People’s Action Party candidate, Teo Chee Hean made a Facebook post yesterday (25 Jun) to share some “facts” about this GE with Singaporeans.
In particular, the Senior Minister in the 13th Parliament wanted to tell Singaporeans the composition of the next Parliament after GE. He said, “There will be 93 elected MPs, up from the current 89 elected MPs.”
“The Constitution also ensures that there will be at least 21 alternative voices in Parliament after this GE,” he pointed out.
He explained that apart from candidates of alternative parties who win seats, there will be:
- up to 12 Non-Constituency MPs (NCMPs) from among the remaining non-PAP candidates who have received the highest votes
- 9 Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs)
The allotted 12 NCMP positions will guarantee at least 12 non-PAP MPs in the new Parliament, compared to 9 in the last Parliament, he said.
He also added that all NCMPs will now have full voting rights, including for:
- Constitutional amendments;
- supply bills for the budget;
- money bills;
- motions of no confidence in the Government; and
- removal of the President from office.
In other words, Teo is saying that NCMPs are as good as ordinary MPs, implying that Singaporeans can continue to vote for his incumbent party, and still get alternative voices to be heard in Parliament.
NMPs are chosen and not voted in by the people. They are supposed to offer non-partisan perspectives on various matters in arts, culture, sports, sciences, business, industry, professions, community service or the labour movement.
But in the past, many NMPs were noted to be connected to the ruling PAP party one way or another. For example, Calvin Cheng who was picked to be NMP from 2009 to 2011, was found to be actually a Young PAP member. Cheng was forced to resign from PAP shortly thereafter in order to give the public the assurance that he would be a “non-partisan” NMP.
Also, people have to be aware that NCMPs and NMPs are not allowed to vote on the Constitutional Bills under the Parliament rules. Just like how they were helpless to voice out against the amendments to the Elected Presidency.
Meanwhile, at the Singapore Bicentennial Conference last October, former Singapore’s UN Permanent Representative Professor Tommy Koh cautioned the 4th generation PAP leaders that one of their priorities should be to make Singapore a more equal society (‘Prof Koh tells 4G leaders: We don’t want more S’poreans to become Grab drivers and angry voters‘).
These include looking into allegations of discriminatory hiring practices and working to make Singapore a classless society, he told the audience. He said, “Today, Singapore is not a classless society. We are divided by wealth, by income, by profession, by place of residence, and even by the school we attend.”
“We should not abandon the displaced workers because we don’t want more and more Singaporeans to become Grab drivers or, worse, to join the ranks of the angry voters,” he warned.
“Remember this: It was the angry voters who helped to elect President (Donald) Trump in the United States. It was the angry voters in the United Kingdom who voted to leave the European Union.”
With mounting angry voices being heard in Singapore these days, it’s not known if the 12 NCMP positions as mentioned by Teo would be enough to represent them in Parliament.