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Will Bukit Batok SMC still exist in the upcoming General Election?

Speculation mounts over the fate of Bukit Batok SMC given PAP’s Murali Pillai’s narrow win in GE2020. SDP Chair Prof Tambyah earlier notes a pattern: constituencies with PAP under 55% vote share tend to be redrawn or vanish, such as Joo Chiat SMC and Cheng San GRC.

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SINGAPORE: As Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong set to take over the baton from Mr Lee Hsien Loong to lead the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) on 15 May, speculation regarding the timing of the next election is rife.

Mr Wong is expected to lead PAP into the upcoming elections slated for November 2025.

Sources suggest a strategic possibility of holding the election in September, potentially coinciding with cash handouts from Budget 2024 and preceding major elections in the United States and the United Kingdom in November.

However, as of April, The Elections Department of Singapore (ELD) confirmed to state media that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) has not yet been convened.

The formation of the committee is a critical step preceding the announcement and conduct of a General Election

The uncertainty surrounding the formation of the EBRC is a matter of concern for many, particularly the opposition.

SDP’s constituency prospects amidst uncertainty

For instance, in a recent interview, Dr Chee Soon Juan, Secretary General of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), expressed significant apprehension about the lack of clarity regarding electoral boundaries in Singapore.

He told reporters that “everything’s up in the air,” and the SDP is waiting for the announcement from the EBRC, in which the timing and decisions of the EBRC are beyond the party’s control.

“For now, all we can do is just “agak-agak” (estimate)… What blocks go into which constituencies is beyond our control,” said Dr Chee, suggesting the challenges the SDP faces in planning and strategizing effectively for the upcoming elections amidst the uncertainty.

In GE2020, Dr Chee Soon Juan contested in Bukit Batok Single Member Constituency (SMC)  against incumbent Murali Pillai from PAP.

While Mr Pillai retained the seat, Dr Chee’s vote share increased to 45.2% from 38.77% in the 2016 by-election.

The increase in Dr Chee’s vote share suggests an improved chance of winning the SMC.

However, until the EBRC makes its final announcement, it remains uncertain whether the SMC will be retained in the upcoming GE or merged into an adjacent Group Representative Constituency (GRC).

During his speech at the SDP General Election Campaign launch on 11 May, SDP Chairman Prof Dr Paul Tambyah also criticized the lack of clarity regarding the formation of the EBRC and the specific terms of reference for their work.

He observed that constituencies, where the PAP has won less than 55% of the vote, tend to disappear or get redrawn, such as Joo Chiat SMC and Cheng San GRC.

Joo Chiat SMC’s fate serves as an example of this trend. It was merged into Marine Parade GRC in 2015.

During GE2011, Workers’ Party candidate Yee Jenn Jong contested in the SMC, challenging PAP’s Charles Chong, who narrowly defended the seat with a 51.02% vote share.

During the General Election of 1997, a PAP team consisting of five candidates, led by Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, was challenged by a WP team in Cheng San GRC. They retained the seat with only a 54.8% vote share.

Following this, Cheng San GRC was dissolved in the subsequent election and consequently redrawn into several neighbouring constituencies.

Speculation arises over Bukit Batok SMC’s future in the upcoming GE

Given that the incumbent MP of Bukit Batok, Mr Murali Pillai, only managed to retain the seat with 54.80% of the votes, speculation has arisen regarding the fate of the SMC in the upcoming GE.

There are questions about whether it will be abolished and absorbed into a nearby GRC.

Notably, Mr Murali Pillai was promoted to Minister of State for Law and Transport in a recent Cabinet Reshuffle announced by designate PM Lawrence Wong on Monday (13 May).

Gutzy sought the views of Mr Ravi Philemon, Secretary General of alternative party Red Dot United (RDU), to gather his perspective on the boundary demarcation issue in the upcoming general election, particularly considering his party’s involvement in contesting Jurong GRC and the potential absorption of Bukit Batok SMC into the GRC.

He said, “It’s highly probable that the EBRC will carve out a ward from the 5-member West Coast GRC and reduce it to a 4-member constituency. ”

“The PAP wouldn’t want to risk losing 5 candidates in West Coast in one fell sweep.”

During GE2020, RDU led by Mr Philemon contested in Jurong GRC. The PAP led by then-Senior Minister Mr Tharman retained Jurong GRC with 74.62% of the vote.

New ‘Tengah GRC’?

