SINGAPORE: Critics in Singapore are seeking more transparency on the formation of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) as they questioned why parliamentarians have to file questions on whether the committee has convened instead of having the formation be publicly available news.

The criticism comes on the heels of Education Minister Chan Chun Sing’s revelation that the committee has yet to convene, in response to parliamentary questions this week.

Opining that she finds this approach “quite silly,” former heavyweight Straits Times editor Bertha Henson quipped on Facebook: “That MPs have to keep asking. Just get a commitment that the public will be told as soon as it is formed lah! Rather than this begging bowl approach”.

Sharing her post, former The Online Citizen editor Andrew Loh dubbed the practice of MPs needing to file questions on the EBRC a “waste of Parliament’s time”. He said, “Singaporeans and the opposition parties are at the mercy of the PAP – which knows when the EBRC is convened and indeed when Polling Day will be, before anyone else.”

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Calling on the EBRC to announce its formation as soon as all members have been appointed, he questioned: “Why does the govt require MPs and Parliament to spend unnecessary time to get the information which should be freely, openly and fairly offered?”

The EBRC plays a crucial role in delineating constituencies for future general elections based on population shifts and housing developments. The release of its report typically serves as a significant indicator of an impending general election.

Looking back at the past four general elections, the shortest duration from EBRC establishment to report release was approximately two months, followed by one to four months until polling day.

The 2015 election stands out as the swiftest, with the committee established in May, report released in July, and election held in September. The subsequent election witnessed a more prolonged process, spanning almost a year from EBRC establishment in August 2019 to polls in July 2020.

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