Just make elections free and fair, no need for wayang

By the Singapore Democrats
28 May 2009

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If there is any indication that the Government is nervous about the unhappiness of the people, it is the latest increase in the number of NCMP and NMP seats.

Anxious to avoid facing an angry electorate, the PAP is desperately trying to divert the attention of the voters by telling them that they don’t have to vote for the opposition because seats will be allocated to opposing voices.

In the first place, Parliamentary seats are not for the Government to give out. They are legislative positions to be earned by competing parties and candidates whose power is derived from the voters.

The problem with the such schemes is that parliamentary seats given by the Government also means that they can be taken away at a whim. Unfortunately this epitomises all that plagues Singapore’s politics. The PAP runs the country like a fiefdom and appoints law-makers rather than have them elected.

In the second place, all these changes are purely cosmetic aimed at trying to prettify the ugly face of an election system that is neither free nor fair.

Parliament, if the PAP needs to be reminded, is not a feedback session to canvas for a “wider range” of views. It is an institution where laws are made and where the Executive is called to account for its actions and policies.

As such, rigorous debate is called for and each legislator brings his popular power to bear on the arguments that he makes. Even then, if the PAP is truly desirous of a wider range of views in Parliament, then it should implement five simple measures:

  1. abolish the GRC system
  2. announce the constituencies at least 6 months before elections
  3. ensure that there is at least three weeks for the official campaign period
  4. give at least one month between the dissolution of parliament and polling day
  5. free up the media

There is no need to conduct this wayang exercise by increasing the number of NCMP and NMP seats. Do the right thing by ensuring that the electoral process is transparent, free and fair.