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Workers’ Party’s Gerald Giam explains why the party opposes the NCMP Scheme

He explained that the NCMP scheme has a "potentially insidious effect", where citizens are led to think that they are able to have opposition members without actually having to vote them into parliament

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Singapore – On July 28, Workers’ Party’s (WP) Gerald Giam was invited to an Instagram Live interview with Assistant Professor Walid J Abdullah. The professor had recently started a series titled “Teh Terik with Walid” on Instagram, with the episode with Mr Giam being the second in the series.

Mr Giam was asked by Professor Walid why the WP opposes the NCMP scheme, even though they have been the biggest beneficiaries of it.

To this, Mr Giam replied: “I would flip it around the other way. I would say we have made electoral progress despite the NCMP scheme.”

He continued by explaining that the NCMP scheme has a “potentially insidious effect”, where citizens are led to think that they are able to have opposition members without actually having to vote them into parliament.

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While the elections have shown that a substantial number of citizens do not think that way, Mr Giam stated that the fact that the ruling party was campaigning heavily on the scheme showed that they knew the NCMP scheme could sway voters into voting for the incumbent.

Some innovations made to the scheme by the ruling party, such as granting full voting rights to the NCMPs, does not make much difference to the power held by the NCMPs said Mr Giam, which many people failed to comprehend. He said that the Opposition had to spend quite some time explaining to citizens why they still needed their vote in spite of the NCMP scheme.

Professor Walid agreed that the ruling party did focus substantially on the NCMP scheme as part of their campaign, however he expressed that perhaps the tactic “didn’t work” as well as it was intended. He then asked Mr Giam if this has compelled the WP and Mr Giam to be more receptive to the NCMP scheme, knowing that many Singaporeans did not buy into what the ruling party was propagating and that this is a “fallback” for opposition in elections.

Mr Giam responded that he did not feel that the tactic did not work, given that the WP did not manage to get all of the seats they contested for. He also mentioned the Progress Singapore Party failed to get the small margin of votes needed to get into parliament as well and had to settle for NCMP in the end. He said that clearly, not many voters in some of the more competitive constituencies wanted Opposition members to be elected into parliament to represent them.

Mr Giam formally served as an NCMP from 10 October 2011 to 25 August 2015, after contesting in the 2011 elections in East Coast GRC. This year, Mr Giam contested in Aljunied GRC alongside Pritam Singh, Sylvia Lim, Leon Perera and Muhamad Faisal Bin Abdul Manap. They won against the PAP’s Aljunied Team, with 59.95% of the vote share for the constituency. -/TISG

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