<Contributed by Tan Kheng Liang>
If one were to look back at Singapore’s Parliamentary history, then he should be acquainted with fact that the GRC system was introduced shortly before the 1988 General Elections. The Election before – in 1984 – was when they loss two Seats to the opposition.
While they may argue that this GRC system was introduced to safeguard minority representation, political history has shown this to be untrue. From JBJ to Murali, there have been minority-race candidates who win on their own merit!
In fact, the biggest winner in the 2015 General Elections was led my Mr. Tharman while he was voted the most popular choice as PM! What this GRC system has done to us is that is has created a PAP-dominated Parliament which is worse than what it could have been without the GRC!
If each MP had to ‘win’ his own seat in Parliament, then their party would surely know better than to send only top-tier candidates with a proven track record to contest in elections. Existing MPs will then have to work for their place throughout their 5-year term or risk being kicked out at the next polls.
But clearly this is not the case because of the GRC system.
In fact, a WikiLeaks cable showed that a PAP MP himself admitted that his party was facing difficulties getting top talent and has resorted to getting second and third rate MPs to be fielded in GRCs. And this is made worse by the fact that SMC candidates who were rejected have gone on to become MPs by standing in GRCs instead.
To make matters worse, if a highly celebrated opposition member such as Dr. Chee had gone head to head with an unpopular candidate from the PAP, then another tiger would be in Parliament instead to hold the government accountable instead of ownself-check-ownself. Political vibrancy is then allowed to prosper!
To illustrate this in layman terms, suppose your company did not promote people individually but by department. And you happen to have a highly capable boss. Will you even bother to fight for that promotion or will you just lepak all the way knowing that your boss will lead the whole department to a promotion?
Just look at the number of MPs who have been quiet and asking stupid questions in Parliament! It is time that Singaporeans become more receptive to the ideas put by the opposition such as the abolishment of the GRC system!