4 To 5-Member GRCs Are Best For Running Town Councils
Just yesterday (4 Sep), news came about that the Singapore Electoral Boundaries Review Committee has been officially set up. This is almost certainly a sign that elections are coming up.
In the press release, it was stated that the committee should aim to reduce the average size of the Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) and have more single-member ones.
Currently, 14 GRCs have 4-6 members, with Ang Mo Kio and Pasir Ris-Punggol having the maximum of 6 members each. Additionally, there are 13 single-member ones.
Electoral Division Map as of 2015
According to former PAP MP Inderjit Singh, 4-to-5-member constituencies are the optimal size for running town councils. This is because if the constituency is too big, i.e. 6 members, it will not be good for the image of the ruling party.
This sentiment was expressed by National University of Singapore political science professor Bilveer Singh, who told the Straits Times,
Having six members is loading the dice (in favour of the ruling party) and doesn’t make the PAP look good. PM Lee is equalising that playing field.
This is why he and many other political analysts believe that come the next election, 6-member constituencies will be no more.
Having too many small constituencies won’t be good either. Smaller constituencies will inevitably mean more constituencies, and PAP may not have enough ministers to lead all of them.
Creating more single-member constituencies
The government also wishes for there to be more single-member constituencies. This will allow smaller parties to participate in the election.
Another political commentator told the national broadsheet that the new single-member constituencies could come from PAP strongholds like Bishan-Toa Payoh and Nee Soon. This is so PAP can test the waters with this new electoral direction.
Having smaller GRCs could also mean that residents will feel more affinity towards their GRC. If a GRC is so large, they wouldn’t feel like they’re part of a community.
General election procedure
Once the boundaries are released, the parties will pick and finalise where to put their candidates, to determine which candidate should contest which GRC.
Next, the parliament will be dissolved. The maximum duration for a Parliament is 5 years from its first sitting. Since PAP took over Parliament in Sep 2015, the latest the Parliament can last is till Sep 2020. But this time it’s different, since the elections are happening earlier.
After this, the President will issue a writ of election, which is basically a legal document saying that the election must be held.
The parties will then start going around holding rallies and telling people why they should vote for them.
And after about 10 days – usually – all eligible voters will go to voting stations around Singapore to cast their vote. Voting in Singapore is compulsory, which means if you don’t want to vote, you’ll have to submit an explanation to the Elections Department on why you did not.
Voting is compulsory because it is considered a duty, as citizens of the country, to participate in the country’s decision-making process.
Now, if you’re going to vote, please do so wisely. Spend just a little bit of time hearing the parties and politicians out. Listen, understand and be critical of what they say they’ll do if they secure the seat. They’re the ones who will be making decision that ultimately affects you. So remember, vote wisely.
Featured images adapted from PAP.