4/25/2011

From greed to fear

Going back to fundamentals, one man one vote and one MP for one constituency. That was what was all about in a democratic election. But there were weak candidates that would not survive in such a system. All political parties have strong and weak candidates. And when a strong candidate is pitted against a weak one, the result is obvious. There was also a genuine need to ensure minority representation. A GRC of 3 of which one must be a minority member was invented. It worked. All GRCs were mostly walkovers. The opposition were struggling and panting to recruit good candidates and to find the money for deposits. With the GRCs, it was a miracle formula to ensure victory in the GE. The advantages to a big and strong party were obvious. How could the opposition parties find that numerous good candidates to stand in a GRC? How could they raise the money, at $16k for a 6 member GRC it comes to $96k, to lose. The barrier to entry is raised higher and higher with each election. The strongest point of a GRC is that it can be easily carried by a minister. Just send in a minister and the GRC will be in the pocket. Some jokers still think so. So we have 3 member GRCs to 4, 5 and 6 member GRCs. Why not, it is a sure win formula. But things are not working out as they were supposed to. The trump card of a GRC, a minister, is turning from an advantage to an Achilles’ heel. Several ministers will not only be unable to helm a GRC, they will become a liability and guarantee its defeat. That is how bad it has become. I may be wrong if you see how confident they are in their walkabouts, like they are definitely going to be elected. And despite the high monetary cost to put up a GRC of 5 or 6 members, the opposition not only could raise the money, they could attract enough quality candidates to stand in the GRCs. This is unprecedented and totally unexpected. With stronger candidates from the opposition parties and badly weakened ministers leading the GRC teams, suddenly the odds of winning a GRC are more in favour of the opposition. Or at least the chances are more equal. What does this mean? With GRCs, clean sweep is so easy and effortless then. Walkovers were the order of the day. The PAP could win big when the odds are in its favour. Now the odds have changed and the fear of losing big is so real. The spectre of a freak election result is going to haunt the PAP in this election. But why called it a freak result when it is just what the people decided who they want to vote for? An election result is an election result. What is so freakish about it? If GRC is going to cost the PAP big losses this time, you can bet that the GRC game will be over in the next GE. It will all be back to square one, one man one vote and one MP for one constituency. All the great reasons and arguments for GRC will be passé. GRC will be seen as gambling in big stake. One either wins all or loses all. Can be quite dramatic, traumatic, and quite irresponsible in a way to stake all for a show hand. Some may be counting how many ministers will be packing their bags after this GE. A freakish election is going to happen, and can happen.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

All Singaporeans who hold and held political offices should never pack and abandon the State that they help(ed) to govern. These are people who have made the Citizenry to pledge their loyalties to the State having themselves publicly declared their(parliamentarians) patriotism to the State and of service to the People.

Even if the water rises to their noses, no parliamentarian and ex parliamentarian should shame him/herself by leaving Singapore for whatever reason. Even in deaths, their remains should be with Sin.

patriot

Matilah_Singapura said...

It's all in the numbers.

The tiny city state of S'pore has 94 seats in parliament (max 99 under constitution). The PAP holds elected 82 seats, then you have the anointed...err...I mean appointed NCMPs and NMPs.

When the PAP came into power in 1959, parliament had 51 seats and the PAP won 43. Through the years the constitution has been amended to increase the number of seats, and guess which party benefited?

Why the fuck do you need a 99 seat parliament for a tiny city state? And if you subscribe to 'big government' why unicameral? Why not go bicameral instaed and have a senate as the upper house and the legislative assempby as the lower house?

If you really want to go nuts with democracy (always an interesting idea), get yourselves a senate. The senate in most cuntries is the bane of the incumbent govt. In Aust, every elected PM HATES the senate. The senate makes sure that bills are not passed willy-nilly, and they are vicious with in coming legislation.

The senate has the control of the money bills and can shut down the govt if the govt steps out of line.

If the fucked up GRC system was replaced with a bicameral parliamentary system -- i.e. half of the GRC candidates today run as senators for election, I will bet there will be more 'diversity' in the so-called 'representative' government.

You can keep the 99 seats -- 51 (the original number) for the Legislative Assembly and 48 in the senate.

Then you political fans can go nuts. Democracy will be as it should be: loud and messy, with the reigns of power non-incumbent and open to only temporary stewardship.

Anonymous said...

If they lose one or two GRCs, this will encourage and enable the opposition to recruit, in larger numbers, talented people to helm more GRCs.

Right now, I think the Achille's heel of the opposition lies with the weakness of the minority candidates in their GRC forays.

If the opposition were to really win big this time, but still short of a majority, I think we will see a sea change in the election rules.

Remember the old man floating the idea of giving certain categories of special people more than one vote many years ago? There were of course serious criticisms then. But never discount them doing desperate things under desperate circumstances.

But first. let us hope to see a different outcome this time. A first step in capturing at least one GRC by the opposition. That will be a big step forward for Singaporeans.

Matilah_Singapura said...

for purposes of discussion, I'm temporarily casting aside my 'small govt/ sack parliament' stance and going with my idea of changing from unicameral to bicameral Westminster-style parliament.

I am using the Aust model (the only one of its kind) -- known as the 'Washminster' model -- a unique blend of the British Westminster and American 'Washington' systems.

