For the greater good, Dr Chee should lose the Bukit Batok by-election

The PAP has named Murali Pillai as its candidate for the Bukit Batok by-election. It was no surprise. He has strong ties to Bukit Batok, having served in different grassroots organisations there. In other words, Murali has many things going for him and Dr Chee will be entering this contest as a dark horse.

The only ostensible advantage that Dr Chee has is that he’s Chinese and Murali is not. According to the PAP, the reason we have a most unique elections system where many voters vote in Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) is because Singaporeans would vote along racial lines. Lee Kuan Yew himself was convinced that because Singaporeans would vote along racial lines, we would end up lacking minority representation in Parliament.

Here’s Lee Kuan Yew vigorously defending the need for GRCs:

Many people have criticised the GRC system. Some have accused the PAP of using this system to allow weaker politicians enter Parliament by riding on the coat tails of stronger, more established “anchor” MPs (who are usually Cabinet Ministers). In fact, in 2006, Goh Chok Tong came close to admitting that the GRC system had been perverted to advantage PAP: “”Without some assurance of a good chance of winning at least their first election, many able and successful young Singaporeans may not risk their careers to join politics”.

The GRC systems also reduces the accountability of weaker candidates because in a GRC the members of the team who are popular “protect” less popular members from being voted out. There are of course exceptions. Aljunied in GE2011 was one such exception. But that took a confluence of many different factors.

Even today, I think most of the opposition parties would still be against the GRC system. Instead of teams against teams, I think most opposition parties would still prefer elections to be contests amongst individuals.

Which is why Dr Chee needs to lose. His loss would show that an Indian can beat a Chinese in a straight one-to-one electoral face-off. It would show that Singaporeans would vote for whoever they perceive to to be the best candidate, regardless of race.

If Dr Chee loses, it would show that the raison d’être for having GRCs doesn’t exist. Then it would be harder for PAP to continue defending the GRC system. And if PAP continues to refuse to do away with the GRC system, then it would reinforce the argument that the PAP unfairly tilts the playing field in its favour by changing the electoral rules.

I know many people hope to see Dr Chee win the by-election. But for the greater good, in order for there to be broader electoral reforms, I think Dr Chee should lose.

[Featured image: from SDP’s Facebook page]

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7 thoughts on “For the greater good, Dr Chee should lose the Bukit Batok by-election

  1. In my view, the greater good would be served if Dr Chee wins; then we can see what having an additional MP from another opposition party would look like. Mr LTK has been in Parliament for 25 years; anybody can remember his biggest contribution ? One term for Dr Chee would show people if the SDP can be a credible opposition today. If they do, then we can see 3 cornered fights where people can choose PAP, WP or SDP. In the long run, any party which can garner about 40% of the popular votes would form a government. That is what democracy looks like in other countries; people can choose which party has policies which resonate with them. I am taking a 10 – 15 year horizon.

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  2. Pingback: Daily SG: 23 Mar 2016 | The Singapore Daily

  3. Someone said this, in CC the great’s FB if I remember right. Dr Chee is like an old folks home. Everyone would say he is great but no one wants him in their own backyard. Personally, I kinda feel he has no chance of winning. His style and philosophy of government is simply not what Singaporeans on the whole is comfortable with.

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  4. MR LKY was one of 4 opposition MPs who was given a chance in the 50s. It is for BB residents to decide if they think he is worthy of that trust. I don’t live there; if I did, my vote would go to Dr Chee. Not because I am a SDP member; my view is that we need an additional elected opposition voice in Parliament. Agree, it is a tough fight. Disagreeing with the PAP’s narrative cannot be considered anti-Singapore. But that’s the image the MIW want to project. They are helped by the friendly media here. Singaporeans have been duped by the Straits Times and the MSM – TV and radios – included. After 50 years of thought control, people actually believe that the PAP is the only party which has Singapore’s interests at hear. How very clever of them. It is very surprising that it seems the majority actually believes everything they are told. Maybe thinking is just too tiring; asking questions is tiring; just leave everything to the lightning; it is like a one-stop DIY shop – all your electrical, plumbing and other design materials can be found here. The PAP caters for all occasions – they are smart politicians – but they want us to believe that they are different. Koyok sold by the PAP or any other party is still Koyok – the power of the media.

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  5. You’re acting under the assumption that enough of the Singapore electorate cares enough to vote according to how the rules are set.

    They don’t, and the PAP’s victory after victory is proof of that.

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  6. You are playing to the hands of PAP strategy to think like this .
    There is no need for Dr Chee to lose to prove your point. Past electoral results already testified that the GRC is nothing but a scheme to disadvantage the oppositions. JBJ, Michael Palmer. Even in racially charged days, Chinese majority Singapore elected a Jewish Chief Minister.
    And what about days when it was all one to one single constituencies. There were quick a few minority candidates who won in those electoral battles.
    With the current state of non accountability and non transparency of how the ruling party runs the Govt, its precisely that we need a person with Dr Chee’s reputation to be in Parliament.

    Liked by 2 people

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