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Constituencies of Singapore

Constituencies in Singapore are electoral divisions which may be represented by single or multiple seats in the Parliament of Singapore. Constituencies are classified as either Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) or Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs). SMCs are single-seat constituencies but GRCs have between four and six seats in Parliament.

Contents

Group Representation ConstituenciesEdit

Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) are a type of electoral constituency unique to Singaporean politics. GRCs are multi-member constituencies which are contested by teams of candidates from different political parties. In each GRC, at least one candidate or Member of Parliament must be from a minority race: either a Malay, Indian or Other.[1]

In 1988, the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) amended the Parliamentary Elections Act[2] to create GRCs. The current Act enables the President, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister, to create a GRC from three to six electoral wards. In creating GRCs the President is advised by the Elections Department. The initial maximum size for GRCs was three candidates, but this has subsequently been increased. In the 1991 Singaporean general election, the maximum number of candidates was raised from three to four. In 1997 the maximum number of candidates was further raised to six.[1]

GRCs operate with a plurality voting system, voting by party slate, meaning that the party with the largest share of votes wins all seats in the GRC. (This means that even with a one-vote plurality or majority, the winning team gets to win the whole GRC.) All Singaporean GRCs have had a PAP base.

The official justification for GRCs is to allow minority representation. Former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong argued that the introduction of GRCs was necessary to ensure that Singapore's Parliament would continue to be multiracial in its composition and representation.[3] Opposition parties have criticized GRCs as making it even more difficult for non-PAP candidates to be elected to Parliament. The money required to contest a GRC is considerable as each candidate is required to pay a S$16,000 deposit.[1] This means that contesting a GRC is very costly for opposition parties. The presence of Cabinet Ministers in GRCs is often believed to give the PAP a considerable advantage in the contesting of a GRC. The PAP has used this tactic to its advantage on several occasions. Rather than stand in an uncontested GRC, in 1997, then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong shifted his candidacy to where the PAP believed they were most vulnerable, which was the Cheng San GRC.[4] The opposition has charged the government with gerrymandering due to the changing of GRC boundaries at very short notice (see below section on electoral boundaries).

Critics have noted that Joshua Benjamin Jeyaratnam won the 1981 Anson by-election in a Chinese-majority constituency, and that since the GRC system was implemented, minority representation in Parliament has actually declined.

Boundaries and gerrymandering allegationsEdit

The boundaries of electoral constituencies in Singapore are decided by the Elections Department, which is under the control of the Prime Minister's Office.[5] Electoral boundaries are generally announced close to elections, usually a few days before the election itself is announced.[5][6] There have been accusations of gerrymandering regarding the redrawing of electoral boundaries and the dissolving of constituencies that return a high percentage of votes for parties other than the ruling PAP.[7]

One of the cases that is often cited as evidence for gerrymandering in Singapore is the case of the Cheng San Group Representation Constituency (GRC). In the 1997 Singaporean general election, the Cheng San GRC was contested by the PAP and the Workers' Party of Singapore (WP). The final results were close, with the PAP winning by 53,553 votes (54.8%) to the WP's 44,132 votes (45.2%). Cheng San GRC had been dissolved thereafter in the 2001 General Elections. Despite the disadvantages assumed by the opposition party in Singapore, the Workers' Party of Singapore would later be successful in taking over a GRC (Aljunied GRC) during the 2011 General Elections.[7]

