The GRC Death Trap (Part I)

24 years ago, the government of Singapore came out with a scheme that changed the political scene in Singapore forever. The Group Representation Constituency (GRC) was established with these said purposes:

The Government stated that the GRC scheme was primarily implemented to enshrine minority representation in Parliament: at least one of the MPs in a GRC must be a member of the Malay, Indian or another minority community of Singapore. In addition, it was economical for town councils, which manage public housing estates, to handle larger constituencies.

Not going into the underlying purposes of establishing a GRC system yet, for even the official statements are questionable if we stop to think about it for a moment.

First, why do we need a Malay MP or an Indian MP to represent the Malays and Indians respectively? Is the PAP implying that their Chinese MPs are not willing or capable enough to serve the residents of Singapore who are of a different race to them? If the government's rationale sound even a tinge of sense to you, then why did we have an Indian as our longest serving President where Chinese are the majority race? No, we pledged to forge a nation for the good of every citizen, regardless of race, language or religion. Any citizen of any race should be eligible to be President if he is fairly elected by the people, the same should apply to our MPs.

The GRC scheme is actually a discrimination against the minority because it sets a quota whereby there will be more Chinese MPs compare to other races in Parliament. If you put that in perspective, that could potentially, if not already, see a less competent Chinese MP forcing out a higher calibre candidate of a minority race. This happens at nomination stage even before you can cast a single vote. Is this the kind of meritocracy that the PAP insist they practice and believe in?

Second, if we appoint an MP to represent the community of their respective race is the right thing to do, then what race of the MP should you appoint for the population labelled as "others"? A Caucasian? A Eurasian? A Pinoy? If the concept makes sense, how can well can Michael Palmer represent me as my MP if I am a Japanese New Citizen? That is a fundamental flaw of the GRC. No. We can't take care of everyone. No policy is fool proof, that's what they'll say. In reality, only by removing the idea of racial differences in the population, we could truly practice inclusiveness for segregation breeds mistrust, not harmony.

The second reason that the government gave for establishing the GRC is really lame if you think about it. Let's recap:

In addition, it was economical for town councils, which manage public housing estates, to handle larger constituencies.

Do we need a GRC system to achieve an economy of scale? If we want to establish 4 big town councils spread evenly across Singapore, all we have to do is to decide which SMCs are under say, South-West Town Council. Why do we need a GRC system for that? A good example is Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, separated by electoral boundaries but merged by just a change of name. As simple as. If this makes economical sense, why did they establish different societal aid bodies such as CDAC, Mendaki and Sinda to help Chinese, Malay and Indian citizens respectively? They should be merged just like GRCs. But no - we continue to adopt the paradoxical idea of segregation the population clearly to promote racial harmony.

Think about it, these official reasons given by the government to establish the GRC system do not make sense at all. That is enough for any citizen of Singapore to cast a vote against the PAP in each election - for treating us like gullible fools. Well, that "it's ok because it doesn't affect me" mantra again I supposed?

Well they actually do. 6 seats out of 87 seats in the Parliament is a blatant proof. 40% of the population is not properly represented. And they talk about putting MPs of specific races to better represent the population? A stale joke, if you ask me.

Any curious Singaporean should wonder where are Eunos GRC, Cheng San GRC on the electoral map today. We'll be anticipating to witness the mysterious disappearance of Potong Pasir from the map forever but it will not come as a surprise at all. These gerrymandering acts are too obvious. Come on, we used to have a Holland-Bukit Panjang GRC. Imagine that. How about a Jurong-Paya Lebar GRC in 2016? Or West Coast-Marine Parade GRC? This is akin going into a boxing match with your hands tied. If the people of Singapore we could not accept a man who cheats his wife as an MP in parliament, how could we accept a government who pulls wool over the eyes of the people every single election? If a government is dishonest enough not to allow a fair election by dabbling with electoral boundaries, not to allow a fair distribution of free information in mainstream media, how can it be trusted to take care of the funds (CPF) of the people? Especially so as the government is extremely invasive in releasing these figures that the public has every right to know and question.

If you want to read on, tell me and I'll discuss how the GRC system works as a double edge sword and why it will be abolished in the near future or cause the eventual fall of the PAP......


