20130825 GRC system forced onto Singaporeans, serves only PAP instead of citizens

I refer to Yahoo article “Political analysts caution against reverting to all-SMC system”. (link) The majority of some 4000 Yahoo! Singapore readers have confirmed their preference for our GRC system to be given a burial.

The GRC system came into effect in 1988 without any national referendum. Over the years, there have been repeated calls to consign it to the scrapyard. But the PAP, its designer, has reaped tremendous benefits and has the numerical superiority in parliament to refuse to fix their ‘flawless’ system.

The artistic talents of its designers were exhibited before every election. Some GRCs were carved out to form SMCs while other SMCs were absorbed into GRCs. Even a GRC i.e. Cheng San could be simply transferred to 3 different GRCs at politicians’ whims. (link) (Cheng San ‘peng san’ in 2001) Marine (Parade) is no longer marine when located in the middle of an island.

In a Straits Times article, Goh Chok Tong, former PM, admitted that GRCs were also “helping us to recruit younger and capable candidates with the potential to become ministers”. Singaporeans have been misled into thinking that the only objective of a GRC is to ensure minority representation. The above was highlighted by prominent blogger, Alex Au, in “Goh Chok Tong admits that GRCs are meant to skew” in 2006. (includes a copy of ST article)

The huge mess which Singapore has now found itself in is testament to the failure of our GRC system which has never ensured proportionate parliamentary representation of the electorate i.e. 60 per cent electorate with 90 per cent representation in Parliament.

Under the GRC system, our changed demographic landscape demands the representation of new citizens who also belong to the minority. Hopefully, the PAP is not seriously considering the inclusion of a mainland Chinese, a non-Singaporean Indian, etc in a new GRC composition.

The argument for a GRC system is flawed and if it wasn’t, other democracies would have bought into it centuries ago. It exists because there was effectively no alternative voice in parliament. The PAP under Lee Kuan Yew was never in a consultative mood.

The results of the 2011 general election should be a nail in the GRC coffin. How could a couple of ministers get booted out and replaced by Kate Spade gliding in on a golden parachute?

In conclusion, the GRC system simply (g)roups Singaporeans into ‘convenient’ electoral boundaries, (r)epresses our desire for freedom and its objective is to perpetuate (c)ontrol for the PAP.

By having it scrapped, the PAP will also help ensure that unpopular MPs’ do not get into parliament by the back door. Kate Spade belongs to New York.

Phillip Ang

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