----
anon 1251:

> the Achille's heel of the opposition lies with the weakness of the minority candidates in their GRC forays. <

Exactly. It is doubful that opposition can win in GRC's because of the numbers game stacked against their favour.

However if you had a bicameral system, they might have a chance. Throw out the GRC/ SMC system, redefine what 'electoral divisions' are, and you'll have more plurality.

Parties can field members for the Legistative Assempby or the senate. So I could vote (say) for DeSouza for LA, and (say) Gomez or Tan Jee Say for senate (assuming of course candidates are fielded that way), and thus being forced to vote on a PARTY basis. In this example, I just voted for a PAP MP in the legislature, and an opposition member for the senate -- i.e. my vote is more likely to be about the person's CHARACTER rather than the PARTY he/ she is with.

With a unicameral system, it is too easy for the dominant political party to hold the line for decades. And they probably won't be able to play 'bait and swith' con games with HDB and CPF either.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Matilah,

You are asking stupid question and providing stupid answers.

If you are in absolute control of the govt, you want to create a system where other people can control you? You would hesitate to create a system which you can control every office in the country.

I believe you will be shouting dictatorship is the best govt in the world.

Ok, go and drink some more alcohol.

Anonymous said...

.....A freakish election is going to happen, and can happen....

May the ground shake and the thunder roar on the 7th of May.
Let us mere mortals send a strong message to the Gods.

Zenho

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Until last week, no one would expect that the ground has shifted so much that the GE could be quite an open game.

Now the people can only wait to see if something unusual really comes out of this development. If nothing changes after the election, the people better look for cover. The servants will turn master once more, and probably more ruthless.

Matilah_Singapura said...

redbean,

instead of just calling me names (which my 3 yr old grand nephew can do better than you), show the folks that you are capable of demolishing my arguments -- i.e. bicameral system vs the present unicameral system.

Dictatorship IS the 'best form' (whatever that means) of govt -- please, don't credit lil'-ol'-me. That point has been argued by 'giants' Plato, The Fabian socialists and even Lee Kuan Yew.

The People Get The Govt They Deserve -- sometimes the people are unable to get their shit together -- so , voila, they get a dictator -- which is the best political option for them at the time.

Remember, I have an 'out' from this mess. Of course, I don't care, since I don't vote. I spent alot of resources to shield myself from govt as best I can, but even more so than the stupid masses who's choices and culture way before the ballot occurs, already determines what the politics of their cuntry will be, and the type of persons who will govern them.

Anonymous said...

If nothing changes after this election, we deserve a bleeding arse for the rest of our miserable lives.

notanotherspinstory said...

PAP, what goes around comes around.

GRC is an unfair advantage as well as a weak point. Winner takes all, loser loses big.

PAP has much to lose if opposition gains critical mass to field more GRCs in future.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Matilah, what is happening to you? You have never been so naive or idealistic before.

The virtues of a bicameral over a unicameral system is like democracy versus communism.

Say some jokers agree with you and introduce a bicameral system here, you can bet that anyone who wants to stand as a senator will need to have $20m in his bank acct, serve as a Perm Sec or CEO of a GLC, and what not. That what?

Bicameral, unicameral, democracy or communism, doesn't matter. It is the rulers and their intent and actions that make or break a system.

Matilah_Singapura said...

redbean,

I told you -- this is just a discussion lah. I couldn't care less if the parliament a corrupt bi or uni carmel system... I don't vote.

You think just because I talk out of my normal box, that I can't 'suspend' my core beliefs for the sake of argument?

I see the stupid motherfucker masses, all scratching their balls and clenching their arseholes from years of 'frustration'. Perhaps the GRC/ SMC system has something to do with it? Possible? We don't know for sure, but the numbers certainly look skewed in one direction.

Most of us -- although we cannot really prove it -- do believe that the GRC/ SMC system gives the incumbent a huge numerical advantage. Plus you get the re-defining of political boundaries and districts. For e.g. in my own GRC, Buena Vista is now with Tj Pagar.

The game is rigged -- we all suspect that (no one can say for sure). I was merely suggesting a theory based on more 'plurarity' in representation and a 'guard' (senate) to stop the excesses of the legislature.

For e.g. I believe that with a senate, it would be very difficult to get the govt salaries up to the levels they are today.

No, I'm not an idealist. I will always be a realist.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Ok I agree. We have an elected president to guard the govt for abuses.

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha......

Guard the govt for abuses?

Got power or not?

It's just like telling your maid to guard you for abuses.

The mother of all cock a doodle doo!

Anonymous said...

There is no need for government and territorial boundary lah, only the fools need them.

Anonymous said...

There is no need for government and territorial boundary lah, only the fools need them.

Anonymous said...

Hey Brothers;

what bicameral and unicameral system?

No system beats the Tripartite System in Sin. It works so well that there is no Orchid or Jasmine Revolution liked elsewhere.

And rest assure there won't be any in the foreseeable future.

patriot

Anonymous said...

The ground shakes hard indeed... I saw Nicole Seah's video on Youtube... She is full of passion and impressive. More so than any of the ministers, who were so busy coping with the mistakes gathered over the last few years....
http://www.facebook.com/nicoleseahnsp