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Response to “Articles To Restore Sanity: Episode 1 – Singapore’s Voting and GRC System”

Comments (15)
  1. Overseas Singaporean says:

    hi chetan, your article is a whiff of fresh air. It reflects the sentiments of many here.

  2. Overseas Singaporean says:

    Actually how much of a political cunning does the PAP requires considering the overwhelming advantage as compared with the opposition?

    And don’t forget, PAP has a strong grassroots presence, unlike the oppo, even Low Thia Khiang says he doesn’t have an office to conduct his MPS.

    This election is watershed in the sense that the candidates that we traditionally associate with PAP joined the opposition ranks. Tony and Hazel, former scholars, Ang Yong Guan, Tan Jee Say, Benjamin Pwee and Jimmy Lee.

    1. Chetan Cetty says:

      Yea that’s true. I was thinking about the overwhelming advantage the PAP has. Good point there.

      I really find it hard to clearly point out one or more causes for the PAP’s poorer performance. I have my suspicions, one of which I mentioned here, but I have doubts about it.

      Anyway thanks for the comments Overseas Singaporean!

  3. Amused says:

    “If PAP won only 60% of the seats (52 out of 87 seats), would that provide a large enough base for the opposition to keep the PAP in check? ”

    The crucial difference here is the super-majority margin that PAP maintains in the parliament. With that margin, they can change the constitution without super majority voter support.

  4. Lee Con Lee says:

    “If PAP won only 60% of the seats (52 out of 87 seats), would that provide a large enough base for the opposition to keep the PAP in check? ”
    The crucial difference here is the super-majority margin that PAP maintains in the parliament. With that margin, they can change the constitution without super majority voter support.

    Yes, Yes, Yes. Agreed absolutely. Parliament need at least 75% majority to pass any bills. If PAP or any ruling party has less than that majority, the bills cannot be easily passed without rigorous debate in parliament. And if parliament cannot decide on any bill after rigorous debate, the bill could then table for referendum that the people will decide. This will be the complete accountable and transparent governance.

    However, I personally doubt the current ruling government will like to see this happens because this means they are shooting their own foot. The only change is GE2016 when PAP is ousted by an alternative party because “leopard will never change its spots”. Any reform before GE2016 will mostly cosmetic.

    1. Chetan Cetty says:

      I think you’re right about pretty much everything you said here. I share your views here.

      Btw, just curious: I did a quick check and from what I found, it seemed like for a bill to be passed, the parliament only needs a simple majority (51%). I still doubt that I got the correct info. You mentioned that parliament needs 75% majority. Can I just find out where you got this information from? I just want to know for my own curiosity. Thanks.

    2. Amused says:

      51% to pass legislative bills.

      2/3 super majority in parliament to change constitution. Talk to your political science friends and they can fill you in on that. This is a BIG deal. In another country, there would have been riots on the streets with that kind of results.

  5. Koh Choon Hwee says:

    Hi Chetan! Just reproducing my response here:

    1) Contention 1 – You claim that my article “unfairly reduces the TOC writer’s comment to a failure to understand the nature of Singapore voting system”.

    The TOC writer wrote: “I’m going to assume that in a ‘normal’ outcome, the number of parliamentary seats won by the respective parties should be equal in proportion to valid votes.”

    I am not trying to reduce the TOC writer’s comment to a failure of comprehension; I am doing more. I accuse the TOC writer of misrepresenting and misleading, irresponsibly, readers by using the word ‘normal’ in place of ‘proportional representation’.

    My argument — call an apple and apple, don’t call it a ‘normal’ fruit. There are no ‘normal’ fruits. There are fruits and fruits. There are many ‘norms’, I think it important to be clear on the terms we are using to avoid fudging.

    So yes, you can find what I am arguing ‘unfair’, and substantiate this view; but please try to get it right what it is that I am arguing.

    2) A bit confusing, I guess you’re not contending anything?

    3) You said it is always hard to attribute causes when we are dealing with societies and socio-political matters, and suggest that “what is more likely to have happened is that many Singaporeans have gotten just gotten fed up with the PAP not listening and responding to their grievances.”

    If I have read you right, you have just attributed your own ’cause’ for the elections outcome, namely that Singaporeans just got ‘fed up’ and their patience ‘reached a tipping point’. Hence a queer contradiction; what I did in the article is no more what you just did except with more vigour, if you will.

    Further, , “Simply put, we need to know much more about the socio-economic issues and the state of the PAP’s political cunning before we can justifiably say what Choon Hwee has stated here.”

