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.