With retirement of former Foreign Minister George Yeo, there is now strong complains about Singapore’s group representation constituency (GRC) system. Now if there is one thing we can be certain of after the result of any Singapore Election, it is that Singapore's controversial GRC system will come in for criticism. Only this time, PAP members are joining in the criticism along with the opposition.
With the ruling People's Action Party’s (PAP) loss in Aljunied GRC, Singapore has lost 3 ministers in one fell swoop. Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Hwee Hua and Senior Minister of State Zainul Abidin Rasheed were all on the Aljunied team and they will all not be in the new Parliament.
Now despite what the PAP will say officially, everyone knows that the GRC system was invented so that the weaker PAP candidates could ride into Parliament on the backs of their more experienced counterparts. With the loss in Aljunied, the PAP now sees the flipside of the GRC system. If you lose one GRC, you lose a few ministers along with the ride.
The PAP will probably want to continue using the GRC system that had served them so well since 1988 but they need to ask themselves if maybe the time for the GRC has passed. George Yeo, Lim Hwee Hua and Zainul Abidin Rasheed would all have won in a Single Member Constituency (SMC). Yes, some of the weaker PAP candidates would lose but between the 27 year old wife of a principal private secretary (Tin Pei Ling) and George Yeo; who would the PAP rather have in Parliament?
The main thing is that the Worker’s Party (WP) has won a GRC and if they can win one, then they (or other parties) can win two. That will mean more seats lost for the PAP because as we can see in Aljunied, the moment you lose one GRC, you lose 4-5 seats in Parliament. Despite the show by the opposition in this election, I do not believe they would have won in 6 straight fights if every seat in the election is a SMC. In the end, the PAP need to ask if perhaps the GRC system has served its purpose and it’s time for them to go back to an all SMC election.