SINGAPORE — If offered a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) appointment, Progress Singapore Party’s (PSP) Leong Mun Wai would reject it.
Leong, PSP’s assistant secretary-general, told media during his team’s walkabout at Ayer Rajah Market on Saturday (4 July), “I will not want the NCMP seat. But I will refer to Dr Tan’s judgement and because he’s our mentor, everything we refer to Dr Tan.”
PSP’s secretary-general Dr Tan Cheng Bock had opposed the scheme, which allows for losing opposition candidates with the highest percentage of votes during a General Election (GE) to take up seats in Parliament, during his 26-year term as a PAP MP of then-Ayer Rajah SMC.
First introduced in 1984 to ensure that there would always be a minimum number of opposition members in Parliament, the scheme was expanded in 2016 to allow for a maximum of 12 NCMPS who are given equal voting rights as full MPs.
Earlier this week, Dr Tan further rubbished the scheme, labelling it as the PAP’s “ploy” to entice voters into not voting for the opposition. He said he would not accept an NCMP seat but would not object to his team becoming NCMPs to get “a feel of what Parliament is like”.
Instead, PSP’s second-in-command Leong counter-proposed a scheme that involved proportional representation of opposition members.
“We know that overseas there is such a thing as proportional MPs. They do not serve the constituents directly but they represent certain interests of society. That is also an acceptable way of diversifying our Parliament,” he said. “If they use the NCMP, you are regarded as a loser MP and you have no access to the people.”
If the government was serious about giving the opposition a voice, it should introduce proportional representation, said Leong.
He, along with Dr Tan and teammates Jeffrey Khoo, Hazel Poa and Nadarajah Loganathan, will be vying for West Coast GRC in the upcoming 10 July polls. They are up against PAP’s team consisting of ministers S Iswaran and Desmond Lee, Foo Mee Har, Ang Wei Neng and Rachel Ong.
Growing community spirit
Asked about his “West Coast plan”, Dr Tan said that he wanted to recover the “soul” of Singapore.
“Don’t think of the material goods. I think my opponents are always (saying) ‘I build this for you, I build that for you’, but the most important is to build this community spirit,” he said.
Asked by a reporter if he was up for another four years of walking the ground, Dr Tan said, “You look at me, I walk faster than you, okay?” He added that he exercised daily and ate carefully.
“I will do as much as I possibly can... but the most important role that I will do is to bring all my young friends here,” he said, referring to his younger party members.
“The platform I build, they will take on that platform, I will make way for them. Because that’s how society grows.”
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