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:
- NCMP’s should be allowed to vote on all matters including the following which they are presently denied :
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.
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