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Another potential problem with the GRC

Andy Loh/

Much has been said about how the GRC system has failed because it has seen the exit of able politicians and the entry of politicians who were considered less than able. However, this is not the only failing of the GRC system.

The GRC system violates one important tenet of the deomcratic process (which is the one man, one vote system). It threatens a fundamental aspect of being Singaporean – that we are a society based on equality, as stated in our national pledge.

To illustrate - a constituent in a six-member GRC technically has up to 6 times the influence in Parliament than a constituent in a SMC. Since it is inherently in the interest of MPs to represent the interests of their constituents in Parliament, the constituent in a bigger GRC would have an advantage over one belonging to a smaller
GRC, and even more so over a constituent belonging to that of a SMC.

Given that Parliament is where laws are created, amended and repealed, this will have far-reaching consequences on the lives of constituents. Since there are presently 3, 4, 5 and 6 member GRCs as well as SMCs, it would appear that not all Singaporeans are equal in terms of representation in Parliament.

This problem has not come to a head because of the one-party rule we've had since independence.  That in itself has had its own problems, but one thing at a time. Moving forward, if Singapore's Parliament ever evolves into a multi-party one, the GRC system could prove to be problematic. It is perhaps a good time to dismantle the GRC system and make every ward a SMC.