When Parliament convenes again today (Monday, 6 January), Workers’ Party secretary-general Pritam Singh is set to ask PM Lee once again when the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) report will be released. The EBRC had been formed in August 2019, and those with an eye on Singapore’s next General Elections would be extremely interested to know whether the EBRC has completed its deliberations and when will the EBRC report be released to the public.
Typically, the report will mark the first formal step towards the call for the GE, as the report will detail boundaries of constituencies prior to the next GE to be called. The next GE must be called before April 2021, so that leaves a window of slightly less than one and a half year. In the past three GEs, the EBRC has taken between two to four months to complete the review. The time between the release of the EBRC’s report and polling day has ranged from as little as 17 days to as long as six months, in Singapore history. It has not been 5 months since the EBRC was formed, thus a report can be expected any time. And once that report is out, Singaporeans can expect the GE to be held soon too.
It should also be noted that the EBRC had been tasked to reduce the size of the GRC already existing, and to increase the the number of Single wards. Mr Pritam Singh is also set to ask whether the EBRC can explain how they draw up the boundaries, and their reasons for creating GRC and absorbing of Single wards into a GRC.
Pritam Singh is not asking for much, but for the government’s mechanisms to be transparent in how they go about discharging their duties. However, it will be doubtful that the actual date of the EBRC report release will be announced. It is a given that when the report is finally out, the governing party would have strategise their plans based on the reports, leaving the opposition to scramble to counter them. This is yet another election tactic built in such a way as to give as much advantage as possible to the incumbents.
Opposition parties are basically fighting a losing battle even before the GE date is announced.