A mockery of Parliament – appointed MPs, Loser MPs, Walkover MPs…

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Andrew Loh

In a democracy, the people elect its representatives to Parliament. That is the purpose of having elections.  Any schemes which go against this principle should be rejected. Why? The idea of having citizens elect their Members of Parliament is based on the notion that anyone who wants to, in effect, be in the driving seat has to have the support of the people. This in turn subjects the elected members to be accountable to the people. It is through this principle that a people is said to have a say in the affairs of the state.

With the latest round of changes to the political system, as announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday, this very principle is being mocked at, and more significantly, being set aside.

Singapore’s “democracy” will now see more un-elected MPs in Parliament. These are: appointed NMPs, “loser” NCMPs, and “walkover” MPs.

Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs) are appointed by the government. They are not elected by the people.

Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMPs) are candidates of an election who have been rejected by the people.

Walkover MPs are those who, for various reasons, do not face any contests in an election.

All three categories are MPs which have not won the people’s support or mandate.

Yet, if the latest changes were implemented in 2006, we would potentially have seen:

9 NMPs

7 NCMPs

38 Walkover MPs

That means, Parliament would have consisted of 54 MPs who were not elected by the people.  This is 58 per cent of the 93 seats in Parliament. This is astoundingly more than half the number of seats in the House.

Should we then celebrate this “political liberalization” as the prime minister packages it to be?

It is possible that we will see this 58 per cent of un-elected MPs increase in the next elections as more GRCs are created and the opposition finds it hard to contest all of them, resulting in even more “walkover” MPs for the ruling party.

Parliament being filled with a majority of un-elected members is a joke. Pure and simple, no matter what rhetoric the prime minister uses in trying to convince one and all to accept these changes.

Perhaps this is the biggest danger facing Singapore right now – that Parliament is becoming more and more un-representative of the people. This is especially so when MPs like Hri Kumar is lulled into even suggesting that the prime minister appoints un-elected Singaporeans as ministers.

What Singaporeans should also watch out for are opposition parties which, being seduced by PAP rhetoric and by its own selfish political reasons, accept such changes and even see them as “a way forward” for our democracy, or even as an "improvement" - as Ms Sylvia Lim said in Parliament today.

Clearly, a system which results in more than half of Parliament consisting of un-elected members is faulty, to say the least, and a mockery.

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