Thursday, May 12, 2011

Calling Time On The GRC

With retirement of former Foreign Minister George Yeo, there is now strong complains about Singapore’s group representation constituency (GRC) system. Now if there is one thing we can be certain of after the result of any Singapore Election, it is that Singapore's controversial GRC system will come in for criticism. Only this time, PAP members are joining in the criticism along with the opposition.

With the ruling People's Action Party’s (PAP) loss in Aljunied GRC, Singapore has lost 3 ministers in one fell swoop. Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Hwee Hua and Senior Minister of State Zainul Abidin Rasheed were all on the Aljunied team and they will all not be in the new Parliament.

Now despite what the PAP will say officially, everyone knows that the GRC system was invented so that the weaker PAP candidates could ride into Parliament on the backs of their more experienced counterparts. With the loss in Aljunied, the PAP now sees the flipside of the GRC system. If you lose one GRC, you lose a few ministers along with the ride.

The PAP will probably want to continue using the GRC system that had served them so well since 1988 but they need to ask themselves if maybe the time for the GRC has passed. George Yeo, Lim Hwee Hua and Zainul Abidin Rasheed would all have won in a Single Member Constituency (SMC). Yes, some of the weaker PAP candidates would lose but between the 27 year old wife of a principal private secretary (Tin Pei Ling) and George Yeo; who would the PAP rather have in Parliament?

The main thing is that the Worker’s Party (WP) has won a GRC and if they can win one, then they (or other parties) can win two. That will mean more seats lost for the PAP because as we can see in Aljunied, the moment you lose one GRC, you lose 4-5 seats in Parliament. Despite the show by the opposition in this election, I do not believe they would have won in 6 straight fights if every seat in the election is a SMC. In the end, the PAP need to ask if perhaps the GRC system has served its purpose and it’s time for them to go back to an all SMC election.


Anonymous said...

GRC is created to deter opposition from contesting. It is an unfair system to the opposition and this year opposition has managed to turn it round to their advantage. This will not happen if no brave Singaporeans dare to stick out their heads. Yes, I bet they will make GRC more difficult for the opposition by the next election. PP and JC will be gone. Singaporeans are too forgetful. All Ministers are the same be it George or Tom. I don't understand the outcry or loss over George. Just that he has no bread and butter issues, it didn't make him a better minister. Don't forget, he did not stand up for Singaporeans during his tenure.

Anonymous said...

It will be modified, Potong Pasir might comes under Bishan Toa Payoh or West Coast GRC next GE.

Anonymous said...

It's due to the system that the oppositions were not able to win more than the 6 seats despite polling 40% of the popular vote.
In a fair one to one contest, at least 15 seats could have gone to the oppostions in view of the calibre of their candidtates .So for the PAP, this major disadvantage to the oppositions more than outweigh the loss of 1 GRC. unless more GRCs fall at the next GE

Ghost said...

First off, I'm not sure if it will be a good thing for the PAP to move Potong Pasir into the Bishan-Toa Payoh or West Coast GRC in the next GE. Even with Lina Chiam, the opposition got 49% of the vote so there is a great number of opposition supporters in the SMC.
Also, I'm not in favor of using % of votes to see how many seats a party deserved in parliament. The current system we have is very clear-cut. You win the vote in your ward, you get the seat. You lose, you don't get the seat. Simple! And much better than waiting for the full results to be out, then wait to see how much % your party get, then see how many seats your party will have, then decide who will represent your party in parliament.
For me, I rather we keep the current system.