May 28, 2009

Short Takes From Parliament - The PAP Grows Bored

May 27, 2009
Changes to political system
By Clarissa Oon

NEW changes to Singapore's political system will lead to non-People's Action Party members taking up at least 18 seats in Parliament, or roughly one-fifth of the House.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in Parliament on Wednesday that the Constitution will be amended to allow for up to nine 9 Non-Constituency MPs, who are opposition candidates who lose but are nevertheless given seats in Parliament.

Workers' Party chairman Sylvia is currently one such MP.

At the same time, the Parliamentary Elections Act will be amended to increase the stipulated minimum number of opposition MPs, including NCMPs, to nine.

The current minimum is three. This means there will be a guaranteed nine MPs from opposition parties in Parliament, whether or not they win an election.
A good move. It probably stems from the PAP's deepening sense of boredom. But anyway it's a good move for Singapore.

Would you not be bored, if 95% of the time, you were just talking to yourself, nodding your head at yourself and agreeing with yourself? Yes, you would grow bored. You would run short of ideas, and get lost in your own stagnating mindset, and secretly wonder what was the point of all this. And eventually you might even long for some genuine discussion, engagement and feedback.

That is what has been happening in Parliament for many years. 95% of the time, the PAP is just talking to itself, nodding its head to itself and amiably agreeing with itself.

Well, at least the PAP will now have a few extra Opposition MPs to talk to.

"Wow, soon we might have real debate in Parliament ...
We could even become too busy for hiphop."


YL said...

I suspect the counter agruments for this move are that PAP is wary of losing a GRC, thus providing this option as a possible means of getting people to think voting for opposition is not necessary, as quite valid. NCMPs can only speak, but have no real power in voting against the motions in parliment. I rather have credible opposition that has been voted in, with the power to at least make some sort of a difference.

Anonymous said...

It is NOT going to sway me from voting the opposition candidate if I'm given the chance to vote. FYI, I stay in Senior Lee's ward.

As a matter of fact, I'm NOT impressed with the current backdoor MPs who IMHO have lost touched with the ground with the exception of Lily Neo.

Oralb said...

that's not just as simple as some opposition to talk to. The NCMP scheme has been touted to be gahmen way of telling people, you need opposition, you dont have to vote for them, we can send them to the parliment.

And rem they have a say in NCMP as well. oppositions that's deemed troublemaker (like a certain Dr) will have a slim chance to get this.

End of the day, they controlled the parliment as well and yet still satisfy those SGeans that wanted an opposing voice.

Didnt they recently announce that a certain MP will be opposition in transport matters? let see how successful is that...

Anonymous said...

If after the elections, the PAP decides to raise their salaries again by say, 3x, even after hearing the arguments from all the NMP & NCMPs, when it goes to the final vote, it will still be 84-2. So all the PAP MPs happily get their pay rise again.

We need opposition MPs with voting power to exercise the right to block proposed bills, and not just be there to speak to the four walls.

Otherwise, dont regret it should PAP decide to 'help' your again by raising GST to 15% after the next election.

Anonymous said...

Interesting article . . . .

Mainland China Is A Better Choice
written by Sons of Genghis Khan , May 27, 2009

Malay & Chinese interests never converge, for God’s sake! In the Iskandar case, Malays only want Chinese money but not his presence. Just scrutinise carefully the Malay-first policies in Malaysia since 1957, can one honestly detect any love for Chinese & other minorities?

Senior Lee is a seasoned politician who really ‘understands’ the Malay psyche inside out & read what he has to say: just don’t expect the Malays to treat Chinese like how the Mainland Chinese treat their compatriots across the Shenzhen River in Hong Kong. He who spoke thus appreciates thoroughly well the age-old wisdom/dictum of ‘blood is thicker than water’. One may even be persuaded to ask whether Malaysia will be willing to extend preferenrial trading terms like CEPA to S’pore (like what HK currently enjoys) if there is such a good feeling towards S’pore? S’poreans or other Chinese must be forewarned that the Malays’ deep-rooted cultural traits of ‘free entitlement syndrome’ might just come in handy once the investors have put up all the money, sweat, hard work in making a success out of Iskandar many years down the road. Do you know that even local-born Malaysian Chinese are fleeing in droves both in terms of capitals & talents to escape from the Malays’ intolerance, religious bigotry, incompetence, corruption, crime & what-have-you?

