Equal voting rights for NCMPs a concern

The planned changes to our political system constitute a brave initiative ("Changes to political system to prepare S'pore for long term"; yesterday).

The suggested political reforms merit a full public debate, as well as study by legal and political luminaries.

Many may not have issues with smaller group representation constituencies and more single-member constituencies, as these would likely reflect the new normal in demographic and voting tendencies.

However, Non-Constituency MPs (NCMPs) getting the same voting rights as elected MPs raises some concern.

Parliament is an assembly of the people's elected representatives.

They are chosen by the people and rightfully speak on behalf of their constituents.

An NCMP does not. He is a by-product of an Act of Parliament.

That would remain acceptable if he is expected to advance the framework of debate and add to the cut and thrust of political exchange.

But when he receives the same voting rights as elected MPs by an Act of Parliament, this may not be fair to the people who voted Parliament in.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has clearly articulated the principles of governance.

To be sure, the corruption-free oasis that we have developed will continue to flourish, albeit in a challenging environment.

The foundational principles of political reform are clear.

They have to provide Singapore a sound platform for the nation to flourish for the next 50 years.

We would do well to keep the one-vote-one-MP system.

Parliament can look into other mechanisms to foster more debate, political thoughts and a greater flow of ideas among its populace.

S. Kumar

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 29, 2016, with the headline 'Equal voting rights for NCMPs a concern'. Print Edition | Subscribe