Unhappy with criticisms over the opposition voting against the NCMP scheme in Parliament yesterday (Oct 2), Minister Chan Chun Sing taunted the opposition Workers Party telling them not to take up the NCMP positions if they don’t support the government policy:
“The WP has two choices if it feels unable to support the NCMP scheme. One, was for a WP candidate to publicly declare during an election that he or she will not take up the NCMP seat even if offered. The other was for the WP to impose a rule on all its members not to take up an NCMP seat, even if it is offered. I think with these two options in front of us, the Workers’ Party can take its pick on what it wants to do. But it would be rather disingenuous to say that we oppose the NCMP scheme and, at the same time, to take up the NCMP seat.”
The single-party-controlled Parliament passed a new election law yesterday to incraese the number of Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMP) from 9 to 12. When there is insufficient opposition member voted into Parliament, the NCMPs will fill in the slots. The NCMPs are “best losers” in an election, who will get to sit in Parliament to debate but have no rights to vote in government policies. Currently, the legislated minimum is 9. Only 6 WP MPs successfully won the election, while 3 others – also from the WP – were selected as NCMPs.
The 6 WP MPs voted against the bill reasoning that this will dissuade Singaporeans for voting the opposition, and the NCMP scheme contravenes democratic principles that only elected MPs represent the people.
The Speaker of Parliament, PAP MP Tan Chuan Jin, then scolded the opposition saying that the Parliament is not a platform for debating the existence of NCMP scheme.
Angered with the Opposition’s opposition to the bill, PAP Minister Chan Chun Sing taunted the WP to not take up the NCMP seats.