Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Concept of Power - NCMP better than Proportionate Representation?

I have refrained from making any statements or views here on this blog with regards to the recent changes announced by the PAP government because I have been looking at this issue with various perspectives.

Many people would have argued against the NCMP scheme from the political strategic and tactical point of view. Some would even consider that NCMP is a sham or "backdoor" scheme. In my view, only NMP is a sham and a backdoor scheme for the obvious reason that it has no political basis of "representation" of any kind. i.e. NMPs do not earn the empowerment of Singaporeans via the means of gaining any votes from them. They are not even close to the kind of representation as displayed by Hong Kong Legislative Council system whereby half of its members are still "ëlected" by members from their functional groups. eg. Representative from the Medical functional group is elected by doctors in the medical field. Any doctors have the right to register as a voter of that functional group.

I support the Proportionate Representation system whereby allocatoin of seats is done by the proportion of votes garnered by each contesting parties. For a 5 seat GRC, each 20% garnered by any political party will equate to 1 seat in parliament. For any remaining percentage of vote, it will depend on the which party has the higher percentage votes. eg. if in a 3 corner fight of a 5 seat GRC, PAP garnered 39% while the other two parties have 30% and 31% of the valid votes, each will have 1 seats. The fourth seat will go to PAP and the fifth seat will go to the one with 31% votes.

The basic fundamental principle of Proportionate Representation lies with the votes of the citizens. The respect of each vote that is cast by the citizens. Thus, even the political parties with lesser votes will still have the seats in parliament to represent those citizens that has empowered them via their votes.

The empowerment of these voters consists of two powers.

1) First, the right to attend and speak in parliamentary sessions.

2) Secondly, the right to vote, on behalf of those who have voted them, in ALL resolutions and legislation raised in parliament.

Technically speaking, the concept of NCMP has all similarity with the proportionate representaion system. The basis of NCMP having the right to speak in parliament lies in the empowerment of the voters that supported them. The two main differences are:

1) The number of NCMPs are limited to 9, not granted to all GRC contested.

2) Only HALF of the power and rights are given to NCMP as compared to Proportionate Representation. i.e. they are only granted the power to speak in parliamnet but not the full power of voting.

Thus it raises two interesting questions. Why would PAP, particularly the Prime Minister Lee, objected the Proportionate Representation system which is basically based on the same power concept of empowerment of voters to every candidates? In my view, their argument is pretty lame. They tried to point out the "not so successful" example of proportioante representative system while ignoring the many successful examples, especially those in Nordic countries and even Asia, like Hong Kong!

While they tried to avoid the conceptual basis of power in granting NCMP which inevitably, totally identical to the Proportionate Represenation System, they could not avoid the fact that NCMP is just a scheme to prolong their monopoly of power.

The second obvious question would be the one thrown at opposition politicians like me, on whether we will support or take up the position of NCMP. As far as I know, many people have reservation or undecided on this issue.

Personally, I would object to the NCMP scheme basically because there is a better replacement of Proportionate Representation system, which is based on the same fundamental theory of voters' representation. NCMP only provides half of the power which is, in my view, regarded as the legitimate rights of the candidates who have the support of the voters.

Thus, would it mean that I will definitely object to take up the NCMP position? Nope. I will draw this analogy of casino, since PAP likes casino so much. If you step into the casino to gamble and won $100 but in the end, the casino owner is only willing to give you $50. Would you take it? Yes, I will take it but that doesn't mean that I will stop there. I wil take that $50 but still, chasing after the casino owner for the other $50!

Many people would view that by taking up the NCMP seat, it is just like going into the parliament via the "backdoor". No. Only NMPs walk into the parliament via the "backdoor" because they do not go through the hassle of contesting in electoins and getting the necessary endorsement and empowerment of the voters before they get into parliament. For any people who walk into the parliament with the backing of voters'support, they have all the rights to hold their heads high.

I believe that a matured democratic political system will inevitably developed into the Proportionate Representation system. This is because a stable political system will not only provide the necessary checks and balances on potential monopoly of power, but also on the tyranny of majority rule.

The PAP has no ideological nor political basis to expand the NMP scheme because this in fact, contradicts the concept of empowerment of voters, which all electoral systems are based on. And they have actually short changed voters, especially those who voted for other political parties, by not granting their full legitimate rights as MPs that are voted, endorsed and empowered by the voters, even though they did not get the majority votes.

Voters and opposition polticians alike, should see through such ploy. We should object to such a system that short changed our rights and the power of our votes, but at the same time, should not be shy to take back the half our legitimate rights and power. If someone is only willing to repay you half of his debt, you should take the half payment and continue to chase after the other half, regardless of what he says.

Goh Meng Seng

1 comment:

soojenn said...

"Voters and opposition polticians alike, should see through such ploy. We should object to such a system that short changed our rights and the power of our votes, but at the same time, should not be shy to take back the half our legitimate rights and power. If someone is only willing to repay you half of his debt, you should take the half payment and continue to chase after the other half, regardless of what he says."

Well articulated... and the propposition should continue to work to get the other half the legitimate rights back.

NCMPs are not the only ones that "walk into the parliament via the "backdoor" because they do not go through the hassle of contesting in electoins and getting the necessary endorsement and empowerment of the voters before they get into parliament. For any people who walk into the parliament with the backing of voters'support, they have all the rights to hold their heads high.". many of the current ministers, including senior ones have NEVER been elected and actually booted out in the single seat constituent.

NCMPs having a voice in parliament - I think this voice is a tame one. For the NCMPs who want to continue being one, and since they do not represent any voters, their voice in parliament is more like a show for the incumbents.