016, Friday
Polling day:
 7 May 2016, Saturday
Member swearing-in:
 9 May 2016, Monday
Overseas vote-counting:
 11 May 2016, Wednesday

Eligible voters:
 25,727 [OV: 52]
Voter turnout:
 24,224 [OV: 32] (94.2%)
Election deposit:
 $13,500 (-$1,000)
 

BUKIT BATOK SMC
People's Action Party 14,452 (61.2%)
[OV: 24]
Singapore Democratic Party 9,150 (38.8%)
[OV: 8]
MURALIDHARAN PILLAI Kumjan
48  |  M  |  Lawyer
CHEE Soon Juan
53  |  M  |  Party secretary-general
Winner's majority: 5,302 (22.4%)
Valid votes: 23,602 (97.4%)
[OV: 32]
Rejected votes: 622 (2.6%)
[OV: 0]
Previous election > GE 2015 > People's Action Party won 73.0% > Swing -11.8%

SEATS
Party Held Candidates Won New
People's Action Party 82 1 1 83
Singapore Democratic Party 0 1 0 0
Previous seats > GE 2015
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