Election’s Over, What’s Next?

The elections are over and Singaporeans have spoken with their votes.

Despite the People’s Action Party return to power, they only garnered slightly more than 60% of the overall electorate. Had there not been a GRC system, we’d have been able to see 40% of the seats in parliament taken up by strategic partnership parties Members of Parliament.

Nevertheless, Singapore now has a bigger number of non-PAP MPs in parliament represented by members of Workers’ Party. It is also a first for Singapore’s history to have our first Malay-Muslim MP who is non-PAP. Hopefully, his presence will translate to more support and changes for our Malay community beyond the ‘Yes’ man.

Several near wins by PAP especially in Potong Pasir also means that we could possibly see Potong Pasir being split into smaller areas to be ‘eaten’ up by neighbouring GRCs in the coming General Election due by 2016 to ensure that it won’t be recaptured by the Singapore People’s Party.

The 2011 General Elections has no doubt been one that has been exciting.

Singaporeans will now be keeping a close look at how the Workers’ Party plan to manage Aljunied GRC as well as shape policies in parliament and observe how the PAP plans to make changes or keep to its’ promises as this will determine how voters will vote in the next General Elections.

With Chiam See Tong now out of parliament and Lina Chiam replacing her husband in there as a Non-Constituent MP, I’m sure the few voters who had caused for rejected votes must be thinking if they had made the right choice if they had truly supported Lina because her loss is one of an absolutely narrow margin.

A stronger mandate no doubt has been given to the strategic partnership parties and I’m sure in the coming general election, they’ll be fighting to get more seats provided the Workers’ Party team in Aljunied GRC proves that an alternative party can still do a good job.

Personally, I’m a little disappointed with the results especially with so many near losses. Similarly, the crowd at Ang Mo Kio’s MacDonald’s were just as disappointed as the results were unveiled. Many were seen cursing and swearing at PAP’s win in several contests; Holland-Bukit Timah, East Coast, Joo Chiat, Potong Pasir and Punggol East.

I am however excited to see whether the current Aljunied Town Council team are really there to serve the Aljunied GRC residents or are they just there for the PAP and now that 3 appointment holders have been ousted from Parliament – Who Will Replace Them?

George Yeo – Foreign Minister

Lim Hwee Hwa – Second Minister for Finance and Transport

Zainul Abidin Rasheed – Senior Minister of State

There’ll also be a new Speaker of Parliament as well since PM has made it clear that Zainul will only be the Speaker should he be re-elected. This also means that George and Zainul can now contest for the post of Presidency against Abdullah Tarmugi if they want to earn good money for waving and shaking hands.

9 thoughts on “Election’s Over, What’s Next?

  1. Pingback: Daily SG: 9 May 2011 « The Singapore Daily

  2. One of the clear election issues is the concept of a GRC. A uniquely Singapore solution to the an age old problem that plagues countries with ethnic, religious or cultural minorities. The perennial question remains, what is the best solution to ensuring that a minority receives proportional representation in government?

    There are many precedents to look to if such questions are not wisely and amicably settled. To name a few, the Hutu/Tutsi dilema in Rwanda, the Shia/Sunni schism in the Islamic World, the Basque Movement in Spain , the Kurdish revolt, the Irish “Troubles”, the Walloon/Flemish Divide in Belgium.

    Closer to home, the astute observer would find examples where a majority ethnic group legislates racial minima in everything from education to housing. The list of examples is long, but the list of lives lost in its pursuit & defense is far longer.

    It almost always begins with a minority seeking proportional representation and power sharing. It almost always ends up with civil agitation and eventually secessionist movements . What is mutually agreed is the cost it exacts in lives and prosperity. Credit the Singapore government for the foresight to seek solutions to ameliorate this.

    The question is whether its a good solution. The cornerstone of democracy is the one man-one vote system. Its Western style proponents rigorously defend it as sacrosanct, but it is precisely the one man one vote that ends up subjugating the minority, always marginalising the latter by the sheer collective weight of votes that the majority can bring to bear upon any issue.

    Western style democracy should take a hard look at itself. In my lifetime, Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights Movement highlights the fact that the democratic ideals of one man/one vote does not address the supression of minorities. I can give more examples ad nauseam but lets not flog a dead horse.

    To be fair, the GRC system is imperfect & does have its flaws. People object to the idea that some underserving candidates get a free pass into parliament. Others object to the idea that a consumer must buy the whole CD even if there’s only one or two songs they like in it. Like you say, it does also skew results.

