Friday, March 10, 2006

Changes in Electoral Boundaries

Although I have responded to ST reporter on how I feel about the redrawing of the Electoral Boundaries, I think I will have to put up the full picture here.

I have told the ST reporter that I am neither happy nor disappointed. He asks me whether I am happy that Aljunied GRC remains, I say in the very first place, I do not think Aljunied GRC will disappear basically because Mr. George Yeo is a respectable opponent as a senior minister. He is not just anybody but a senior minister in cabinet. If PAP is to disband Aljunied GRC, then it would make itself looks very bad... kiasu.
I am not disappointed basically because I don't expect them to make it easier for us! No expectation, thus no disappointment.

Many people, including the reporter himself, think that “it could be worse!”. But that bags the question, why should it be “bad” in the very first place? Some bloggers have put up very insightful analysis on the changes made on the electoral boundaries. Some were relieved that there are just “minor changes” made this time round, but to me, it all boils down to A MATTER OF PRINCIPLES.

The whole exercise of redrawing the electoral boundaries basically lack principles and thus, consistency. The following are just some examples:

1) Aljunied GRC increased by 20,000 voters but it still remains as 5 man GRC? 20,000 voters is a size bigger than Potong Pasir SMC! The fact is that with 145K voters, it could well be a 6 member GRC as the old 6 member East Coast GRC and the present 6 member Tanjong Pagar GRC have only 148K voters!

2) The total number of voters in Aljunied GRC jumps from 120+K to 145+K while other 5 member GRC like Bishan Toa Payoh remains at less than 116K! The question is that since Aljunied GRC compared to many other previous 5 member GRCs (eg. Jalan Besar, West Coast, Jurong, Bishan Toa Payoh) have more voters, why should its number of voters increased further? If the redrawing of boundaries is based on “demographic changes”, Aljunied GRC should not be increased in voters at all. Jalan Besar needs to be increased instead!

3) Similarly, since Nee Soon East is already one of the biggest SMC, why should its size increase further? Potong Pasir is the smallest and it should be the one that needs increment in voters, not the already bloated Nee Soon East!

4) Base on what principles are the two SMCs being “absorbed” and the two new SMCs being born?
Sembawang and Pasir Ris-Punggol have become one big gigantic GRC. They could well take out 25,000 voters to form another two SMCs and yet remain as the bigger 6 member GRC!

The only rational way of adjustment should be, Jalan Besar GRC reduces into a 4 member GRC without changes in its boundary. Bishan Toa Payoh should reduce to a 4 member GRC while annexing part of it with 5000 voters to be crossed over to Potong Pasir. Two additional SMCs should be crafted out from Pasir Ris-Punggol and Sembawang GRCs. After doing that, Pasir Ris-Punggol could well be 6 member GRC, increased from previous 5 as its size is still reasonable large enough to justify that.

5 member GRCs should remain at the size of about 120K to 130K voters. 6 members GRC should have size of 145K to 160K. More SMCs could be crafted out from big size GRCs while those GRCs with less than 120K could well be reduced to 4 member GRCs. This would be a more principled and rational way of redrawing the boundaries.

This would mean that for Aljunied GRC, there isn't a valid reason to increase its size, neither is there a need to reduce East Coast from 6 member to 5 member GRC. Bishan-Toa Payoh, Jurong, Holland Bukit Timah and Jalan Besar GRCs should be reduced to 4 member GRCs while Aljunied, West Coast (both without increase in size) and Tampines remain as 5 member GRCs. Ayer Rajah should remain as SMC. The 28,000 bulk of voters from Serangoon cut out from Marine Parade should be made into one SMC. Hong Kah's size is just too big for a 5 member GRC and it should become a 6 member GRC.

The following would be the outcome:
Aljunied -------------------------5
Ang Mo Kio --------------------6
Bishan Toa Payo-----------------4
East Coast ----------------------6
Holland-Bukit Panjang-----------4
Hong Kah -----------------------6
Jalan Besar ----------------------4
Jurong ---------------------------4
Marine Parade -------------------6
Pasir Ris Punggol-----------------6
Sembawang ---------------------6
Tampines ------------------------5
Tanjong Pagar-------------------6
West Coast ----------------------5

Sub Total(GRC): 73


Bukit Timah
Chua Chu Kang
Joo Chiat
Nee Soon Central
Nee Soon East
Nee Soon South (from Sembawang)
Potong Pasir (increased from Bishan-TP)
Yio Chu Kang (From Ang Mo Kio)
Sengkang (From PasirR-P)
Serangoon (From Marine Parade)

Sub Total (SMC): 12

This is what I would call a fair and rational electoral boundaries. Changes are made here, according to merits, not some arbitrary "rules" which are not explained properly. We will see that there is an increment of 1 seat as this is pretty normal as the number of voters has increased over the years. This result will provide 3 more SMCs (from 9 to 12) and 4 smaller size GRCs. This will definitely increase electoral participation rate.

