Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Value Of Citizenship

Value of Citizenship II ---- Voting Rights

One of the fundamental rights that constitute our value of citizenship lies in our voting rights. If we trace the political development of Singapore, this very basic right of a citizen in a supposedly democratic country has slowly diminished when the PAP government has started to introduce the GRC system back in 1988 General Elections.

PAP used the reasoning of racial representation to rationalize the need of the GRC system but most people know that they were just using the GRC to curb and prevent the drastic drop of support for it to materialize into more seats won by the opposition parties. In short, it is a game of large numbers, led by a ?heavy weight? minister.

If GRC system is really for the sake of ?racial representation?, there are many other means of doing it. In fact, by increasing the number of seats of GRC from 3 or 4, to 5 or 6 would actually reduce the proportionate representation (note, in Singapore, minority races make up of about 25% of total population). We could declare a proportionate number of constituencies to be contested by minority candidates only, without the need of grouping the constituencies together as a big GRC!

The rational that minority candidates may not be elected into parliament if they stood alone in a constituency is totally flawed. Workers? Party secretary general JBJ has won in 1981 by-election and again in 1984 GE even when he is a minority candidate contesting against PAP Chinese candidates! PAP?s own minority candidates have won many electoral battles in the past before single handedly!

Due to the GRC system together with increased election deposits demanded from potential candidates, participation of opposition parties in 1991, 1997 and 2001 GEs have decreased dramatically. This reduced of political participation translated into massive walkovers for PAP. Thus many of us would feel that PAP?s claim of ?Party of Choice? is totally absurd because in actual fact, they are the ?Party of NO Choice? or rather, ?Party of DEFAULT Choice!

It would also mean that over half of Singaporeans have eventually lost their right to vote TECHNICALLY. This has grave effects on the development of Nationhood as well as political apathy. This is, in essence, an erosion of our Value of Citizenship as a whole.

In my post on Power To The People ( http://singaporealternatives.blogspot.com/2005/09/power-to-people.html ), I have stated that the only way to preserve and enhance the people?s power is to protect their right to vote and having a choice in the political system. This is important as such bargaining power derived from alternative choices would serve as the basis to protect their benefits and get better deals out of the political system. This is in fact the most important Value of Citizenship so to speak.

It is time for all Singaporeans to ponder over this important aspect of our value of citizenship while we keep protesting about the light punishment over NS defaulters.

Goh Meng Seng

33 comments:

chemgen said...

Gerrymandering is a popular exercise to win votes and many Western "democratic" countries practice it. Party for Democratic Socialism in Germany only won 2 seats instead of more in 2002 supposedly because of gerrymandering. (http://kalaschnikow.net/uk/txt/2002/grossman05.html) Texas was another hotbed of gerrmandering in recent years. (http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0529/p09s01-coop.html)

But that of course does not make gerrymandering ethically right although people would convincingly state that all is fair in love, war and politics. However, given Singapore's history, politics and geography, minority representation has to stay although it is affirmative action at some level. I think WP should study the minority representation without gerrymandering option.

Goh Meng Seng said...

Dear Chemgen,

WP New Manifesto is going to be launched very soon. We have touched on this aspect in our Manifesto.

Hope you will buy one (yeah, support us by buying one!) when it is officially launched! Cost $5 only. ;)

Goh Meng Seng

Anonymous said...

Who cares. PAP can form a GRC. So can WP. It is futile to compain about the GRC or even debate. Win an election then debate.

If WP can even win, who cares about GRC or no GRC or whether GRC is best for minority representation....it is all so academic and not many Singapore will give a sh*t about it.

Please don't grouse about election deposit okay. It is so minor a complain, if you guys mention it one more time, it starts to get silly. Why should I support a group of people for whom raise a few tens of thousands in election deposit is a problem. Plse get serious okay. This complain works negatively for the opposition.....it makes them sound pathetic - its not like the PAP pays less deposit.

