Forum: Time to review GRC system

The Workers' Party team consisting (from left) Louis Chua, Jamus Lim, Raeesah Khan and He Ting Ru speak to residents during a small thank you walkabout at Rivervale Plaza on July 12, 2020.
The Workers' Party team consisting (from left) Louis Chua, Jamus Lim, Raeesah Khan and He Ting Ru speak to residents during a small thank you walkabout at Rivervale Plaza on July 12, 2020.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The merits and trade-offs of the group representation constituency (GRC) system have been debated in Parliament and on social media.

However, this election has accentuated a particular trade-off of GRCs - they create additional dilemmas for voters.

For example, many Singaporeans might have had reservations about Workers' Party (WP) candidate Raeesah Khan because of some of her Facebook posts. However, her other teammates from WP's Sengkang team, in particular economist Jamus Lim, are well liked by many voters in Sengkang.

With the GRC system, voters had to decide whether to vote the entire team into Parliament or not. There was no third option.

The GRC system was set up in 1988 to ensure minority representation in Parliament.

However, as an electorate matures, a candidate's race may no longer be a strong influence in a voter's choice.

Perhaps it is time to review the GRC system.

Ang Keng Kiat

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2020, with the headline 'Time to review GRC system'. Subscribe