The Singapore People’s Party (SPP) has proposed that the Prime Minister’s discretion in setting the date of elections should be removed and replaced with a Fixed Terms of Parliaments Act, which will provide for the date of elections to be set in stone.
The opposition party made this proposal as it commented on the timing of the impending General Election. The party had been asked for its views on the alleged delay of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) report.
The Government announced that the EBRC – which is responsible for altering the boundaries of constituencies prior to each election – was formed in August last year, signalling that the next General Election is imminent.
In the past three elections, the EBRC has taken between two to four months to complete the review. The time between the release of the EBRC’s report and polling day has ranged from as little as 17 days to as long as six months, in Singapore’s history.
The SPP said that it was asked by the media to comment on the alleged delay of the EBRC report on Tuesday (7 Jan).
Opining that “there is little value in speculating the timing of the EBRC’s report or the reasons for the same,” the party said that it has instead been focusing on walking the ground to prepare for the election, so that it is not caught off guard no matter when the election is called.
The party added that it cannot allege that there had been a delay in the release of the EBRC report as such a statement would indicate that there is a fixed date for election. To resolve the issue of uncertainty over the timing of elections, the SPP proposed the removal of the Prime Minister’s discretion in setting the date for elections. It said:
“To resolve this issue, we advocate for the introduction of a Fixed Terms of Parliaments Act to be passed in Singapore. Essentially, it will provide for the date of elections to be set in stone and remove the Prime Minister’s discretion in that regard.
“Under the proposed legislation, only a 75% majority of Parliament can allow for the date mandated by statute to not be adhered to.”
The SPP concluded its statement by expressing its appreciation to the Workers’ Party (WP) for raising a question on the timing of the EBRC report release in Parliament.
WP secretary-general Pritam Singh had asked PM Lee whether the EBRC has completed its deliberations and when the EBRC report will be released to the public.
Responding on behalf of PM Lee, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing revealed on Monday (6 Jan) that the EBRC has yet to complete its deliberations on how the constituencies in Singapore should be carved up for the next electoral term.
Mr Chan – who serves as second assistant secretary-general of the ruling People’s Action Party – added: “When the EBRC has completed its work, the report will be presented to this House and released to the public.”
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