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PAP’s Playing the Race Card to Justify GRCs is Truly Sia Suay

ELSON: In parliament yesterday, the PAP’s argument for GRCs to continue to exist hinged on the need for racial representation.

You even had Bukit Batok SMC MP Murali Pillai pulling out a flyer on which someone (no one knows who, it could be anyone…) scrawled the word “die” in Chinese over his photo.

Education Minister Chan Chun Sing pulled the long-repeated PAP adage of how Singaporeans are “not racist” but we are… not ready?

The PAP’s arguments are really, as Mr Chan would say, sia suay.

Here’s why:

Surveys from 2016 all the way to 2022 have shown that a majority of Singaporeans are okay with a non-Chinese Prime Minister. The numbers have gone up over the years, with the 2022 CNA-IPS showing that 70 percent of Singaporeans can accept a Malay or Indian Prime Minister. When will Singaporeans by “ready”, Mr Chan? When survey results finally hit 100 percent?

Mr Pillai seems to have conveniently glossed over the fact that he beat the Secretary-General of the SDP, a very Chinese Dr Chee Soon Juan, in Bukit Batok SMC. Twice. Dr Chee has had worse labels thrust on him over many years, beyong just a word “die” written over his photo.

You wonder why Mr Murali is now singing a different tune, since he has said in the past that his race and his inability to speak the Chinese language were not hindrances to him in Paya Lebar (when he was contesting Aljunied GRC in GE2015). Too bad he in Aljunied, more likely due to running mate Victor Lye than him.

The SDP asked a very pertinent question when Halimah Yacob resigned as MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee to run for president, and no by-election was held to elect a replacement:

“If the government can remove a minority MP at will after he/she is elected, why set the number of GRCs – and therefore the number of minority MPs – to be contested in the first place?”

Marsiling-Yew Tee was left with Mr Lawrence Wong, Mr Alex Yam and Mr Ong Teng Koon. So much for the government’s “championing” of representation for gender and race.

Whether the GRC system is truly a remarkable system or not, it is the government’s actions over the years that make its race card arguments to keep the GRC system utterly sia suay.

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