Friday, July 04, 2014

Progression to Multiple Proportional Representation System




I do not agree with NSP's latest CRM proposal at all although it has made some valid points about the need to abolish the GRC system. The present GRC system has its apparent weaknesses but the most important point is that it has created an inherent instability to the a small nation like Singapore. It is not just about how the GRC would give the incumbent, PAP at this moment, the advantages over opposition parties. 

The GRC system might have serve PAP's intention of monopoly well for the past decades but in this new era, it has become a double edged sword instead. There is absolutely no guarantee for PAP to win all GRCs as proven by WP's victory in Aljunied GRC in GE2011. It is not just merely about win or lose for PAP but the truth is, PAP has lost two ministers in one shot due to GRC! 

Imagine if PAP is to lose 40% of the seats aka 40% of its GRC, it would mean that it may just lose more than 40% of its ministers altogether despite the fact that it still maintains its status as the ruling party! Thus the GRC system has become a great liability and baggage for ALL parties as well as Singapore as a whole. This is the main reason why the GRC system must be reviewed for the stability sake of Singapore. 

But to abolish the GRC system and revert back to the primitive system of single seat FPTP system is definitely not a progressive way. We may have to do a total revamp of our electoral system altogether instead of just engaging in a dualistic approach. Both the present GRC and the proposed ALL-SMC systems ignore the fact that there will always be voters "unrepresented" in the whole process. eg. if in a constituency, 40% voted PAP but it turns out that NSP won the seat(s) either in GRC or SMC, these 40% voters' choice will not be represented at all. A proportional representation system would have addressed this fundamental problem once and for all. 

We should have a Two-Tier electoral system and ironically, SMCs should be abolished totally, if equal weight and parity were to be enjoyed by every voter. We may only have a ONE SIZE group representative system eg. 4 seats for each group. 

There will be four votes allocated to each voter. One is to elect a local Town Councillor for municipal representation, one for legislative parliamentarian, one for "National" minority representative (either by party vote or individual vote) and one for "National" party leaders from the different parties. 

The rationale for such system is that Parliamentarians should only concentrate on legislative matters instead of being tasked to run the town councils. The Town Councils can be run by those town councilors who are elected separately by another vote. One Group of Constituencies may have 4 Candidates voted into parliament as MP but it could have as many as 10 Town Councilors voted to represent different districts within the group of Constituencies. 

All these MPs and Town Councilors will be allocated according to the proportions of the votes each party or independent candidates get. eg. for each 25% of the votes garnered, the party will get one seat in parliament and thereafter, depending on the size of the remaining percentage of votes, independent candidates or party candidates can be allocated accordingly. 

Similarly, for every 10% of the votes, each party will be allocated one seat for Town Council and so on. 

As for National votes, it will be opened to only participating parties with sizable number of candidates contesting (eg. at least 25% or 30% of the total parliamentary seats). Voters could either vote according to party line (aka party logo) and allows the parties to allocate these votes to their line up of candidates, or vote on the listed names of the individual candidates from the parties contesting. This is to allow parties to maintain the key potential ministers the parties wanted to include in its cabinet ministers' line up if it becomes the ruling party or part of any ruling coalition to be chosen by the voters. 

The minority candidates from each party will also be voted in through this National level proportional representation method. Minority candidates can also participate in the Local Group representation contest as well. 

A fixed total number of seats should be allocated to both National Party Leaders section as well as the National Minority Section. All seats in these two sections will be allocated proportionately to the parties.

Such a system will address quite a number of problems. It guarantees that our political system will have enough of the "ministerial caliber" politicians being voted or retained in the political system to provide a stability to the National leadership. 

It will also provide the opportunity for proportionate diversity in the representation of minority voices in parliament. 

Technically speaking, all voters will be "REPRESENTED" in parliament via their votes, even if they are of minority choice or voice. 

Parliamentarians will be released from the distractions of running municipal functions and can focus on their core job of legislative matters. They could still have offices set up in their constituencies to attend to matters concerning their constituents, other than municipal issues. Town Councilors elected will serve to manage these municipal issues instead. 

Such a system will enhance professionalism in the legislative functions in parliament and provide a stability to National leadership.


Goh Meng Seng

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