NCMP scheme is a bait for the opposition

The following article was first published in

by Ng E-Jay

For the first time since Singapore’s independence, the opposition look set to contest most, if not all, of the Parliamentary seats. This is a remarkable achievement for the opposition which contested only slightly over 55% of the seats up for grabs during the last election.

The groundswell since the last election is palpable. People are concerned with housing prices, immigration, and foreigners taking jobs, suppressing wages and diluting the local culture. As a result of the increased level of disgruntlement, I am anticipating that the PAP’s share of the valid vote nationwide will drop to between 56% and 60%. There will be many close fights in a number of GRCs.

The PAP obviously knows it will most likely do poorer in this coming election. It has pulled tricks out of its hat to confuse the opposition and mitigate the damage it might face. One of the more nefarious tricks is the revised NCMP scheme which mandates that 9 NCMP positions be filled by the best performing opposition candidates should less than 9 seats be won outright by the opposition.

The purpose of this PAP ploy is to distract the opposition and create an incentive for more in-fighting and inter-party rivalry. The PAP thinks that by doing so, opposition candidates will be tempted to spread themselves out in order to maximize their chances of becoming NCMPs, instead of focussing their efforts on a few choice GRCs with the aim of breaking the GRC gridlock. Opposition candidates might also be motivated to compete with one another for favourable constituencies, increasing the chances of squabbles.

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