Not for love of money, but of Humanity. "Greater is he who works for the good of all, then he who works for the good of himself only" ~ Matthew 25:40: "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"- (NIV). I live in Singapore where the Emperor must not be disturbed.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Does Racial harmony really require the utilization of 75 GRC parliamentary seats?

Does Racial harmony really require the utilization of 75 GRC parliamentary seats?
Why despite GRCs parliamentary seats now occupying 89.286%of all parliamentary seats, minorities remain under protected by the GRC system of elections.

The GRC system of elections seems now more effective at sidelining the opposition rather than rather then 'ensuring minority representation'- thus calling into question PAP's original sincerity at 'ensuring minority representation' in the first place.

From: [ElectionsDeptSingapore> Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs)](accessed 02Dec2010)
- “The group may be made up of 3, 4, 5 or 6 individuals. The President declares the group number for each GRC by law.”
- “At least one of the MPs in the group representing a GRC must belong to a minority racial community, either the Malay community or the Indian and other minority communities.”
- "The GRC system was established in 1988 to ensure that the minority racial communities in Singapore will always be represented in Parliament..."

However a quick observation of 'Table 1: Evolution of the electoral system in Singapore' (1963- 2001) [Yeo Lay Hwee/ Electoral Politics in Singapore], begs the suspicion if 'Minority Representation' would be the excuse rather then the aim of the GRC system of elections. (kindly refer to the excerpted image of the same table for the following discussions)

When the GRC system of elections was first implemented in the 1988 GE, 13GRCs, of strictly 3 MPs each, took up 39 out of a total of 81 parliamentary seats. (39/81= 48.148% of all seats)- having 13 GRCs according to existing rules meant GRCs ensuring 13/81= 16.0494% parliamentary minority representation. This as a fraction 21.7% (the %minority resident population in the 1980's), the 1988GE ensured 16.0494/21.7= 73.960% effective minority representation by virtue of 13 GRCs being mandated in the 1988GE. In summary, 1988GE GRC election system ensured minority parliamentary representation of 73.960% and GRCs took up 48.148% of all parliamentary seats.

In contrast, the 2006GE (whose GRC allocations mirror that of the 2001GE) had 14 GRCs occupying 75 seats out of a total of 84 seats (75/84= 89.286% of all seats). Based upon 2000 minority resident population of 23.2%, the GRC system of elections was only able to ensure, pre-election, that [14/(84*23.2%)]= 71.839% of minorities would be represented. In summary, the 2006GE GRC elections system ensured minority parliamentary representation of 71.839% and GRCs took up 89.286% of all parliamentary seats.

Thus, between GE1988 and GE2006, effective minority representation fell by [(73.960-71.839)/73.960]= 2.868% whilst the proportion of parliamentary seats taken up by GRCs swelled by [(89.286-48.148)/48.148]= 85.441%.

What decent explanation has the PAP to give for swelling up GRCs whilst diluting minority representation- doesn’t this action go against the cause for which the GRC system of elections was implemented in the first place?

I note that PM Lee HL 'recently' announced in 'GRCs to shrink, but they will stay' [The Straits Times- 28 May 2009], that GE2011/12 would see 12SMCs (3 more than current 9) and fewer 6member GRCs. Still, what is 12 SMCs if the 1988GE then managed to have 42SMCs and a 2.868% superior effect of 'ensuring minority representation'. Please note that the % minority residents in Singapore has since increased to 25.8%- so now despite having 14 GRCs, the effective minority ensured representation of [14/(84*25.8%)]= 64.599% is a further depreciation of [(73.960-64.599)/73.960]= 12.657% from GE1988's effectiveness in terms of the primary purpose of the GRC system of elections- ensuring minority representation. (cf GE1988, GE2011 sees GRCs still swelled up by {[(72/84)-48.148%]/48.148%}= 78.023%)

Perhaps some PAP members felt guilty in the light of such condemning statistics that they decided to pacify the electorate with the 26April2010 CNA announcement 'Parliament amends Constitution to change NCMP & NMP schemes' “the opposition has since become such an endangered species in the Singapore political scene that the PAP now needs to save the opposition politician from extinction, thus, “the NCMP position is a unique feature of Singapore politics” tongue in cheek of course.