    Firsly, you are saying that I cannot know what I claim to know about the state of PAP’s political cunning… because “we need to know more about the state of PAP’s political cunning”. Sounds circular. Further, the way you talk about it, it almost seems like you expect to find “the state of PAP’s political cunning” in a book.

    Secondly, who is the “we”? Does it include me? And then your article continues to make some vague gestures towards how hard it is to ‘know’ causes or argue, and about how I dismiss things too quickly etc.

    Fair enough, you’re entitled to these views although I was looking forward to a more fruitful and constructive debate. There are many other ways one could argue against my article but those that you chose this time were not the most fatal ones, imho.

    Thanks!

    Best,
    CH

    1. Amused says:

      I find it amusing that you are nitpicking the TOC writer when the culprit is clearly the GRC! Look, if there is only one gigantic GRC in the election, PAP would have won 100% parliament seats with 60.1% votes. Is it normal to say that PAP deserves only 52 seats instead of 87 seats? Do you see the pointlessness of your argument?

      Here is my take. It is a desirable and noble goal for a parliament to represent the electorate. To deprive the citizens of the basic representation with such a skewed and manufactured outcome is totally undemocratic and despotic. You should address the heart of the matter and not simply write it off. PAP got a beating in the election precisely because of this arrogance.

  6. Overseas Singaporean says:

    Choon Hwee: I am not trying to reduce the TOC writer’s comment to a failure of comprehension; I am doing more. I accuse the TOC writer of misrepresenting and misleading, irresponsibly, readers by using the word ‘normal’ in place of ‘proportional representation’.

    I don’t see how misrepresenting, misleading or irresponsible can it be when the TOC author mentioned gerrymandering. It does not take an absolute genius to know that gerrymandering produces a disproportionate amount of seats. You have to take the gerrymandering part in addition to proportional representation into consideration, because the writer mentions two things. Obviously, the main argument against gerrymandering is that it goes against the spirit of proportional representation.

    Look Choon Hwee, there is nothing grossly wrong with the TOC writer’s of the word “normal”, when in the first place, our GRC system of contest resulting in over-representation of seats is really, uniquely Singapore. The word “normal” as I understand in the TOC writer’s usage is relative. So relative to other countries, is our GRC style of contest not normal? Yes, you can argue that way.

    Suffice to say, even you yourself have not pointed out substantatively how irresponsible, misleading or misrepresentative can the TOC writer be. To do that, you need to address gerrymandering issue, because that can produce a disproportionate amount of seats, from redrawing boundaries, yadda yadda.

    In terms of political cunning, will you define having a substantial grassroots presence in community as part of political cunning? Having a substative grassroots presence benefits the party in terms of ground support.

  7. ajohor says:

    OS

    You have not rebutted KCH on the central thesis of FTP (First past the post system)

    No matter, how gerrymandered, if 50% +1 votes go against the party of the day, they lose.

    Which was what happened in Aljunied GRC

    Frankly, the usual samples from OECD does not do much grace as they have their own forms , eg California for Democrats and New Mexico for Republicans.

    For PR, they have their own forms and at the end of the day their own structural biases.

  8. Overseas Singaporean says:

    ajohor, I don’t see any point in talking about FPTP or PR when the disproportionate number of seats is attributed to the GRC system.

    I don’t see any point in rebutting the central thesis of FTP when others including myself have pointed out that the GRC nature of contest has swung in favour of the PAP.

    I can see why some ppl have their grievances with it. During the rally speeches, Low Thia Khiang already said that if two constituencies that support the PAP is joined with a constituency that do not support the PAP into the GRC, end of the day, PAP wins, but then does that reflect the wishes of the contituency that do not support the PAP?

    ppl do consider these GRCs as gerrymandering btw. THis is a rally speech by LTK about the redrawing of boundaries.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SByCwt2Y4Lk

    Why don’t you or KCH rebut LTK’s points before we go and talk about FPT. Take note that LTK didn’t have a quibble with FPT

  9. online votes says:

    hello!,I like your writing very much! percentage we keep in touch extra approximately your article on AOL? I require an expert on this space to resolve my problem. Maybe that is you! Taking a look forward to see you.

    1. Chetan Cetty says:

      Hi,

      Thanks for the compliment. I didn’t fully understand your reply, but what is this problem of yours that you need me to help resolve? Let me know, thanks.

      Regards,
      Chetan

  10. Ng Xin Zhao says:

    Hi.

    Online votes is most likely a spam or a bot. Ignore it.

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