Should opposition parties reject the enhanced NCMP scheme?

A poll conducted by The Online Citizen found saw 60 percent saying that having more Non-constituency Members of Parliament would hurt opposition parties. Some readers’ comments appended to articles at that site urged opposition parties to reject the scheme. I disagree. Full essay.

4 Responses to “Should opposition parties reject the enhanced NCMP scheme?”

  1. 1 Russel 5 June 2009 at 22:45

    Purely from an academic point of view, I think if I am in the opposition, by I should reject the enhanced NCMP scheme.
    It is true that voters who have voted in the opposition MPs seemed to vote for candidates, rather than parties as is evidenced by the presence of strong opposition members in the parliament. But, it will be an assumption that voting behaviour in Singapore is homogeneous. It has been observed that Low Thia Khiang was voted in because he had the rapport with the majority Teochew-speaking electorate in Hougang. However, it cannot be assumed that voters from other constituencies will vote in the same way as the people from Hougang, for personalities, instead of issues. But, it is widespread consensus that the majority of Singapoireans wanted the PAP to stay in power as they believed that the PAP is able to deliver the economic goods but at the same time, they wanted opposition voices in parliament. Furthermore, because of the threats that the PAP government gave to the electorate, many Singaporeans believed that choosing an opposition candidate will deprive them of benefits that other Singaporeans enjoyed. To put it simply, Singaporeans want to have opposition candidates but not in their constituencies. So, the enhanced NCMP scheme will allay the fears of these group of Singaporeans who are afraid that the PAP will not return to power but at the same time, satisfies their aspirations to see more opposition MPs in parliament. Because these NCMPs have no voting power, they will never be able to influence policy decisions in real terms. Because Singaporeans feel that there will be opposition voices anyway, they would not feel a need to vote for the opposition. This, in the long run, will hurt the opposition cause. The opposition movement will never grow and Singapore will not arrive at a two=party system as envisioned by the opposition parties.

  2. 2 X 6 June 2009 at 12:55

    Good reply, Russel

  3. 3 Sgpo 18 June 2009 at 12:35

    Pardon my ignorance, can someone elaborate on the exact voting rights of the NCMPs? Thanks.

  4. 4 yawningbread 18 June 2009 at 16:28

    Constitution of the Republic of Singapore, Article 39(2):


    A non-constituency Member or a nominated Member shall not vote in Parliament on any motion pertaining to —

    (a) a Bill to amend the Constitution;

    (b) a Supply Bill, Supplementary Supply Bill or Final Supply Bill;

    (c) a Money Bill as defined in Article 68;

    (d) a vote of no confidence in the Government; and

    (e) removing the President from office under Article 22L.


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