“Democracy in Singapore will have a sad day if all the alternative parties are wiped out in this election with no alternative [constituency Member of Parliament] in Parliament,” said Progress Singapore Party (PSP) assistant secretary general Leong Mun Wai on Facebook on Tuesday (7 July).
In a post, Mr Leong—who is contesting at West Coast GRC with four other PSP candidates— said it is “surprising” that the possibility of PAP losing power is still being raised as a factor in this general election.
Mr Leong wrote, “I can assure you (and willing to bet a million for one odds) that the PAP will still form the government after the polling day on Jul 10.”
“It is not a reckless statement or impulsive bet. It is justified and backed by facts from history, theory and practice,” he asserted.
Mr Leong went on to talk about the “first-pass-the-post” (FPTP) electoral system in Singapore which “only elects the winner who needs to garner only 50% plus one votes.”
Mr Leong said, “So theoretically, for a party which forms a government with a simple majority of Parliament only need to win 51% of the seats with 50% of the votes of each constituency. This means that party only needs 25% (51 x 50) of the votes to form a government!”
A major disadvantage for voters under this system is that “the other more than 49% of voters” who voted for the opposition are “ignored”, he emphasised.
“The FPTP system favours the larger parties who have strong ground operations to garner support from the local residents. And they only need to be entrenched in 51% of the seats or constituencies and they can form the government again and again,” Mr Leong elaborated.
He went on, “Our PAP government is a super-entrenched government with its 60 years of rule and good track record in the early years of nationhood.”
“Actually they do not need to do the gerrymandering and unfair practices and they will still easily get an absolute majority,” added the PSP assistant general.
Noting the group representation system which “further cemented” this “theoretical advantage”, Mr Leong gave the example of the 1963 general election where the People’s Action Party (PAP) won 73 percent of the votes with 47 percent of the vote shared.
“Hence there is no proportional relationship between the number of seats and the vote share,” he pointed out.
“And since 1968, there has been a consistently 30% to 40% of opposition vote, but the opposition share of the seats is at best 7%.”
Mr Leong concluded, “As a result, there is absolutely no doubt that the PAP will form the next government again. This should not be an issue at all.”
The politician went on to lament that the raising of this “fear factor” together with the issue of the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) scheme is “an attempt to confuse the voters and distract them from casting the vote for the alternative camp”.
Mr Leong urged voters not to lose sight of “our objective” to secure 32 seats for the alternative front in the new parliament.
“There can only be an effective voice if the alternative parties enter Parliament as full MPs or Constituency Member of Parliament (CMP),” he emphasised, adding that it is a sad day for democracy in Singapore if all alternative political parties are “wiped out” in this election with no alternative CMPs in parliament.