Selecting a few constituency for minority representation is not a good idea, it limits the scope of free elections for those few constituency. How can that be democratic.

Anyway, debates such is these are lost and useless in winning votes. It is useless because if you can win votes, we can talk about pros and cons of GRC until the cow come home and nothing can be done.

You blog is dry and boring. Just like James Gomez which to date attracted only a total 2000+ people - this is pathetic some singapore blogs attract that number in 1 day.

Politics is about winning power by getting the majority to vote for you. If you keep talking these "academic" topics and not the "bread & butter" issue, you will lose your next election for sure.

Goh Meng Seng said...

Dear Anonymous,

If you really don't care at all, you won't be writing such a long comment in the very first place. ;)

Of course I care about GRC system because it involves the fundamental rights of Singaporeans to vote. And most importantly, it has ironically, technically reduced minority representation by increasing the size of the GRCs!

If you think voting right is not about bread and butter issue, you are damn wrong! Singaporeans' voting right is all about getting a better deal out of the political system!

Only a monopoly doesn't care about its customers' "freedom of choices" because that's how they could earn big money! ;)

Thus I think only people with the monopolistic mindset would proclaim loudly that people doesn't care about voting rights thus, not the GRC system! ;)

Goh Meng Seng

wolong said...

wahhhhhh $5 very expensive leh can eat 2 meals lol

chemgen said...

Hi Meng Seng

WP could have 2 options for the Manifesto. A detailed one that they can sell at $5 for covering cost, and a free online verson, less detailed but with greater outreach potential. People can't have their cake and eat it but that doesn't mean cannot try.

Jayce said...

Dear Anonymous,

GRC is a very big issue, if you would just take the time to go down to Serangoon and see the "Welcome to Marine Parade Town" sign, you would understand that GRC is not an academic issue. It's real and it's pretty much in place to stop opposition to win sits.

How can the opposition win when there are so many unfair obstacles in their way? Plus, how can Goh lose the election when he might not even have the chance to compete in the first place due to the GRC policy?!

And raising money for politics is not easy. "a few tens of thousands in election deposit" is a lot of money to the marjority of the people. We don't throw money around, and even if we can, I believe that the political parties cannot just accept the money from any tom, dick and harry. The money had to be legitimate and such. I don't really know enough to comment, but that is what I expect in corruption-free Singapore.

The best thing about the WWW, if you don't like something, you don't have to read it. Just close the window and everything will continue to go on. I just don't get these people..

Goh Meng Seng said...

Dear Wolong & Chemgen,

Alternatives Parties like Workers' Party have little avenues to raise funds. We are not allowed to organize Pasir Malum, receieve all donations we want unless we record down donors' name and IC no. as we are only allowed to have not more than $5000 anonymous donations in one year...etc etc.

We as party members have to contribute (apart from the $3 annual membership fees) to our party when our party runs out of fund. We have to pay rental and all kinds of expenditures, especially so in election preparation phase.

Our only source of income comes from our regular Hammer Sales (well, yet people ask us why we can't give it free!).

Our Manifesto is launched about every 10 years or more (the last one in 1994). We need to recover cost as well as supplement our financial position with this sales. Often than not, the sales isn't that great to start with.

Put yourself in our shoes. My comrades sacrifice their time, effort and brain cells to work hard in order to provide a credible choice and challenge to the ruling party, would it be fair to ask for more monetary contributions from them?

Often than not, Singaporeans complain about not having the opportunity to vote during election time, but they forgotten the sad fact is FREEDOM IS NOT FREE. If there are no Singaporeans willing to contribute and support our cause, then so be it; we will have to bear with the reality that most Singaporeans will not have their right to vote at the end of the day. This is the chicken and egg thing.

After having saying that, I am very happy to know that through our Hammer Sales, there are still alot of Singaporeans supporting us in their very own little ways.

