NCMP – The Gauntlet Perhaps Left Unpicked on the Floor
“Clause 3 of the Amendment Bill therefore amends Article 39(1) of the Constitution to increase the maximum number of NCMPs in Parliament from six to nine, similar to the number of Nominated MPs. Coupled with changes to the Parliamentary Elections Act, there will be a minimum of nine Opposition Members in the House at any one time, whether directly elected or via the NCMP route, subject to the opposition candidate or candidates winning at least 15% of the total number of valid votes polled. Therefore, regardless of the electoral outcome, the Opposition will be a fixed and significant feature of this House.”
Wong Kan Seng
The NCMP scheme was established in 1984 and recently, the PAP reminded Singapore that there would be an increase of the maximum number of NCMP to 9 from the current 6. And from the next elections onwards, there would be at least be 9 opposition members in the House, regardless if they were properly voted in regardless of gerrymandering and porkbarrel politics by the PAP or if they got in via the backdoor in the shape of NCMP.
NSP’s Goh Meng Seng has spoken and rejected taking up any NCMP position as it cheapens the whole election and voting process. WP’s Low Thia Khiang has also rejected the idea of him losing via the ballot but entering parliament via the NCMP route. This is not the first time opposition politicians talked about rejection of the NCMP. Back then in 1984, the WP rejected it then as well when they had the opportunity to insert more opposition into parliament. Opposition idealism was replaced with practicality nonetheless in 1988 when WP’s Lee Siew Choh took up a NCMP offer.
“By introducing the NCMP scheme, the PAP is trying to have a cake and eat it – to tell Singaporeans, let’s vote for PAP as government and we provide you with NCMP. But that is not how a healthy political system should work,”
Hougang MP Low Thia Khiang.
The real issue to me is that the end justifies the means, more or less. Regardless if it is front door, back door or window invitation, opposition members should make do, accept the humility and seize the opportunity to make a difference regardless of the limited voting rights NCMP have compared to a MP. I would still appreciate more opposition members entering parliament; almost like how I welcome Santa Claus squeezing down the chimney bringing cheer and goodies to the House.