Chan Chun Sing Reminds Us Once Again of the Redundancy of the GRC System

RONALD LEE: When Murali beat Dr Chee in Bukit Batok, many were already questioning the validity of the GRC system in modern-day Singapore.

After all, a minority unheard of PAP mean beat the SDP’s top man who happened to be Chinese in a straight fight.

Many questioned whether the GRC system, which was implemented to make sure adequate representation for minorities in parliament, still held water.

Now, Maj-Gen Chan Chun Sing has just shown us again how redundant the system is.

That comes with his announcement in parliament that there will not be a by-election for Marsiling-Yew Tee residents should their MP, Mdm Halimah Yacob, get dragged out to stand for election as President.

Such a scenario, if it happens, would mean that Marsiling-Yew Tee would be left with an all-Chinese team of MPs.

So who’s going to represent the interests of residents from the minority groups?

The lack of a by-election if Mdm Halimah is pulled strikes at the heart of the GRC system.

But what did PAP party whip Chan say?

It’s Ok, because parliament already has 25 minority-race MPs and that’s “more than what you’d expect proportionately from adding up the percentage of Malays, Indians and other minorities.”

Again, what about minorities living in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC?

When Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat took ill, the government said that there would be no by-election should he not resume his post as MP.

That was still grudgingly acceptable, as there was appropriate representation in the PAP team in Tampines for all races.

It was also perhaps an indication that a GRC system where a team took charge of an area could provide stability and continuity despite setbacks.

But our Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Chan Chun Sing’s words have just laughed in the face of what we call proportional representation.

Can the government, anyhow as it likes, just change the goalpost and the interpretation of the rules of the game?

Oh wait… we’re having a brand new “reserved election” thing come PE2017 right?




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