Goh Meng Seng

wolong said...

wellllll e same rules apply to pap 2 !!!!!

wolong said...

ohhhhhhh only wp sacrifice ? so noble? lol

wolong said...

arhhhhhh nw wp asking 4 $$$$$ arrrrrr lol

wolong said...

wellllll if thts e case y ltk stand in hg cos he knew he's a teochew speak gd teochew can click with teochews there y nt wp send a cantonese/hokkien there n pap field a teochew c who win. better still wp send a mly/ind there c u all can win anot. dun 4get heng c h n eric low both r teochews 2. 3 opp mp all teochew.

wolong said...

arrrrrr jayce a wp supporter cant swim say cant swim dun blame swimming trunk 2 big k lol read lky memoir pap path 2 success has been placed with more than obstacles than opp y they succeed ? tel me who else turn e country ard in 1 generation? may i use e chn phrase "qian wu gu ren hou wu lai zhe" even if there r nt many lol btw francis seow lee s c n tht malay nearly won in 88 eunos grc. but of cos francis seow tht idiot dun deserve 2 win we got late dr tay eng soon ite papa lol

wolong said...

so ppl buy hammer means they support u i saw ppl use it wrap veg throw it on2 e grd n walk over it i was told some ah gong ah ma use it as toliet paper lol wahhh this toliet paper quite expensive hor lol

Jayce said...

wolong, I wish you could write abit more coherently, it took me 2 reads to get what you are trying to say.

I'm not dissing PAP for the work they had done, of course they had done great work, they turned sg from a nothing to a something. But times had changed, what used to work may not always work.

PAP faced a lot of difficulties in its teething years, who doesn't. But go watch the History of Singapore by Discovery Channel, it may not be that accurate but it provides some very interesting facts.

Singapore's politics is being shaped by outside events most of the time. From our founding to LKY raising to power in PAP. If not for the anti-communism movement at that point of time, the other guy might had been in power (sorry I forgot the name of the other guy). What I'm trying to say is, PAP had a lot of luck behind them through their teething years.

And your last comment was really uncalled for. *shakes head*

Meng Seng, I'll definitely buy the book when it's out, $5 for the step of advancement (may be tiny, but still a step) for Singapore, that's a very cheap price to pay :)

wolong said...

oh u watch discovery channel arrr u din read papers law ministry says there some inaccuracies regarding jbj case u din read arrrrrr lol tot u v well read grad rite wking in bank lol

wolong said...

arrrrrr c u also admit its nt tht accurate arrrrr lol @ least u read papers horrrr

wolong said...

lol luck halo u noe wads luck anot if u dunno check dictionaty pap got luck then opp no luck la lol y chiam n ltk got voted in y chiam remain as MP 4 21 yrs (jus 4 ur fyi if u duno mr chiam going 4 his 6th term probably final term wishing him success ooopsss wld sitoh be angri? lol i cant be bothered. mr chaim is honest sincere hardworking n highly honourable) even lky got 2 praise him. when some1 succeed its due 2 luck oh my god!!!! so bill gates its luck li kashing its luck simplistic n naive when kongming n zhouyu won @ chibi luck la zhouyu credit la caocao oversight? lol wad my last comment ? orrrrrr tht toliet paper ar u dunno many ah kong n ah ma uneducated used it as toliet paper ma u dunno? lol c whether u got luck in finding a gd husband lol u wan u buy lor i save my $5 for makan.

pengju said...

wellllll wolong dun toke 2 this young ger wad she noe 24 grad wk in bank she dunno got ppl use as toliet paper, got ppl used it wrap veg she must hv come from another world rich gerrrrrr! dunno ppl lived differntly sum afford shark fin (maybe she 1 of them) sum cant. sum smoke cigar sum roll their own cigarette she din read 1 report la in london some sleep on streets while others...... unlike pap who always concerned with e massess if nt how 2 in power since 59? c how pap click with e masses c how many trade unions put lky name down as their legal advisor in e 50s giving free legal advice or charging little. if luck reali played such a huge role u wldnt c all those homeless ppl in london streets. lol ya i agree with u c she lucky enough 2 find a gd husband lol if nt how come so many div cases 2day papers yang libing published her memoir ex husband li nanxing

pangtong said...

wellllll 2 some ppl $5 is nothing (i din say who ar dun be sensitive) but 2 some can cover 2 meals. its a world of difference!!!

alamak said...

maybe her 1 meal not $5 but $50 $500 or maybe $5000!!!

