Sunday, August 02, 2015

#butilovesingaporemore : EBRC needs to change to reduce gerrymandering stain

Dear Friends,

When the report of the ELECTORAL BOUNDARIES REVIEW COMMITTEE  (EBRC) was presented to parliament as a white paper on 24th July 2015, there was understandable skepticism from a sizable segment of the population.

For instance, in a Sunday Times article (The new GRC: Jalan Besar 2nd Aug 2015), it was noted that Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew’s Moulmein ward has all but disappeared into 3 different GRC’s ( Tanjong Pagar/Holland-Bt Timah/Bishan-TP). Of course all of us know Lui helms the ministry that is closely related to SMRT’s recent hiccups. I do not need to remind all about another ward ie Joo Chiat, as it will soon be a distant memory ( disappearing into Marine Parade GRC).
My previous post about Gerrymandering click here.

Whether this skepticism was justifiable is a point for further debate as the government did point out that the opposition was not obviously disadvantaged as Worker’s Party (WP) held wards were left intact as was Potong Pasir which Mrs Lina Chiam of the Singapore People’s Party (SPP) lost by the slimmest of margins in GE 2011.

That there was concern about the neutrality of the committee is not unexpected as the chairman was after all Mr. Tan Tee Yong, the Secretary to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, although the rest of the committee were experts who would generally be needed to provide professional input for such a report.

They were Dr Cheong Koon Hean – Chief Executive Officer, Housing Development Board (HDB), Mr Tan Boon Khai, – Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Land Authority (SLA)
, Ms Wong Wee Kim – Chief Statistician at Singapore Statistics and Secretary, Mr Lee Seng Lup – Head of Election Department.

A few clarifications would help reduce accusations of gerrymandering and to  preserve the good standing of Singapore:
  1. What were the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the EBRC report
  2. Other than the TOR, it would be wonderful if the EBRC could confirm that no other inputs eg which may benefit or vice versa any political parties, were considered.

I humbly suggest the following:
  1. As in the UK (Boundary Commissions)  and Hong Kong (Electoral Affairs Commission), such a committee should be headed by a judge. NB In the UK, allthough the Speaker of the House of Commons is the ex officio Chairman, he takes no part in the proceedings and the Deputy Chairman of the Commission, who presides over Commission meetings, is always a Justice.
  2. The minutes of the EBRC should be open for public scrutiny.
  3. EBRC should be convened at fixed intervals, eg 5 yearly

I also long for the day when the Elections department is run as an independent body ( unlike being under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) now). Should I be optimistic or follow some people’s advise who say I need to wait “long long” (Hokkien vernacular).

The processes of public affairs should not just be fair but also seen to be fair.

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan

NB: #butilovesingaporemore : the reason why I speak up. It is not because i do not like the PAP . In fact there are many aspects of the PAP that resonates with me.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

#butilovesingaporemore : why i press on

Dear Friends,

Singapore has done well compared to the ‘hood (ASEAN)

Personally I have done well compared to many of comparable ability in the hood. This I thank Singapore.

I appreciate that and have paid forward by serving my fellow human beings in which ever communities I have been placed in.

PM Lee Hsien Loong, his 2 DPM's are capable honest men who have Singapore’s well-being at heart.

The next rung of the ruling echelon esply the 4 young guns are promising ...

Lest we forget :

But I remember what it was like when the PAP held absolute power.

1.When they held 100% of the seats or at most had J B Jeyaratnam (JBJ) (WP) and Chiam See Tong (CST) (then SDP) for sparring partners ( some say punching bags).

2. Graduate mother policies… (children of graduates have priority in elite schools.)
Non-graduate mothers in many cases were pressurised in dubious circumstances to undergo surgery to their reproductive systems to prevent further childbirth

3. Opposition wards do not get use of people’s tax monies for HDB upgrading…

3. Politicians hounded and bankrupted in very controversial circumstances...

Not there yet:
Many obnoxious legacies  still remain:

1. Stranglehold on the media Link to Wiki on Sg Media

2. Role of People's Association grassroots movements:  even in wards won by the non-PAP parties, the use of people's tax monies are controlled by PAP politicians Link to role of PA in non-PAP ward

3. GRC (Group Representative Constituency)  : one ex-PM famously said that this allows PAP candidates to get into parliament on the coat-tails of Minister candidates. If not, few PAP candidates will be willing to stand for fear of losing. Yes, he really said this! Link to what GCT said about GRC

4. Highest politicians' salaries in the world for which (IMHO) few of the politicians deserve

Job only half done:

Hence it is my reasoned opinion that if not for the threat of further defeat at general elections, the nascent reforms by the PAP would not have seen the light of day.

Pluralistic multi-party politics must be supported and nurtured by Singaporeans. It is much too early in the day to stop supporting non-PAP politicians , although none of them are perfect.

I like the recent government reforms and appreciate that all MP's ( even PAP ones) try their best for their residents.

I like PM Lee and the DPM's ( esply the one in the west and would support him if he is called to be PM one day) ...

But #butilovesingaporemore.


Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan

NB: Using the hashtag #butilovesingaporemore, I will share my thinking about the state of Sg over the next crucial few months.

Friday, March 27, 2015


How is it that bitter pills past,
No longer taste as bad.
And chiding words to ears harsh then,...
Now only sound a little sad.

How is it that not just friends
But foes line round them streets,
To show we now truly know
Most what's done then was what we need.

How is it that now tis clear,
Whilst still awake you do divide,
When sleep comes as it surely must,
As one tribe, we strangely unite!

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan
26th March 2015
(On the 4th Day)