It is interesting to note that while this is going on in Johor, Senior Lee just conveniently happens to be in Nanjing, overseeing another joint project to developing a mammoth eco-friendly muti-functinal park after the maturity of the Suzhou Industrial Park. It is even rumoured that the terms offered to the S’poreans are so attractive that it is like S’pore is enjoying complete sovereignty over the plot of land except that it is obliged to fly the 5-star Chinese flag. See! This is called genuine blood brother, not some illusive but hollow promises of goodwill & good returns as in the Isjkandar case.

All in all, S’pore better sets your sight in the much better potential & friendly Mainland rather than Johor, even though Johor is just a stone throw away. When it comes to the crunch, just remember Chinese & malays are really different breeds.

Anonymous said...

Sorry ..

Not my ward you don't.

Opposition anywhere others but not mine.

Enough of the Cheos, Lings, . . .

Refuse needs clearance, maintainance fees in check, blocks need facelift, lifts sevicing, lightings in the nights to keep prowlers at bay, . . . endless.

Best of luck to whoever. Ideals & realities are 2 very different things.

I'd rather have PAP MPs (45 good years) though expensive.


Onlooker said...

The chinese saying goes "change the soup but recycle the herb."
Even when the herb lost it's effectiveness.

Sunfleur said...

Hey Mr Wang, thanks for keeping your readers so entertained with every of your blog entry. It's really funny and I always read your political blogs with a wide grin, especially with regards to the ruling party.

Thanks again and keep up the humour.

Anonymous said...

How can it be a good move when fundamentally nothing has changed. NMPs have no voting power so they can't do jack sh*t in parliament.

It is just a PR move to appease the growing disquiet on the ground.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

I think that it is a good move, because at the very least it gives some opposition politicians the chance to say something in Parliament and show Singaporeans what they can contribute.

The point about voting power is a little moot, because really, even if the Opposition won 20 seats in the next elections, that's too small to make any voting difference in terms of voting power. And they are a loooong way off fron 20 seats right now.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Sunfleur, you're most welcome. :)

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Anon 6:31 pm:

Actually, I go to Hougang (Low Thia Kiang) every now and then and it is very well-run. Clean, tidy and I daresay, quite vibrant, compared to surrounding new towns such as Serangoon.

lobo said...

I see this as a way for PAP to ensure their own overwhelming majority. Just think, if 'opposition' wins more seats during the next GE, how large a margin are they likely to win by? Who then becomes the 'largest' losers? yes.. the PAP themselves.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:31 pm:

"Actually, I go to Hougang (Low Thia Kiang) every now and then and it is very well-run. Clean, tidy and I daresay, quite vibrant, compared to surrounding new towns such as Serangoon."

If you didn't know LTK has the support of the Teochew businessmen. They can be generous to their son.

If you had lived under Cheo or Ling for one term then you would have understood why the constituents there (like me) will never, never, want to have the opposition back again. They themelves daren't come back to renew their mandate. Good rhetorics but couldn't deliver at all. Of course, they conveniently pocketed the remunerations as MPs.

Anonymous said...

Can the NEW changes to Singapore's political system stops
1) PAP from paying herself more outrageous salary i.e. 3 x or 4 x more than current?
2) Increase the GST to 15%?
3) More Mean Testing in all kind of government services?
4) Rubberstamp all the Bills or Acts in Parliament without much debate?
5) Change the Constitution at will without much debate?

The answer is a straight NO! Then why the change for the worst and Singaporeans continues to be short-changed further?

Anonymous said...

Anon 6.31 pm

So rascal Cheo and Ling were in the same ward,that is not to my knowledge,but I might be wrong.

You implied that almost all under them ever would not vote for them again,that I cant agree,logically.

It is obvious to me that you write with a political motive though you did specially express that you not so like PAP.

AS to me,I dislike PAP very much,but also dislike Many fr SDP,so I hv no motive,my only motive is to leave this little dot.

Anonymous said...

Well, the new change will ensure that no. 4 and no. 5 will happen, only after quite a lot of debate has occurred. But of course, the new change will not stop no. 4 and no. 5 from happening. But then again, even without the new change, no. 4 and no. 5 could still occur.

Anonymous said...

It is the town council staff, the contractors, and the workers who are maintaining the estate. So unless there is deliberate sabotage by the previous administration, I don't see how a change of MP to an opposition one can drastically change the maintenance of an estate. It is a boogey man story, often repeated to induce fear.

Anonymous said...

i dun think this will change the likely outcome,

1. PAP to lose at least one GRCs.
2. PAP's vote will not exceed 60%.

They already they are losing ground on their traditional support.

