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
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