What kind of a species is the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP)? The answer: one of a kind, which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
An MP that is not elected by the people? An MP without a constituency? An MP who can speak in Parliament but cannot vote? An MP that ranks among the “best losers” in an election?
You have to hand it to the People’s Action Party. If there’s one thing they are good at, it is coming up with such oddities and paradoxical gems.
The NCMP scheme puts the Opposition in a bind. Support it and they endorse a veiled attempt at having mock Opposition, at giving a semblance of more Opposition than there really is.
Reject it and the Opposition risks being sidelined if they cannot get into Parliament by the front door, as elected representatives.
So it’s quite a clever one.
The Group Representation Constituency (GRC) is yet another of those things. Voting in MPs as a bloc rather than as individuals? Where else but in this country do the leaders come up with such an idea?
You can essentially get into Parliament without making a speech, with all those walkovers. You can get in by the back door, if you are in a GRC nobody will touch or go near even with a 10-foot pole.
The one that gives the NCMP a run for its money has got to be the Reserved Elected Presidency (REP).
First, presidents were appointed by Parliament, then they had to be elected, and then they came up with the idea of stamping “reserved” on the elected presidency.
The beauty of it all is that the elected presidency ended by being reserved for someone of a different race than what it was intended for.
So it’s not only an oddity, it’s a head scratcher.
We haven’t even begun to talk about stuff like COE, ERP and ARF. Not to mention specially created positions with high sounding names like Minister Mentor and Emeritus Senior Minister.
Our leaders do channel some of their thinking and execution in ways that are unique to this country.
Just think NCMP – isn’t that a good one?