1. Senior Citizen.
2. Female.

Lets have an election now...

Alan Wong said...

Let's think of the following scenario :-

Supposing PAP still loses a few additional seats to the opposition, will such constituencies suffer the same fate as Hougang or Poting Pasir as a punishment for such voters ?

Do you for a moment think that PAP graciously accept defeat ?

I think we need to send a message to PAP to stop all these nonsense that we can only get to eat the carrot if we only vote for PAP.

It's about time that we need to question PAP where is their conscience to serve every Singaporean without the need to hang any carrots?

Anonymous said...


"I think we need to send a message to PAP to stop all these nonsense that we can only get to eat the carrot if we only vote for PAP."

# Would you prefer the "banana"?

It's about time that we need to question PAP where is their conscience to serve every Singaporean without the need to hang any carrots?

# Where would men be hanging their "carrots" then?

Anonymous said...

The PAP probably guess they will lose a GRC. So reducing the size of GRC mimimises the loss of their chosen candidates.

Kath said...

Well done! The future is full of challenges for Singapore so a few more ideas won't hurt.

Heck, maybe one day, the old guards are convinced that the oppositions are good enough to take over PAP! Take one step at a time, Singapore. You can't satisfy everyone!

Alan Wong said...

I can only remember our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of having previously said those famous words of “How to fix the opposition?”. So after being our Prime Minister for all these years, he is only capable of coming up with the latest Parliament changes as proof of “how to fix the opposition”.

So is the reason why he needed so many Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department as “assistants” to come up with these proposals?

So our PM was pre-occupied in the last few years with spending most of his time on how to fix the opposition. It’s no wonder that we have lost so many billions in our reserves. What a joke!

Anonymous said...

"# Would you prefer the "banana"?"

Why not if it is a real banana given free. As for the carrot, do not you think you are actually getting a smaller carrot while paying for a bigger carrot. Now what happened.

"# Where would men be hanging their "carrots" then?"

If there are no men, the act of hanging the "carrots" will not exist.

Anonymous said...

Alan Wong-

"we have lost so many billions in our reserves."

I thought the Finance Minister came up with a gain of $56 billion over the period and that we're one of the better performers in this global financial meltdown?

Personally I lost some recently at the SE but in good times I made, so I'm still in the black.

So . . what's in the kitty is it plus or minus?

Anonymous said...

dear anon may31 5.31pm

someone once told me that a net gain can be made via two ways. an influx of funds or profits from investment. from the looks of it, i find it hard to believe that the net gain is from the latter. also, you have to look properly at the period of the gain that they have declared. the net gain of 56b is from the period. i cannot remember other massive losses off hand, but would this figure change if we tweaked the period to include another 6 months earlier? statistics do not always show what needs to be shown or what should have been shown as the criteria can be manipulated (eg . to fully understand the credibility of the statistics, look at the criteria in which the statistics are produced!

Anonymous said...

Alan . . this is interesting. Drudge Report
May 24, 2009.

The US president Obama minced no words when he says "We're out of money", talking of his nation's $1.7T debt and $11T national deficit.

Over here we are still getting SPURS, Bonus Dividends and all kinds of subsidies & handouts for the needy from the various government & quasi-govt agencies.

Speaks million . . .

Anonymous said...

"Personally I lost some recently at the SE but in good times I made, so I'm still in the black."

Who cares excepting maybe your close family members whether you are in the black, red, purple or yellow.

As for state funds, we are concerned on the concept on privatisation of profits (distributed in the form of performance bonus and high pay ti those managing the funds) in good times
and socialisation of costs (in the form of increase pricing of essential services provided by GLC companies, etc) in bad times. I stand to be corrected.

Anonymous said...

anon.1 June 1.31pm

Actually clever Tharman should just stick to the date that Mdm HO assumed her position as CEO,till the date he made that announcement,and report on the net gain(loss)but appranetly he did not want to.

Well,you do not need to be a financil wizkid to know that index going up and down by the second,the not so smart man like me would always pick the day when the index was lowesrt and compare it to the instant when index was the highest within that time frame,what sort of comparision is that?but apprently many quite silly people,mostly fr 66.67%,I may add,do buy into their story.

Suffice to say people can easily be psycho by world class propaganda machine of PAP.

Anonymous said...

No matter how our political system being "improved" by PAP, there should only be one objective - To send in as many oppositions as possible in the coming GE!

Power to the people!!