Mr Philemon recalled that In 2015, during his contest in Hong Kah North (HKN), parts of Jurong West (now part of Gek Poh ward closest to Jalan Bahar) were within the constituency.

However, by GE2020, these areas were redrawn along with West Coast GRC.

“I drive through the HKN constituency at least once a week and still meet friends there. There has been a significant increase in the number of flats in the HKN part of Bukit Batok and the Tengah area. ”

Having observed significant residential growth in the HKN part of Bukit Batok and the Tengah area, Mr Philemon believes it’s unlikely for HKN to remain an SMC due to the increasing number of voters.

Furthermore, he noted recent visits by National Development Minister Desmond Lee, who is also the MP of Boon Lay ward, to Plantation Plaza in Tengah, despite Senior Minister of state Amy Khor taking care of residents in Tengah.

This observation led Mr Philemon to speculate that a new 4-member GRC named ‘Tengah’ will be created by the EBRC in the West.

“It will likely consist of HKN, Boon Lay (and parts of) Gek Poh wards from West Coast GRC, alongside either Pioneer SMC or Bukit Batok SMC.”

In July 2023, a motion to abolish GRC system dismissed by Supermajority PAP Parliament

In July last year, Mr Leong Mun Wai and Ms Hazel Poa, the two Non-Constitency Members of Parliament (NCMPs) from the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), filed a motion to abolish the GRC system.

The GRC system, a pivotal part of Singapore’s electoral system since its introduction in 1988, was initially introduced to ensure multiracial representation in Parliament.

The PSP NCMPs and several opposition members argued that it could potentially serve as a tool for PAP to gain an electoral advantage and potentially undermine the democratic process.

Ms Poa asserted that the political manipulation had overshadowed the GRC system’s initial intent of guaranteeing minority representation. She contended that the system poses barriers for opposition parties in assembling a team to contest a GRC, as this requires a significant amount of resources and manpower.

Mr Leong Mun Wai  highlighted that from a democratic standpoint, the GRC system should be regarded as one of the most undesirable electoral rules in the world.

“It magnifies the seat share of the PAP beyond its voting strength and creates opportunities for the manipulation of electoral boundaries for partisan purposes. Over time, it breeds cynicism and disillusion in our political system as the views of the public are not properly reflected in the election results.” said Mr Leong.

Mr Leong suggested that the GRC system was used to hamper the opposition’s chances, alluding to potential gerrymandering where boundaries are redrawn advantageously for the ruling party.

He said, “Since 1988, SMCs that have been absorbed into GRCs have had a higher average vote share for the Opposition than the average SMC. In many of these SMCs, the Opposition polled above 40%, such as Braddell Heights, Bukit Batok, and Changi in 1991, Joo Chiat in 2011, and Fengshan in 2015.”

“Only SMCs and GRCs that the Opposition have won are consistently spared from changes in their electoral boundaries. I therefore fully expect West Coast GRC and other constituencies where PSP contested in the last election to disappear or have their boundaries heavily redrawn in the next election. If that happens, I hope Singaporeans will open their eyes and decide for themselves if these changes are due to population shifts and housing developments, or other reasons.”

Referring to the Workers’ Party’s 2020 manifesto, where his party is in favour of replacing the system with Single Member Constituencies, Leader of the Opposition, Mr Pritam Singh, expressed the belief that Singaporean society has matured beyond voting solely along racial lines and suggested that the continued existence of the GRC system could unintentionally reinforce the racial divisions it was intended to ameliorate.

Mr Singh sharply questioned the inconsistencies surrounding the alteration of electoral boundaries, highlighting the phenomenon as an issue of gerrymandering.

He cited the specific examples of Fengshan and Joo Chiat, previously tightly contested SMCs, becoming parts of a GRC, questioning the rationale behind such decisions.

Nevertheless, the Parliament with PAP supermajority had dismissed the PSP motion and defended GRC’s role in maintaining racial and religious harmony in Singapore.

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BB will almost certainly be taken over by CSJ. The father of the criminal will soon be ousted because he didn’t do enough for the residents there. Bye bye. Close mama shop.

Is the GRC system to ensure minority representation or is it prevent more minorities from entering Parliament thereby ensuring that the political power remains with the majority race? It is a racist policy and should be dismantled immediately. It is a human rights violation of the minorities in Singapore. This also means that the PAP have not allowed the best brains to enter Parliament using the racist card. The continued practice is unfair to the minority races in Singapore.

