Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) scheme: Changes needed

Dear Friends,
Now that the dust has started to settle after the dramatic GE2015, I have some thoughts on how the Non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) scheme can be improved to better reflect the aspirations of the electorate.
Click link here.

I do not think many will disagree that there is still a desire by the electorate for diversity of views in the parliament notwithstanding the convincing win by the ruling PAP.

To help ingrain the NCMP scheme so that it is not just perceived as a token to satisfy the wish of a segment of the electorate who clamour for multi-party democracy (ie to add legitimacy), I propose the following:
  1. NCMP’s should be allowed to vote on all matters including the following which they are presently denied :
Amendments to the Constitution.
Any motion pertaining to a bill to amend a supply bill, supplementary supply bill or final supply bill.
Any motion pertaining to a Bill to amend a money bill.

However in my opinion,the present last two exceptions of voting on motions of no confidence in the Government and removal of the President from office should still remain.

      2. As NCMP’s will now have full legislative duties and only differ from other MP’s by not having a community role (they do not have constituents to look after), their remuneration should be raised from the present 15% of a MP’s allowance ( which is rather derisory)  to at least 50%. (Note: Present annual allowances of NCMP  & MP are $28,900 and $192,500 respectively). They should have similar perks including funds to employ legislative assistants etc.  

       3. NCMP scheme might also be expanded to include not just opposition party MP’s but also ruling party MP’s. For example if up 18 seats are allocated for opposition party MP’s and NCMP’s (present parliament has 9 allocated seats) and opposition MP’s only won 12 seats outright by “First Past the Post” method, the next 6 highest candidates ( from any party) will be allocated NCMP seats. The house will benefit from the contributions of good quality NCMP’s from either side of the political aisle.

        4. Office-bearers should be allowed to be selected from NCMP’s hence giving more choice for the government of the day.
        5. All NCMP positions must be filled and not left vacant as the present scheme already ensures a minimum standard in that the present NCMP-elects must have garnered at least 15% of the total number of votes

With these improvements, Singaporeans will benefit from the contributions of NCMP’s in the current term of parliament and furthermore , the electorate can decide if they also want these NCMP’s to play a community role as their MP’s come the next General Election

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan

Sunday, September 06, 2015

AHPETC: TC statistics show WP can run TC's #ge2015 #sgpolitics

Hi Friends,
LTK playing "victim" again?

Straits Times Editor-at-large Han Fook Kwong likens this weekend as Half-time in GE2015 football match and that at 0-0, 

“ It is unlikely any party can come up with a brilliant move that will change the course of the GE….  it may be more important not to score an own goal by making a mistake or a misstep..”

To most of us, what is infinitely worse than losing by an own goal is when the match is won by a dubious goal eg Maradona’s Hand of God

Other non-football analogy is winning election by dirty tricks eg Taiwan 2004 when Taiwan’s DPP incumbent Presidential candidate Chen Shui Bian won by sympathy votes after a widely believed to be a staged assassination attempt (3-19 incident ).

Let me state here and now that I believe all our past elections were clean and won/lost fairly and squarely.
Going back to football analogy, in Singapore it is widely acknowledged that the MSM had played a role ( many believed unfairly) in the past. But this could be changing ( see my previous post)

However another force is counter-balancing MSM and that is new media (bloggers, blog aggregators) and to this end I like to refer to one blog post that could essentially be the deciding goal (game changer?) for the WP-PAP faceoff in the East. 

The above is an excellent article which collated the Income Statements from all the Town Councils for the Financial Years 2012/2013 & 2013/2014 to compare 4 vital aspects of TC management and how AHPETC ( Aljunied Hougang Punggol East Town Council) compares with the other PAP-controlled town councils.

1) Conservancy & Service Fees
In 2013, AHPETC was the second "cheapest" town and it was ranked 11th most expensive (out of 15 Town Councils) in 2014.

2) Total Operating Expenditure
In 2013, AHPETC was the second most penny pinching town and it was ranked 10th in spending per electorate in 2014.

3) Government Grants
The Town Council which received the most "government support" in 2013 was Ang Moh Kio TC which comprises of Ang Moh Kio GRC and Seng Kang West SMC, while AHPETC placed last.

In 2014, The top place went to Tanjong Pagar TC which comprises of Tanjong Pagar GRC and Radin Mas SMC. AHPETC was placed 13th.In this sense, AHPETC has received less support from the government per electorate than most Town Councils.

4) Operating Deficit
In 2013, AHPETC was placed 10th. It incurred less deficit than 5 other TCs and is among the top 67th percentile in terms of deficit management. However, in 2014, AHPETC was placed last. There was a $9 increase deficit per voter from 2013 to 2014.

The author Lam said:
“ In conclusion, AHPETC experienced marked increase in operating expenditure in 2014. However, AHPETC performs above the average Town Council in terms of tax burden and operating expenditure per electorate. Furthermore, AHPETC is among the bottom 20% or the lowest in terms of support from the Government through Government Grants.”

