The Straits Times
Published on Jan 29, 2013

True test of electoral system


AS THE dust from the Punggol East by-election settles, and the cries of exuberance and disappointment from supporters of the different parties fade away, I hope Singaporeans realise that we have witnessed something very precious.

This and the previous Hougang by-election, together with the recent general and presidential elections, involved more vigorous debates and vivid expressions of passion and conviction from the different political persuasions.

At the same time, there was no violence and the transitions took place under relatively calm conditions.

Our electoral system is clearly not perfect, nor should we expect it to be. But in spite of its imperfections and legacy of advantage tipped towards the status quo, we continue to witness change in our political landscape.

Granted, the election outcomes will not satisfy all Singaporeans, nor will they guarantee that the parties we put in Parliament push through error-free policies.

The true test of our system is not simply who we put into Parliament, but how it continues to allow Singaporeans to use their voices and votes in a fairer and more open manner in future elections, a chain of transitions unbroken by violence, coups or fraudulent results.

Our system continues to be a work in progress, and I am confident all of us will be invited to shape Singapore according to our beliefs and visions of a better nation.

Lim Wee Kiat