Jayce said...

wolong, I don't read the local papers, most articles are sadly lacking in depth and perception. And their reports are very much slanted against you-know-who.

If you are not willing to part with that measly 5 bucks, then don't, no one is forcing you to. We're a free society in this sense. But you really don't have to waste your time (which equals to money) and bandwidth (which also equals to money) here complaining that it's expensive.

wolong said...

wellllll i nt e only 1 who say its exp many others 2. u din read other postings ? lol y reply 2 me only? others got a pt 2. y gms so quiet ? cant outtalk me? lol orrrrr local reports slanted ar u wan them 2 be slanted in the direction u wan la say la lol

Anonymous said...

oiiiii she sound like chee or jbj press freedom freedom of speech din goh c t rebutted them lol we may ranked low on this but we ranked high on others.

Anonymous said...

she nvr realise if pap nt in power she may nt be a grad 4get abt wking in a bank 2 most probably ended up like filipinoes eking a living as a maid in some forign countries.

alamak said...

well this is the kind of ungrateful youngsters we hv sad 2 say lol how come she never reply on the point of "luck" raised by wolong let me asked bill gates n li kashing theirs is luck or not lol c they how reply her. li kashing started off selling plastic flowers george soros was once a waiter toh chin chye was a hawker asst during WW2 all humble begnnings so when ppl succeed due 2 luck ? lol tian wang ye tan this ger sour grapes jealous when ppl succeed dismissed as "luck" lol han gaozu liubang was a peasant b4 he defeated xiangyu the list of "lucky" ppl rolls on

Goh Meng Seng said...

Dear Wolong,

I am not going to reply to you just to let you go hey wire, to show the world how silly you could be. ;)

It would be interesting for the world to see how people like you, Singapore, with a political agenda, could go that mad. It just demonstrates the immaturity of my opponents' supporters and it hurts you ever more, least me.

People around the world would only laugh and mock at you, not me. You must be very mistaken that you could do any harm to me by your naive and amateurish acts here.

Goh Meng Seng

wolong said...

oh isit then y write 1 huge article in response lol y bother 2 reply here? u so easily "provoked" how 2 win a grc? u think u ppl can win e most hg la lol maybe this time round lose 2 eric low lol oh ya btw y din reply me y ltk chose hg n nt somewhere else? i correct rite? lol dare nt reply me ar n others onli wan 2 listen 2 jayce rite lol k la keep on listening 2 ur supporters c how many seats u ppl can win maybe lose gh this time round 2. lol

Jayce said...

wolong, my dear, anyone who can read can tell that all the "others" who have commented are the same person as you yourself. Good try, but try harder ok.

wolong said...

aiyo who ur dear dun call until like this hor lol if u r nt "lucky" 2 find ur dear dun anyhow call lol

Anonymous said...

when ppl r lazy 2 reply or selectively reply they r like this dun bother them

lobert said...

Why use Meng Seng Goh as your profile name. Chinese don't put their surname at the end unless you are using English or Christian name.

PAP is OPPRESSION said...

Mr Goh,

I wish to thank you for helping Singapore have an alternative. Even if it takes many years, PAP cannot last forever. I do not believe them anymore. They do not have credibility because they use propaganda excessively. So much that their 'good news' contradicts other news from them. Keep it up and never lose hope that what you and WP do will free future generations from PAP oppression.