Current Electoral MapEdit

  • Electoral Map as of 2015
 
Singapore electoral boundaries as of 2015 after the 2015 General Election

Group Representation ConstituenciesEdit

Division Seats Electorate Wards[8]
Aljunied Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Malay MP) 148,024 Bedok Reservoir-Punggol, Eunos, Kaki Bukit, Paya Lebar and Serangoon
Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency 6 (at least one Indian/Other MP) 187,652 Ang Mo Kio-Hougang, Cheng San-Seletar, Jalan Kayu, Sengkang South, Teck Ghee and Yio Chu Kang
Bishan-Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Malay MP) 129,850 Bishan East-Thomson, Bishan North, Toa Payoh Central, Toa Payoh East-Novena and Toa Payoh West-Balestier
Chua Chu Kang Group Representation Constituency 4 (at least one Malay MP) 119,848 Bukit Gombak, Chua Chu Kang, Keat Hong and Nanyang
East Coast Group Representation Constituency 4 (at least one Malay MP) 99,015 Bedok, Changi-Simei, Kampong Chai Chee and Siglap
Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency 4 (at least one Indian/Other MP) 104,397 Bukit Timah, Cashew, Ulu Pandan and Zhenghua
Jalan Besar Group Representation Constituency 4 (at least one Malay MP) 102,454 Kampong Glam, Kolam Ayer, Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng and Whampoa
Jurong Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Indian/Other MP) 130,428 Bukit Batok East, Clementi, Jurong Central, Jurong Spring and Taman Jurong
Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Malay MP) 146,087 Braddell Heights, Geylang Serai, Kembangan-Chai Chee, Marine Parade and Joo Chiat
Marsiling-Yew Tee Group Representation Constituency 4 (at least one Malay MP) 107,527 Limbang, Marsiling, Woodgrove and Yew Tee
Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Indian/Other MP) 132,200 Chong Pang, Kebun Baru, Nee Soon Central, Nee Soon East and Nee Soon South
Pasir Ris-Punggol Group Representation Constituency 6 (at least one Malay MP) 187,252 Pasir Ris East, Pasir Ris West, Punggol Coast, Punggol North, Punggol West and Sengkang Central
Sembawang Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Malay MP) 144,604 Admiralty, Canberra, Gambas, Sembawang and Woodlands
Tampines Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Malay MP) 143,426 Tampines Central, Tampines Changkatt, Tampines East, Tampines North and Tampines West
Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Indian/Other MP) 130,601 Buona Vista, Henderson-Dawson, Moulmein-Cairnhill, Queenstown and Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru
West Coast Group Representation Constituency 4 (at least one Indian/Other MP) 99,236 Ayer Rajah, Boon Lay, Telok Blangah and West Coast

Single Member ConstituenciesEdit

Division Seats Electorate Polling districts
Election Present
Bukit Batok Single Member Constituency 1 27,077 25,727 9
Bukit Panjang Single Member Constituency 1 33,035 33,047 12 (increased from 11)
Fengshan Single Member Constituency 1 23,427 23,435 8
Hong Kah North Single Member Constituency 1 27,691 27,696 10 (increased from 9)
Hougang Single Member Constituency 1 24,532 24,555 9
MacPherson Single Member Constituency 1 28,511 28,520 10
Mountbatten Single Member Constituency 1 23,712 23,720 8 (increased from 7)
Pioneer Single Member Constituency 1 25,732 25,740 9
Potong Pasir Single Member Constituency 1 17,306 17,318 5
Punggol East Single Member Constituency 1 33,261 33,276 12 (increased from 10)
Radin Mas Single Member Constituency 1 31,001 31,011 10
Sengkang West Single Member Constituency 1 26,869 26,875 13 (increased from 9)
Yuhua Single Member Constituency 1 23,183 23,195 8 (reduced from 9)

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Hussin Mutalib, 'Constituational-Electoral Reforms and Politics in Singapore', Legislative Studies Quarterly 21 (2) (2002), p. 665.
  2. ^ Now the Parliamentary Elections Act (Cap. 218, 2011 Rev. Ed.)
  3. ^ Hussin Mutalib, 'Constituational-Electoral Reforms and Politics in Singapore', Legislative Studies Quarterly 21 (2) (2002), p. 664.
  4. ^ Hussin Mutalib, 'Constituational-Electoral Reforms and Politics in Singapore', Legislative Studies Quarterly 21 (2) (2002), p. 666.
  5. ^ a b Alex Au Waipang, 'The Ardour of Tokens: Opposition Parties' Struggle to Make a Difference', in T.Chong (eds), Management of Success: Singapore Revisited (Singapore, 2010), p. 106.
  6. ^ Diane K. Mauzy and R.S. Milne, Singapore Under the People's Action Party (London, 2002), p.143.
  7. ^ a b Bilveer Singh, Politics and Governance in Singapore: An Introduction (Singapore, 2007), p. 172.
  8. ^ http://www.elections.gov.sg/gazette%5CG_RE2011%5CNames%20and%20Polling%20Districts%20of%20Electoral%20Divisions.pdf#zoom=100

External linksEdit