In my mind, the GRC system of elections has betrayed the minorities and effectively sidelined the opposition.

Keeping in mind BOTH PAP's interest at having large GRCs, the need for minorities to have some representation in parliament (a 2/3 leg up would be sensible and this enhanced with the NCMP system which should allow for 'losing' minority candidates rather then losing opposition candidates- the opposition Mr LowTK has alluded to this).
'Singaporeans want more say' [A1news, 02Aug2010]: “when it comes to political activities like policy making as compared to ten years ago”; - 'The Malays in Singapore – no crutch mentality'[LKSblog, 28Jul2010]: "Berita Harian Singapore editor Guntor Sadali: 'We do not believe in being spoon-fed or being too dependent on government help. In other words, we do not have a crutch mentality.'" should all be taken into account.

Given the 2009 resident minority population estimate to be 25.8%, there should be 25.8%*84= 21.672, rounded up to 22 minority candidates in parliament. Given the max shortfall of 22-14= 8 minority candidates, the best losing minority candidates can then become NCMPs to make up a total of 22 minority candidates in parliament.

Towards this end, I'd like to propose that in the next/ coming election, GRC 'ensure' that there be 2/3*25.8%minority*84seats= 14.448, rounded down = 14 ensured minority candidates. Each GRC shall have a minimum of 33.33% minority representation for- the following combinations are possible: 2+1^ (3memb GRCs), 2+2^ (4membGRC), 3+2^ (5memb GRC), 4+2^ (6memb GRC) where the minority candidate is denoted by the suffix '^'. At most, GRCs can take up 14*3= 42 GRC parliamentary seats leaving the other 42 seats as SMC parliamentary seats.
The total number of GRCs is thus determined by the number of minority candidates necessary to achieve 33% ensured minority representation. Since 14 minority candidates is the current optimum, a possible distribution of GRCs can be as follows:
2*3 mbrGRC: 2 minority candidates, total of 06 seats allocated to 2*3 mbrGRCs.
1*4 mbrGRC: 2 minority candidates, total of 04 seats allocated to 1*4 mbrGRC.
1*5 mbrGRC: 2 minority candidates, total of 05 seats allocated to 1*5 mbrGRC.
4*6 mbrGRC: 8 minority candidates, total of 24 seats allocated to 3*6 mbrGRCs
Total minority candidates in 8 GRCs= 14, with a total of 39 seats allocated to GRCs.
***84 – 39 = 45 SMCs!!!***

My suggestion of 14 'ensured minority MPs' is comparable with the existing GRC minority allocation and my novel use of the NCMP scheme to further the cause of racial harmony exceeds that of the existing GRC system of elections. There would then be no need for the opposition supporting NCMP system, the butt of criticism about SG's 'novel' political system. And yes, PM LeeHL did embarrass himself in 'PM Lee says countries worldwide respect and admire Singapore's proven system': "...I'm going to spend all my time thinking what's the right way to fix them, to buy my supporters votes, how can I solve this week's problem and forget about next year's challenges?"..." [CNA:03May2006][YouTube/@1m10s]

PAP should stop paying lip service to its principles.
And then the people of Singapore will be happy.

Majulah Singapura

- 'Betrayal of the original intent of the GRC system of elections. (By SMC minimization)' Facts and figures from (Table1) Yeo Lay Hwee. “Electoral Politics in Singapore [Chart wiki: Constituencies of Singapore], [Chart wiki: Ethnic composition (%) of resident population], ~B.C.: [A1forums, 25Aug2010].
- 'Singapore: Drawing Districts to Ensure Super-Majorities in the Parliament' [ace: The Electoral Knowledge Network]: “The government has been controlled by the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) since independence from Britain in 1959. This uninterrupted reign of power stems from two key factors ...”

At/ related:
A1 forums:
03Dec2010: The problem with the GRC system of election in its current form is that...
03Dec2010: The problem with the GRC system of election in its current form is that...
SG forums:
03Dec2010: The problem with the GRC system of election in its current f
VRzone forums:
03Dec2010: Does Racial harmony really require the utilization of 75 GRC parliamentary seats?

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