  1. I am half-convinced that minority MPs will be elected by majority voters who are chinese. Thus while I am against the GRC, I don't have a better solution to meet the needs of the minority group. I see GRC plays a sort of affirmative action role in this. What alternative do you have?

    WRT to Hougang, there is 1000 less voters in BE (vs GE2011) because their blocks have been en-bloc. The same fate they will suffer like Cheng San etc. If it's not being gerrymandered, it will be through other despicable tactics. Such ads are disgusting, but until you have a prominent alternative parties for check and balance, you can't stop this mean machine.

    1. You could be right, it may not happen in Singapore but also because we didn't allow the population to be politically mature. We probably won't see an Obama case in Singapore yet even if we free the electoral system up, but that isn't a good reason for the GRC's existence.

  2. ger·ry·man·ders
    To divide (a geographic area) into voting districts so as
    to give unfair advantage to one party in elections.

    The gerrymandering by the ruling PAP alone is enough reason not to vote for them.

  3. You forget to mention that JBJ, an Indian origin, won Anson seat which was predominantly a Chinese enclave in 1981 and recaptured it in 1984.
    GRC only formed in 1988.

  4. @Anonymous 15:09
    The first Chief Minister of Singapore (the precursor to the PM role) was a Eurasian/Jew.

    I think if Singaporeans cannot now vote a minority MP into Parliament, we must be worse off under PAP rule.

    1. Those were different times, so the context is different.
      Any local talents you can find against British, people will take.

    2. Why different?
      Any tom, dick and harry you can find against PAP, people will take??
      Is HK better under previous British rule or current PRC rule?
      Is S'pore better under previous British rule or current PAP rule??

    3. actually, in certain places, any tom dick and harry will do as long as he is from the opposition party. i.e. hougang. png is really a joke. really, i'm sure anyone will do.

    4. no different from the faceless PAP men who get voted in either huh?

  5. Why Png is really a joke? Care to explain?

  6. i sincerely believe that i have a better idea than the pap.
    why have so many grc n smc?
    this still does not solve the majority/minority race issues n this is also not the most economical way of running town councils.
    so let's have only one giant grc n that would result in only one town council.
    can their idea be more economical than mine?
    oh nearly forgot about answering to the racial makeup of the candidates.
    there would be a hunderd candidates in each team.
    now you can have all your racial mix n match whichever way you want it depending on the ethnic composition (%) of resident population of the day.
    for 2010, the composition: chinese 74.1% malay 13.4% indian 9.2% others 3.3%.
    now no need to fight over racial representation anymore, right?
    one could even have a more detailed and precise representation of races without any disagreement from any group.

    "The Government stated that the GRC scheme was primarily implemented to enshrine minority representation in Parliament: at least one of the MPs in a GRC must be a member of the Malay, Indian or another minority community of Singapore. In addition, it was economical for town councils, which manage public housing estates, to handle larger constituencies."

    if i may, i would like to attempt to summarise the objectives of the above grc scheme:
    1. primary goal - enshrine minority representation in paliament: at least one of the MPs in a GRC must be a member of the Malay, Indian or another minority community of Singapore
    2. secondary goal - economical for town councils, which manage public housing estates, to handle larger constituencies

    although mine could only achieve what i would call a kindergarten goal, it satisfies both the objectives set forth by the pap grc scheme n more n don't you think mine is far more superior than theirs. as for holding the general election, it's gonna save the taxpayers lots n lots of money n wait, it also saves the electorates lot n lots of hassles too. have the pap even thought about cost savings n ease n convenience as objectives too? have they?

    finally, i have only this to say - the day you came up with this sinister scheme n put in all those ridiculous words in writings to justify your desperate desire to cling onto power, in my eyes you have already lost the mandate to rule; no i should rephrase it, you are not fit to rule.

  7. To me,
    GRC or no GRC,
    unless there are good policies,
    every regime will have it's date of expiry.
    That is the record in human history, there
    is no ever-lasting dynasty.


    1. Do not fool by GRC, it's a well package political tool in the name of minority parliamentary representation to uphold their one-party rule for as many years as they would like to.
      GRC must be abolished and similarly, ISA has to repeal.
      Any democratic country in the world has a GRC system? If yes, they can keep and use it.