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Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Year of the Monkey - Monkey Business.

It is the year of the Monkey and I think it is appropriate to talk of "monkey business".  Last month at the opening of the new Parliament the P.M. announced among other things he would ask Parliament to amend laws in the following areas:-

a) NCMP (Non-Constituency Member of Parliament): The provision of 9 members will be increased to 12 members in the next General Election.  These members will now have voting rights, etc. I have always viewed these MPs as pseudo-MPs - these are the losing Opposition Parties' candidates who garnered the most votes in the election. Many view the NCMP Scheme as a ploy by the ruling party to ensure "political dominance".

b) GRC (Group Representation Constituency): P.M. has said he is in favour of smaller GRCs.He did give us some smaller GRCs in the 2015 General Election. I wonder when will his 6-members AMK GRC and his deputy's 6-member Pasir Ris-Ponggol GRC be reduced in accordance with his rhetoric.  You may like to know that the following PAP candidates were elected on the coat tails of the GRC Scheme in the 2015 GE:
Mr Ong Ye Kung (Sembawang GRC) - lost in 2011 GE in Aljunied GRC; Mr Desmond Choo (Tampines GRC) - lost in 2011 GE in Hougang SMC; Koh Poh Koon (AMK GRC) - lost in Ponggol East SMC 2013 By-election. Many Opposition Parties view this scheme as one among many "to make life difficult for them" - a mantra that the ruling party is not shy to admit.  Ever wonder why after 50 years our Opposition Parties are still playing "second fiddle".  Sometimes you cringe for them for the many mountains they have to climb.  I salute them for their undaunted spirit and perseverance.

c) Elected Presidency: A Constitutional Committee has recently been appointed to review this institution.  One of the functions of the Presidency is to ensure proper custody of our reserves.As billions of dollars of our reserves have been invested here and overseas, I have a question whether our President has powers to look into how and whether  these investments are judiciously and properly made and whether accountability and liability on the part of those doing the investments are clearly spelt out, etc.

For "good politics" to prevail in Singapore we need the following:-

a) An independent Electoral Commission so that there is no accusation of gerrymandering, etc.
b) Free and non-partisan mainstream media so that every body is free to make and decide issues for himself/herself;  we should not condone communist-like propaganda, grandstanding, etc
c) Grassroots organisations and Government agencies should be open and be fair to all citizens of all shade of political beliefs/colours, etc.

My humble wish is for a more vibrant and all-embracing political culture in this our great country!.



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