The Electoral Boundaries Review Committee submitted its report on 24 July 2015 and it was accepted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. This is another step towards the calling of a General Election which is now nearly confirmed to happen in 2015. Our prediction?
While many political parties derided the changes, there was one that appeared to rise above the rest - Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Secretary-General of the DPP, Benjamin Pwee, said in a statement that the changes "are not as dramatic and extensive as we had expected." Mr Pwee also applauded the increase in the number of smaller 4-member GRCs to six from two in the last election".
The changes in electoral boundaries will see 89 MPs (an increase of 2) contest in Singapore GE 2015 for 13 SMCs (an increase of 1), 6 4-Member GRC (an increase of 4), 8 5-Member GRC (a decrease of 3), 2 6-Member GRC (unchanged) and the average number of MPs per GRC 4.75 (a decrease of 0.25). What is also significant is that Wards that are under opposition control or who had been under opposition control remained unchanged. In short, as the opposition parties had asked for, the Government has given them more SMCs, smaller GRCs and less changes. The playing field has been levelled.
Fairness as some opposition parties have clamored for is impossible. Why? Simply because changes in electoral boundaries are necessary due to population shifts and there is no way to redraw a boundary that will please everyone. What the Government can do, while it is not their duty, is to level the playing field. And this is what the Report of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee 2015 has done.
The more important question ...
While many opposition parties will not like to hear this, it is nonetheless the reality. Regardless of electoral boundaries, if you are there serving residents on a daily basis, residents will know and this will translate into votes. Residents are not daft. They can tell if a political party is there to serve the resident, or whether they are there to merely win elections. The argument that you need to serve the residents that are your eventual voters only shows that your actions lack sincerity. Serve Sinaporeans first and the rest will take care of itself.
To me, and to many Singaporeans, while we may not fully agree with the way electoral boundaries are redrawn, it doeshelp to separate the real political parties from the fake. Political parties who do not serve Singaporeans residents first but want a place at the table are a dangerous lot as it reveals self-interest above Singaporeans.