Parliament: Electoral Boundaries Review Committee not yet formed

The Elections Department in Prinsep Link. Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee must be allowed to focus on its work "away from unnecessary media attention or public pressures".
The Elections Department in Prinsep Link. Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee must be allowed to focus on its work "away from unnecessary media attention or public pressures".ST PHOTO: SAHIBA CHAWDHARY

The Electoral Boundaries Review Committee must be allowed to focus on its work "away from unnecessary media attention or public pressures", said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing yesterday.

He was responding to Mr Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC), who had asked why the Government does not announce the committee's formation as a matter of practice.

Mr Singh, who is secretary-general of the Workers' Party, said: "It would be a waste of Parliament's time, and bordering on an abuse of process, if an MP had to file the same parliamentary question to the Prime Minister when rumours of an imminent election are in the air."

The Electoral Boundaries Review Committee is convened months before a general election, but its formation may not always be made public immediately.

In the September 2015 General Election, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced its formation in July in Parliament, saying in response to MPs' questions that it was set up two months earlier.

The committee has typically taken between two and seven months to release its report on electoral boundary changes.

Mr Chan said: "As a matter of practice, we should allow the committee to focus on its work professionally, away from unnecessary media attention or public pressures."

 
 

Mr Singh also asked whether the committee for the next general election had been formed, as well as for an update on roadshows that will be held to familiarise voters on changes to the election system, specifically on electronic registration for voters.

He also said he wants the committee to put out a report that explains in detail why specific precincts in each constituency are moved or swopped.

Mr Chan replied that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee had not yet been formed and the Government would continue to organise roadshows.

He also said that the committee is made up of senior civil servants who are knowledgeable about demographic shifts as well as population statistics, and takes into consideration such factors as population growth when carrying out its work.

"The committee independently considers and determines how the constituencies are delineated, the size and configuration of the constituencies, as well as the total number of Members of Parliament to be returned," he said.

Linette Lai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2019, with the headline 'Electoral Boundaries Review Committee not yet formed'. Print Edition | Subscribe