Singapore GE2020: Progress Singapore Party decision on NCMP will be made when time comes, says Tan Cheng Bock

Progress Singapore Party chief Tan Cheng Bock during a walkabout in Ayer Rajah Food Centre on July 4, 2020. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) will decide on whether it will take up the offer of a Non-Constituency MP seat when the time comes, said party chief Tan Cheng Bock.

The NCMP scheme is a good platform for PSP members who want to have a feel and understanding of what Parliament proceedings are like, he said, but added that they must be aware that they are only there to observe.

Speaking to reporters after a walkabout in Ayer Rajah Food Centre with the other members of his West Coast GRC team on Saturday (July 4), Dr Tan said: "Currently, at the moment, I don't accept the NCMP." As for the members of his party, he said "whether they take or not, when the time comes, we will tell you".

Dr Tan said on this issue, he shares the same position as the Workers' Party (WP).

"One element of being an NCMP is that you've got no ground, and the ground is important. How can you go to Parliament and just talk? Who are you talking for?" he asked.

The WP has long objected to the NCMP scheme, but in the last Parliament, it had three NCMPs.

On Thursday, Dr Tan had said the NCMP scheme is a ploy to entice voters to not vote for the opposition, and added that he would decline an NCMP seat if he was offered one, although other party members could take it up if they wished.

PSP assistant secretary-general Leong Mun Wai, who is running with Dr Tan as part of a five-man team in West Coast GRC, said he, too, "will not want the NCMP seat".

However, he will defer to Dr Tan's judgment, he added.

Mr Leong said although the Government has been "pushing very hard" on the NCMP issue, he felt the position is "very different" from that of an MP.

He said: "If the government is serious about giving a voice to the alternative camp, then they have to come out and say 'We will introduce proportional representation'."

Only in such a system will MPs in Parliament truly have the full mandate of the people, he added.

"If you use the NCMP, you are regarded as a loser MP, and you have no access to the people. The people are the ones we want to serve," he said.

He added that in some other countries, there is such a thing as a "proportional MP", who does not serve the constituents directly, but represents certain interests of society.

Said Mr Leong: "That is also an acceptable way of diversifying our Parliament. But then you (must) come out and introduce proportional representation. Don't give me the rubbish about NCMP."

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