Goh Meng Seng


Curious Blogger said...

hi GMS, i just have this little words for you to consider.

Why border about those issues where you are not in control of ? Electoral Boundaries are of no control at all even you spent much time on it. Please do consider to spent time on how to help people and get them to vote you instead.

After reading your posting, I really wondering should i and my wife vote you ..

Goh Meng Seng said...

Dear Curious Blogger,

There are many aspects of Nation building and of course, bread and butter issues being the most important foundation of Maslow Heirarchy of needs, will somehow dominate political discourse.

But we are human beings and we deserve something better than that.

What constitutes a cohesive society? Why would we yearn for a more cohesive society in the very first place? This is something very important for a young nation like Singapore to think about.

I think for our generations, we have been moulded by PAP's social engineering that only money matters. Only bread and butter matters. Thus, we could find that all political discourse in Singapore for the past few decades dominated by PAP, is basically on "money".

What happens to social justice? What happens to Singapore Dream and Vision?

I think we should not isolate "economic progress" alone in this complex globalized world. When I study the Nordic economic system, I find that each and every functions of the society are integrated. Economic policies cannot be substantiable in its own without the necessary accomodating infrastructures of the society, mainly, political culture, social settings and cultural settings.

It is difficult to explain the correlation of these functions. The easiest way of explaining the importance of "balanced develpoment" of the four pillars of the society which could affect the whole nation's well being is by using the corporate models.

Corporate culture determines the success or failures of a company in the long run. Economic policies may be seen as the strategic marketing strategy of the company. But for a company to be successgul, that's not the end of it. The company must develop a "social fairness" in its corporate culture. The politicking culture of the company, the cultural mindsets that the company environment provides and the social activities that affect the moral of the employees.

In Singapore's context, we are only concerned about the "marketing strategy" or the economic strategy and there is basically a neglect on the other three pilars of the country! How could Singapore be sustainable in the long run?

That is why we are sufferring serious brain drain, that is why we are moving towards a Singapore without Singaporeans or without a Soul.

What I have written here may not seem to be directly "beneficial" to your materialistic well being but I can assure you that it is very important for us and our future generations to make adjustment to our mindsets as well as the political structures inorder for us to be sustainable as a country in the long run.

What I have stated here is basically what we lack AT THIS INSTANCE of nation building.

Goh Meng Seng

Soulgroove said...

Hrm, well, I would just relate this injustice of election boundary redrawing to simple human failing. Eh I don't really know how to put it. Like everyone will definitely try all means to be dominant and that everyone is always guilty of something to try to preserve their power.

Regarding this electory boundary redrawing thing, I would make a small comparison to the United States (the bastion of freedom and true democracy).

I think I once read somewhere in The Economist that the district of Los Angeles if carved up into different wards so screwdly by politicians in power that they barely resembly any shape or coherance.

Something like Woodlands and Tiong Bahru belonging in the same ward.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Goh,

Please consider this issue for your campaign.

if Singapore is being ran like a company, do ask the in-position top leaders to peg their salary at a cap of 20 times the average singapore salary and bonus.

It does not serve to pay a premium for a leader that we elect, as we are cutting cost in running the country, the ultimate aim is for the common good.

Wishing you the best in the coming elections

Anonymous said...

Soulgroove and Curious Bloggers,

At least Mr Goh is interested in Singapore and our welfare and politics. Ask the 40+ PAP MPs who sit in parliament and do nothing. They dun ask questions, go for Meet the MP session once a week and get 13000 dollars a month.

Compared to opposition MP who have to take care of town council, ran the party, deal with heartache detractors, reply to media queries, take care of his SINGLE consituency, can't take holiday easily, misreported by press.

What we need is not more discouragement for opposition candidates. If you truly want better opposition, support them, encourage them, donate to them, join the opposition.

Really, lets email the PAP backbenchers and ask them the same questions you keep asking Mr Goh. See whether they bother to even acknowledge you like Mr. Goh.

Opposition MP cares for the people. Many PAP backbenchers do not. Just look at Hansard and you can see only a handful of PAP MPs that ask questions. Most dun even bother.

It's time for ChangE!

Anonymous said...

God bless you guvnor! I'm too afraid to say what I think

by if you read this you'll get the gist

Soulgroove said...

