PM Lee sets up electoral boundaries panel, ahead of Singapore general elections

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Singapore. Wikimedia Commons

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has formed a panel to review electoral boundaries which indicates that the most awaited Singapore General election will take place within a few months.

As part of the pre-election process the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee has been directed to recommend the number and boundaries of Singapore's single-member and multi-seat constituencies.

In a statement, PM Lee said on Wednesday, September 4 that the review committee was in the middle of its deliberations.

This committee is also assigned to take into account population shifts and reduce the average size of multi-seat wards or GRCs and will also increase the number of single-seat wards (SMCs) beyond the current 13. As per the GRC scheme, where at least one candidate should be Malay, Indian, or of a minority race.

As per the Bilveer Singh, who teaches political science at the National University of Singapore (NUS), the time between forming of the committee and polling day is usually two to three months. One example was when the committee was convened in December 1996, the polling day was on January 2, 1997.

In terms of GRCs and SMCs, Bilveer said, "We always talk about 'one man, one vote', but in Singapore, because of the GRC system, we have got a 'one man, one team' system."

"If there are more SMCs brought in, this means a return to the 'one man, one vote' principle, which is very precious. It means that the man voted into parliament was really voted in by the people in the area."

A law professor at the Singapore Management University, Eugene Tan said that the trend of increasing SMCs started during the 2011 general elections, allowing Singapore voters to have a "closer connection" with their electoral division and the politicians.

Prof Tan said that the redrawing of the electoral map would not be too drastic but Bilveer claims that it was an "irrelevant strategy" for the ruling party, People's Action Party (PAP).

Bilveer gave an example of Workers' Party, which is Singapore's main opposition party and with focus on north and northeastern areas, while former PAP member Tan Cheng Bock's Progress Singapore Party (PSP) is "concentrating on the West."

However, the country should hold its general election by April 2021 and as per party sources, December 2019 election is now very likely.