It should be a rule that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee be announced as soon as it is formed, says Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss

Last week on 4 September, the Elections Department announced that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) had been formed and is “in the midst of deliberations”.

The announcement caught everyone’s attention as the formation of the EBRC is usually a sign that elections are just around the corner.

On Facebook, vocal opposition politician and former member of the Singapore People’s Party (SPP) Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss pointed out that when Worker’s Party MP Pritam Singh had put forth a question in Parliament in July about the formation of the EBRC. MP Chan Chun Sing said in response that it had not been formed yet.

However, Mr Chong-Aruldoss noted that the ED announced that the EBRC had in fact been formed ‘last month’, or sometime in August 2019. As such, she questioned why the formation of the committee wasn’t announced as soon as it was formed.

She highlighted how before the GE2015, the EBRC was only announced two months after it had been formed, and only in response to a question in Parliament.

Ms Chong-Aruldoss said, “Under Singapore’s electoral rules, there is no requirement for an announcement to be made when the EBRC is formed.”

“Perhaps there should be such a requirement, given the paramount importance of GE and the public’s keen interest in and anticipation of the next GE,” she suggested.

Ms Chong-Aruldoss further remarked, “Is the ruling party serving the citizenry to be reticent about the formation of the EBRC, only revealing its formation when asked in Parliament or at the time of the ruling party’s choosing?”

The practising lawyer asserted that Singaporeans are entitled to choose their leaders via free and fair elections.

She added, “In the interest of free and fair elections, it should be made a rule that the EBRC’s formation must be announced upon its formation, rather than its formation only being revealed to the public when the ruling party is asked in Parliament or at the time of the ruling party’s choosing.”