Ensure greater transparency in political playing field

Alongside the People's Action Party (PAP), with its decisive and well-deserved victory, the other big winner in the recent general election is democracy in Singapore.

The election results cast doubt on the view that democracy leads to a more fractious and unstable political system detrimental to Singapore's long-term interests.

Once again, the Singapore electorate has shown its collective wisdom.

As in past elections, it has cut through the campaign rhetoric to put into power the party best placed to run the country. This time, it has richly rewarded the PAP for the positive shifts in policies and posture in response to loud signals from the ballot boxes in May 2011.

The electorate has also continued to vote in mainly the more credible opposition candidates. We can have confidence that those clearly not up to the mark would be voted out by substantial margins in the next election.

These heartening outcomes must add impetus to our pledge as citizens "to build a democratic society based on justice and equality". This includes ensuring a fair and just electoral system.

My wish is that, armed with confidence from and in the voting public, the ruling party will re-examine the longstanding bugbears with our form of democracy.

Chief among these are arrangements perceived to lead to the use or potential misuse of public resources to tilt the political playing field in favour of the incumbent.

Public resources must never be unfairly withheld from or dispensed to citizens based on how they vote.

Also, while it is the responsibility of MPs to run their town councils competently, the civil service must act as an impartial enabler and facilitator, not merely a regulator, for the common good.

This is especially important when the town councils change hands after an election.

The number and size of group representation constituencies beyond what is needed to ensure minority representation in Parliament can be further reviewed.

Changes can also be made so that the impartiality of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee is never in doubt.

Should the incoming government decide to exercise its moral leadership on these issues, it can only gain greater approval from Singaporeans.

More importantly, it would leave a vital legacy - a fairer democratic political system that we, as citizens of this small but special "unicorn" nation, can be even prouder of.

Sng Siew Ping (Mrs)