Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Electoral Boundaries Review Committee- Must be seen to be fair

Hi friends,
I believe in level playing fields.
I also believe that the referee and other match officials should be neutral and not be affiliated to any of the contending sports teams playing in any competition.
Hence my letter below.
Another futile attempt to extract fairness from the incumbent?
My philosophy has always been "You never know until you have tried"

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan

The Letter to forum editor

Dear Editor,

Singapore must have the next general elections (GE) on or before February 2012.

Bone of contention: Boundaries of electoral wards

A major bone of contention in many of our past GE’s had been the manner in which the boundaries of constituencies were often awkwardly redrawn (eg Braddell Heights becoming part of Marine Parade GRC) and how these changes were then presented to the political parties and the electorate only a few days or weeks before nomination day.

This reshaping of electoral wards (known as gerrymandering if this is deemed to benefit incumbent parties) and the short time interval was said to disadvantage opposition political parties as this leaves them little time to work the ground effectively.

Incidentally, “gerrymandering” (click here) was coined after Governor Elbridge Gerry, a Massachusetts politician who in 1812, changed the electoral districts in the Boston area to benefit his own party. Unfortunately, he did not realise that the resultant shape of the districts looked like a lizard-like salamander. (see above Picture of Boston after gerrymandering)

Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC): not transparent enough

The perception on the ground is that the work of our Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC), whose Terms of Reference include recommending new constituencies and boundaries, taking into account significant demographic changes, is not transparent enough.

The EBRC reports directly to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and also consists mainly of civil servants or employees of state-related companies. Questions of whether there are “conflict of interest” issues in such an arrangement will always arise whenever boundary changes occur that seem to penalise the opposition, such as when two GRC’s which were close calls for the PAP ie Cheng San and Eunos, coincidentally vanished from electoral maps.

To reduce skepticism, may I suggest that the EBRC:
• include representations from political parties, as it was in 1958 when dissenting members were able to publish a minority report
• explain in detail why changes are made
• report to a non-political body eg the President or other prominent Singaporean

In this way, our future GE’s will not only be fair, but also seen to be fair.

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan


30yuan said...

Establishing a level playing field for all to compete is the most fundamental step to gaining the trust of people. The basics like this should be addressed with more care. I think there shd also be some sort of dateline bef the election that the boundaries are announced.

Anonymous said...

Dr Huang,
you forget to mention the most potent remark by the clown whose the electorate department is under. The remark of "conflict of interest" by a clown." How can election be fair when the clown himself admit that he is doing unfair and injustice thing publicly ?

"Right now we have Low Thia Khiang, Chiam See Tong, Steve Chia. We can deal with them. Suppose you had 10, 15, 20 opposition members in Parliament. Instead of spending my time thinking what is the right policy for Singapore, I’m going to spend all my time thinking what’s the right way to fix them, to buy my supporters votes, how can I solve this week’s problem and forget about next year’s challenges? (2006)

Change has to take place in Singapore but change must take place not (between parties) but within the PAP. (2008)"

Anonymous said...

pap so scare to lose.


Anonymous said...

i feel singapore doctors are quite brave like you.

like recently dr ong from healthway clinic mentioned he is founder of temesek review.

salute to you and dr ong.

all the best and good luck.

come out to fight in election to be mp and help singaporeans.

Anonymous said...

Speaking for myself, as a layman, me prefers doctors to be just medical practitioners. From a personal perspective, arrived at from the actions of those doctors turned politicians, once doctors become politicians, they forget their Hippocratic Oath. Many became beholden to their seniors and superiors and sadly become incapable of independent decision.

Maybe once political affiliated, linked and associated, they naturally lose their neutrality and hence independence as well.

Well, just another personal view again, doctors should just concentrate on helping to lessen pain and suffering and to save life. Be kind to the sick and poor.


Anonymous said...

They switched from Hippocratic Oath to Hypocrite Oath and claimed to lose much in incomes.
Believeable ?