Murali Pillai being promoted to MOS is rather strange. First, his age. His sideburns already white which means his “runway” is not very long, so rather pointless to appoint him to that position. He DEFINITELY won’t be in the 5G so …. Unless Lawrence Wrong is trying to shore up the Indian “diversity” in the cabinet.

Any Singaporean still think GRC is to ensure minority representation in Parliament, ought to have his brain checked.

It was proven time and time again only useless Chinese MPs entered Parliament through GRCs.

In order to tell PAP to abolish GRC is by voting Oppositions in all GRCs.

PAP’s MPs in GRCs only work for the party, not for the people. That is a fact.

PAP has lied to you all this time.

It is so true of the political opposition parties in this red dot.

Whenever GE draws near, you will see Ah Chee starts emerging again from his hideout.

In between GEs, Ah Chee will be busy at his restaurant.

No picture, No sound of him, No action.

We know that he is not serious but just trying his luck.

Chee Soon Juan you lose again.

Don’t bother yourself in trying.

Doomsday.

Doomsday.

Doomsday for SG.

When is it coming to roost, er… PAP Millionaire Scumbags?

This is NO FALSEHOOD – when 1,000,000s of FOREIGNERS in SG taking up critical posts, earning MUCH HIGHER SALARIES than Sheeps – HOW is We have Your backs IN ACTION?

Agreed that the political play would be to re-absorb BB with Jurong-Clementi GRC. Murali was given a chance to show what he can do by his own merits, and it is clear he is a lemon. JC-GRC is now only helmed by GraceFuxx, not exactly heavy-weight material despite her seniority (meaning a pretty useless person). Mdm Mahzam, though a MoS, is clearly not a vote-puller. That may explains the recent promotion of Murali to MoS – standard pap practice is for a useless minister to be supported by 2 MoS. Apparently 61% thinks there is some comfort that 3 big… Read more »

In 🇺🇸, the courts ANALYSE, SCRUTNISE Political Parties REDRAWING of Polling Districts TO PREVENT and OUTLAW aims to favour the sitting parties in power.

This is the TRUE MARK of justice for RIGHTS of EACH VOTERS the LAW VIGOROUSLY protects.

In SG is PAP IS CORRUPTED beyond JURISDICTION because the Jurisdiction PROTECTS PAP and NOT PROTECT voters.

Classic FRAUD : within is NOT INSIDE.

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𝐂𝐨𝐩𝐲 𝐇𝐞𝐫𝐞…. 𝐖­­𝐰­𝐰­.­­𝐏­­𝐚­­𝐲­­𝐬­­𝟕­­­­𝟕­.­­­𝐂­𝐨­𝐦

GRC, SMC, whatever and wherever !!!

So long as this regime holds the majority, they can do whatever that fits their agenda , … and carve out, merge or even make constituents, districts and villages disappear !!!

The key, as with all GE’s, and SillyPore is no exception, … in that it’s in the hands of the electorate !!!

And therein lies the seven decade ol SillyPore problem, … the electorate !!! !!!

No chance Bukit batok would be still SMC ….gerrymandered into a GRC soon.
Parachute loser Ng CB in with another anchor…
So ah Chee is now facing an even daunting task of getting elected.
Cry unfair all you oppo losers want.
You fuxktards should know for decades…HOW this game was and is being played!
Too bad, maybe Chee should weigh his chances in contesting other electoral division!
Don’t say I say…if Chee die die want to contest as a GRC just becos of Bukit Batok ,he will lose ….yet again!😆😆😆

Voters must see through what the PAP is doing by redrawing these boundries.

And regardless of where the voters reside, they must deny the PAP the mandate to govern.
The problem lies not only in boundries, but the phenomenon of split votes whenever there is more than
2 parties contesting. The PAP naturally will garner more votes in such a situation.

I ask the opposition parties to have an alliance to eliminate this situation.
Then there is a good chance the the PAP will be kicked out for the next 5 years.

And keep them locked out of parliament.

Not enough people would have moved in by November 2025 to warrant a Tengah GRC.

Also would these people even vote for the incumbents, or will we have a “Seng Kang” in the west? It will be a gamble for the ruling government if they play it.

“Forest Town” Tengah is looking more like Concrete and Traffic congestion city. The planning has been horrendous and is likely leaving a bitter aftertaste in the mouths of couples and families that are moving in right now.

Last edited 5 days ago by Blankslate

Hope LW as new PM then will play fair …no dirty tricks to fix opp parties.
….but oh dear, that oldcoot LHL as his SM will teach him how to fix opp !
SDP please be on your guard..
All the Best.

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