Dear Anonymous,

Are you really sure the "PAP Backbenchers" as you call them, or as some people call them, really don't do anything in Parliament?

Maybe perhaps you can give a few examples of certain MPs who do nothing. Name names?

Well, why don't you email a PAP backbencher and post his/her reply here, for all of us to see, if there's any?

I'm not criticising your stand. I'm asking you to give evidence and proof.

As for me, I know no MP personally so I'm not quite fit to say anything.

Goh Meng Seng said...

Dear Soulgroove,

Not that I want to put PAP MPs down but there are some whom I think are not representing the voices of people.

How so? If you would bother to do a search on the parliamentary website, hanzard, for the number of speeches each MPs made in the past four years, you will be shock that some PAP MPs make very few speeches in parliament!


Compare these with Alternative Parties' MPs and NCMP, you will see that who would be more active in parliamentary debates. Every each one of them have made at least 100+ speeches compared to PAP's 30+ 50+.

Of course, there are also PAP MPs who are very on the ball and recorded quite numerous speeches.

Goh Meng Seng

Jochen said...

Trackback: Singaporeans woke up sexually... will the wake up politically?

Students from Singapore have shown amazing enthusiasm in amateur pornography last days, flooding the net with search requests for the Tammy NYP and Bukit Batok Videos. It seems that they are not so much aware of the parliamentary elections coming closer this year...

Soulgroove said...

Dear Mr Goh,

Thanks for the great link.

Now I'm more aware of useless people sitting in parliament. Then again, thank goodness PAP knows its people have have not put such incompetent people as ministers or something like that.

But what to do if you have GRCs that give these people free entry right? Ha...

Anyway, I look forward to you contesting.


Anonymous said...

If PAP wants to give some competition to the new mps or new candidates, they should all group them together in 1 GRC and dont put any minister to lead them. But I know they wont do that.

In theory the PAP said the reason for GRC is to have a minority representation. But the truth is to protect those useless MPs or candidates who cant show their ability to win a seat by themselves.

Minister Wong Kan Seng said Singaporeans should be rational in their views on NKF. I really wonder if he really know Singaporeans or not. Because Singaporeans dont usually show any emotions on most issues. But this NKF thing really hurt alot of Singaporeans.

These current group of MPs and ministers are really not up to the standards that the 1st generation of PAPs have build. So many mistakes they have made in policies. I saw the passing away of Raja and I look at his generation, any one of them can be Prime Minister. Thats how good they are. Now? Now they need huge salaries in order for them to serve Singapore, not out of the love and attachment for Singapore.

The reason for casino is the result of their failed policies. Thats why they have to go to this direction of building a casino. They did not admit to their failed policies like the Su Zhou Industrial Park that lead to the current predicament.

The PAPs wont admit but the fact is having opposition provides good competition and keep those useless MPs on their toes or get rid of useless MPs and bring in better MPs. I knew because I was from a previously opposition run constituency.

I really hope Workers Party work hard and keep your spirit up. Dont be like the other opposition party run by that trouble maker.

Anonymous said...

How can dis be possible?????
To me,Chua Chu Kang may be right under the Hong Kah GRC wen Yeo may step down to make way for Gan who'll be leading a team....Seranggoon may stay in Aljunied...And in case of Sengkang,dis may be your brilliant idea,and I bet SDA,SDP,NSP or even RP may come in to contest...Eventually,Nee Soon South may be out of the AMK GRC as well,making AMK 5-members....But I'm against the policy of 4 member GRCs...Now why should you include my place in brink of the SDP battle as one of them,even Jalan Besar,Holland-Bukit Timah or even Jurong too,if Steve Chia may be contesting dere too....Are you sure dat you're changing from WP to NSP???Are you sure you want to spite Dr Chee's plan to contest in Bishan-Toa Payoh wif your NSP too???Potong Pasir may not be taking hundreds of the GRC residents off and may be right under the Bishan-TP instead IF the PAP had won dis up afet around 25 years....if it's may be a credible candidate up to the sense ratherly a woman.....So I want to see RP contest in some SMCs as a trial too,besides Tanjong Pagar GRC,when MM LKY face-to-face wif JBJ too....In my view,AMK has not been in fight wif the NSP in GRC form...Why?Cos the NSP had been contesting in Kebun Baru,Ang Mo Kio and Yio Chu Kang in 1988 as well as Cheng San GRC in 1991...So I don't see how the NSP may in Tampines but in near future they'll be targetin' Jalan Besar as well if they could afford it....So,what are your outcomes,Mr Goh???Are you willing to contest,lead up a team of NSP in either AMK,Jurong or even Hong Kah too???????