    However, you flippantly dismiss it peremptorily without due consideration to the reasons for its genesis. If as you say, it should be removed, pray tell what brilliant solution might you have to replace it? You, of course, need not answer if you believe that minorities need no such affirmative action and protection.

    I believe it is a work in progress and we should take great pains to invite futher input from the citizenry and avoid one sided ill conceived polemic.

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  3. Btw, thank you for bringing to everybody’s attention that the first Malay non-PAP MP entered Parliament via the questionable GRC route…. do you think he got a free pass? Some do …

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  4. Incidentally, when the proverbial shit hit the ceiling fan a couple of years ago with the announcement of the foreign worker dormitory in Serangoon Gdns ( Aljuneid GRC), I attended the town hall style meeting that took place in which both Lim Hwee Hua and George Yeo chaired. In the face of withering insults and verbal taunting, both Mrs Lim and Mr Yeo remained unflapable and focused squarely on the issue.

    They listened patiently and made no effort to sidestep the issue, winning over what I can only euphemistically describe as a hostile crowd. In the end, they gamely acceded to our request for a new and separate road directly out to the highway.

    So, to your less than fair statement about them getting paid a handsome salary for “waving” and “shaking” hands, might I suggest that you climb down from that high horse you’ve been sitting astride for so long and really do something constructive other than drone on incessantly.

    But please be careful, you’ve raised yourself so high I’m afraid you might break a leg falling from that height!

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  5. Let’s not detract in focus. I’m still waiting for your piece de la resistance for affirmative action with respect to PROPORTIONAL minority resistance in government ……

    Or are you suggesting minorities need no such affirmative action ?

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    • Hi Daniel,

      With regards to minority representation in parliament. This is indeed tricky.
      I admit that whilst the GRC system ensures that there will be a minority representation in parliament, this can only be effective if the said minority champions or speaks up on issues raised from the ground without the fear of a backlash from their own party.

      However, I get a feel from the ground amongst my peers as well as from myself that we will support whichever candidate it is who is willing to listen and speak up on issues, regardless if it’s on minority issues or not. Essentially, at the end of the day, we’re all Singaporeans.

      But should there still be a need for minority representation in parliament, then it would be better if a group of minority is voted in by the minorities themselves as they’d have bigger faith and trust in them having known or worked with them previously. This would, therefore, increase the number of seats in parliament. But of course, that minority group shouldn’t only be championing for minority causes only. They need to be involved in policy making at national level on other issues related to the larger community.

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  6. Thanks for a reply. I thought your suggestion on minorities voting for minorities was an interesting take but it would be consitiutionally problematic since it would essentially be a 2-tier voting system. It would of course run into problems when the one man-one vote debate is raised, much like the GRC system. As you are understandably nebulous on its terms and conditions, further comment by me at this stage is premature.

    I think you are beginning to appreciate the fact the our leaders are confronted by trenchant and chronic issues and that they have to find a solution for a probelm that in your words is “tricky”. This past election really disappointed me by the infantile level of debate amongst the electorate who were quick to rubbish policies but slow to offer replacement suggestions. Only when asked for their ideas did it begin to dawn on people that it is much easier to cast aspersions on another’s plan than to create a workable alternative themselves.

    I therefore think that your confidence in the Singapore electorate is overly optimistic and misplaced. Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Black Emancipation on 1 Jan 1863. One hundred years after that, America still needed the Civil Rights Movement. Why? Because students of history will know that while we may all carry the same passport, ethnic/religious/culural baggage is a pandora’s box filled with deep seated and unspoken discrimination.

    If you would have noticed, I specifically used the word PROPORTIONAL representation. Ever hear of the gender “glass ceiling” ? Women are 50% of the world population but only occupy less than 10% of all corporate boardrooms. In this case , males were “over-represented”. Please note that women are not bickering about representation , but about proportional representation. This type of friction causes the greatest problem.

    Likewise, one Michael Palmer winning an SMC does not imply that the rest of Singaporeans will vote accordingly. For Mr Palmer, he has a track record in Parliament which raises his public profile. It is valuable capital that can be readily exchanged for votes. But think of it from the point of an unknown Malay opposition candidate. No track record, no street cred, no political capital with which to trade and bargain for votes. It would take the likes of an Obama to swim against that type of current.

    Now imagine this, you would need 18 minority Obamas to have PROPORTIONAL minority representation!! One or two , no problem . But 18 out of 87 … ? I can already see your enlightened peers backing into the shadows now.

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