In a nutshell, to family member “A” and many like her who were very perturbed by what they heard from the PAP leaders that WP cannot be trusted as their TC management was in shambles, this article will help to clear this doubt out of the way and they can assess the parties on other criteria.

What about the latest accusations about the presence of surpluses or deficits of Hougang & Punggol East respectively when the 2 SMC’s were merged into Aljunied TC, I believe the WP could have been mistaken about Punggol East and they were premature to accuse PAP of “creative attitude towards the truth”  ( quoting Kenneth Jeyaratnam (KJ) referring to Han Hui Hui (H3)  and hence owes PAP either a retraction, apology or some explanation. See PAP rebuttal here 

On the other hand, PAP also owes WP a retraction about Hougang’s deficit. See here  So no win no lose.

So like the time in the playground 50 years ago when I quarreled with a kampong friend, let’s leave it at : 

"No, You say sorry first! Howzat?"

Remember, we are all Singaporeans and we try so hard to win because we love Singapore!

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan

Friday, September 04, 2015

PAP and MSM no longer on the same page? MSM loosens shackles? #ge2015 #sgpolitics


Hi Friends,
1. AHPETC- it goes on ad nauseum and I continue to puke

The #GE2015 is in full swing and like the rest of the Singapore I cannot escape from hearing about the AHPETC ( Aljunied Hougang Punggol East Town Council) saga. The 6 letters A.H.P.E.T.C haunt all of us to no end!

I will not bore you with the details but it is essentially a “he say… but she say.. and then he say.. she say etc.”sort of scenario.  Yawn! I think you get the picture. It is a stalemate mate!

Can I give the PAP a piece of advice- stop harping on it already! If you think the WP MP’s are all a bunch of crooks, please round them up and send them to jail already!
Saying that we should set higher standards ( than who? You?- you are kidding right?) than just not going to jail ( said LHL/KBW/S), or that it should not just be meeting the letter of the law but also the spirit of it ( NEH), is a bit hard to swallow, esply coming from the PAP, which is not exactly a role model ( to say the least).

I can’t think straight now, but off hand, PAP had Op Coldstore; Op Spectrum; YOG;  Brompton; Withdrawal of services from Hougang/PP / AIM/ AGO on PA etc.
Is there double standards? What do you think?

So besides believing the PAP (swallowing the bait, hook and sinker)  , that the PAP’s hearts are pure and virtuous, we are to believe that the WP’s are black and dirty?

What was mentioned by PAP and conversely by WP could plausibly be true ( depends on whom you speak to) … Now it just boils down to …
Either you believe it or not!

A favourite author of mine Murakami said in 1Q84 :
“If you can't understand it without an explanation, you can't understand it with an explanation.”

Or like Gerald Giam ( WP Candidate for East Coast GRC) said :   
“And just because the PAP does not want to accept our explanations does not mean we haven't explained”

2.PAP has done this before but why does it not work this time?
PAP has done this before in previous GE’s ( no surprise) eg James Gomez; JBJ; Tang  etc

But why is it different this time round compared to previous GE’s?  The MSM ( Maintream Media) or traditional media eg ST/Mediacorp etc is not having anymore of the status quo… The press wants freedom and democracy as much as the next guy? Is it possible?

I spoke to a SPH journalist and said that

The **** ( name of the newspaper) seem to be fairer to all sides this GE? . The journalist ( the sex hidden to hide the identity) said that in this day and age of the new media, **** has no choice. Readers will read from other sources ( or watch other video channels) if they deemed MSM being PAP’s mouthpiece.

BTW-Straits Times started as being anti-PAP!

Some one chided me that I should not praise journalists for just doing what they are supposed to?

But I am a hopeless optimist (naïve you say?)  and I feel that with the encouragement of the people and competition from new media, MSM eg Straits Times, LHZB , Mediacorp etc can step up to the plate and play its roles as the “Fourth Estate”

3. Singapore’s MSM is now our Fourth Estate? (don't laugh)
The “Fourth Estate’s” coinage has been attributed to Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797), a British politician. It comes from a quote in Thomas Carlyle's book, "Heros and Hero Worship in History" (1841).

"Burke said that there were three Estates in Parliament, but in the Reporters Gallery yonder, there sat a fourth Estate more important far than they all."

The three estates in the above quote referred to the British parliament,( the Lords Temporal, the Lords Spiritual and the Commons). The Lords Temporal and the Lords Spiritual combined being The House of Lords, the upper House of parliament. And the Commons is The House of Commons or the British lower House.

Am I naïve and will time prove that the MSM has a last trick up its sleeve and is just lulling me into a false sense of security and then pulling a fast one just before 9-11?

4.… but just in case I am wrong

Then I say, on Cooling off day (Sept 10)- do not watch or read any Singapore originated newspaper nor listen/watch any Mediacorp news broadcast.

Do we have to be do cynical?

May the best candidates win! Majullah Singapura!

Let's celebrate or mourn whatever the results may be and live and fight another day!

Oh.. don't forget we are all Singaporeans and we are doing this because we all love Singapore!
Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan