Constituencies of Singapore

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Constituencies in Singapore are electoral divisions which may be represented by single or multiple seats in the Parliament of Singapore. Constituencies are classified as either Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) or Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs). SMCs are single-seat constituencies but GRCs have between four and six seats in Parliament.

Group Representation Constituencies[edit]

Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) are a type of electoral constituency unique to Singaporean politics. GRCs are multi-member constituencies which are contested by teams of candidates from different political parties. In each GRC, at least one candidate or Member of Parliament must be from a minority race: either a Malay, Indian or Other.[1]

In 1988, the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) amended the Parliamentary Elections Act[2] to create GRCs. The current Act enables the President, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister, to create a GRC from three to six electoral wards. In creating GRCs the President is advised by the Elections Department. The initial maximum size for GRCs was three candidates, but this has subsequently been increased. In the 1991 Singaporean general election, the maximum number of candidates was raised from three to four. In 1997 the maximum number of candidates was further raised to six.[1]

GRCs operate with a plurality voting system, voting by party slate, meaning that the party with the largest share of votes wins all seats in the GRC. (This means that even with a one-vote plurality or majority, the winning team gets to win the whole GRC.) All Singaporean GRCs have had a PAP base.

The official justification for GRCs is to allow minority representation. Former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong argued that the introduction of GRCs was necessary to ensure that Singapore's Parliament would continue to be multiracial in its composition and representation.[3] Opposition parties have criticized GRCs as making it even more difficult for non-PAP candidates to be elected to Parliament. The money required to contest a GRC is considerable as each candidate is required to pay a S$16,000 deposit.[1] This means that contesting a GRC is very costly for opposition parties. The presence of Cabinet Ministers in GRCs is often believed to give the PAP a considerable advantage in the contesting of a GRC. The PAP has used this tactic to its advantage on several occasions. Rather than stand in an uncontested GRC, in 1997, then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong shifted his candidacy to where the PAP believed they were most vulnerable, which was the Cheng San GRC.[4] The opposition has charged the government with gerrymandering due to the changing of GRC boundaries at very short notice (see below section on electoral boundaries).

Critics have noted that Joshua Benjamin Jeyaratnam won the 1981 Anson by-election in a Chinese-majority constituency, and that since the GRC system was implemented, minority representation in Parliament has actually declined.

Boundaries and gerrymandering allegations[edit]

The boundaries of electoral constituencies in Singapore are decided by the Elections Department, which is under the control of the Prime Minister's Office.[5] Electoral boundaries are generally announced close to elections, usually a few days before the election itself is announced.[5][6] There have been accusations of gerrymandering regarding the redrawing of electoral boundaries and the dissolving of constituencies that return a high percentage of votes for parties other than the ruling PAP.[7]

One of the cases that is often cited as evidence for gerrymandering in Singapore is the case of the Cheng San Group Representation Constituency (GRC). In the 1997 Singaporean general election, the Cheng San GRC was contested by the PAP and the Workers' Party of Singapore (WP). The final result was very close, with the PAP winning by 53,553 votes to the WP's 44,132 votes. By the time of 2001 general election the Cheng San GRC had been dissolved. Despite the disadvantages assumed by the opposition party in Singapore, the Workers' Party of Singapore made history in 08/05/2011, with the first take over of Aljunied GRC during the General Election 2011.[7]

Current Electoral Map[edit]

  • Electoral Map as of 2013
Singapore electoral boundaries as of 2013 after the Punggol East By-Election

2011 changes[edit]

On 24 February 2011, the Elections Department published the updated list of electoral divisions for the next Singapore general election which is held on 7 May 2011. There are fifteen GRCs, each with four to six seats, and 12 SMCs. The total number of contested seats is 87.

[8] The major changes in the electoral divisions are as follows:

  • New GRCs
    • Moulmein-Kallang GRC - 4 MP
    • Chua Chu Kang GRC - 5 MP
    • Nee Soon GRC - 5 MP
  • New SMCs
    • Hong Kah North
    • Mountbatten
    • Pioneer
    • Punggol East
    • Radin Mas
    • Sengkang West
    • Whampoa
    • Yuhua
  • Changes in electoral seats within GRCs
    • Holland-Bukit Timah GRC - five to four
    • Marine Parade GRC- six to five
    • Sembawang GRC - six to five
    • Tanjong Pagar GRC - six to five
  • Dissolved GRC
    • Jalan Besar GRC - Jalan Besar, Kolam Ayer, Kampong Glam division of the Jalan Besar GRC go into the newly formed Moulmein-Kallang GRC while Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng division from the Jalan Besar GRC will be absorbed by the Tanjong Pagar GRC.
    • Hong Kah GRC - renamed to Chua Chu Kang GRC
  • Dissolved SMC
    • Chua Chu Kang (absorbed into Chua Chu Kang GRC)
    • Macpherson (absorbed into Marine Parade GRC)
    • Nee Soon Central (absorbed into Nee Soon GRC)
    • Nee Soon East (absorbed into Nee Soon GRC)
    • Yio Chu Kang (absorbed into Ang Mo Kio GRC)
  • Changes in boundaries between GRCs
    • Aljunied-Hougang division of the Aljunied GRC was renamed to Ang Mo Kio-Hougang division of the Ang Mo Kio GRC. In return, Kaki Bukit division was taken from the Marine Parade GRC whereas some of it moved to Kembangan-Chai Chee (replacing Kampong Ubi-Kembangan).
    • The newly formed Nee Soon GRC which will take in voters from Nee Soon East and Nee Soon Central single divisions and parts of Sembawang and Ang Mo Kio GRCs.[9]
Singapore electoral boundaries, released in February 2011

Group Representation Constituencies[edit]

Division Seats Electorate Wards and polling districts[10]
Election Present
Aljunied Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Malay MP) 143,024 143,101 Bedok Reservoir-Punggol (9: AJ01 to AJ09),
Kaki Bukit (6: AJ10 to AJ15),
Serangoon (12: AJ16 to AJ27),
Eunos (10: AJ40 to AJ50),
Paya Lebar (12: AJ28 to AJ39)
Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency 6 (at least one Indian/Other MP) 178,933 179,024 Cheng San-Seletar, Teck Ghee, Jalan Kayu, Kebun Baru, Yio Chu Kang, Ang Mo Kio-Hougang
Bishan-Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Malay MP) 122,416 122,476 Bishan East, Thomson - Toa Payoh,[11] Toa Payoh Central,

Bishan North, Toa Payoh East

Chua Chu Kang Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Malay MP) 158,552 158,617 Bukit Gombak (HH46 - HH53), Chua Chu Kang,

Keat Hong (HH16 - HH24), Nanyang (HH26 - HH35), Yew Tee (HH01 - HH15, HH25)

East Coast Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Malay MP) 120,207 120,281 Bedok, Siglap, Changi-Simei, Fengshan,

Kampong Chai Chee

Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency 4 (at least one Indian/Other MP) 91,559 91,588 Bukit Timah, Cashew,

Ulu Pandan, Zhenghua

Jurong Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Indian/Other MP) 125,214 125,262 Bukit Batok, Bukit Batok East, Jurong Central,

Taman Jurong, Jurong Spring

Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Malay MP) 154,340 154,412 Bradell Heights, Geylang Serai, Kembangan-Chai Chee,[12]

Marine Parade, Macpherson

Moulmein-Kallang Group Representation Constituency 4 (at least one Malay MP) 87,498 87,558 Jalan Besar, Kampong Glam,

Kolam Ayer, Moulmein

Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Indian/Other MP) 148,168 148,249 Canberra, Chong Pang,

Nee Soon Central, Nee Soon East, Nee Soon South

Pasir Ris-Punggol Group Representation Constituency 6 (at least one Malay MP) 168,834 168,911 Pasir Ris East (14: PN01 to PN14),
Pasir Ris West (11: PN15 to PN25),
Punggol Central (13: PN32, PN33, PN43 to PN47, PN50 to PN52, PN60 to PN62),
Punggol North (10: PN26 to PN31, PN26 to PN34 to PN37),
Punggol South (10: PN56 to PN59, PN63 to PN66, PN-AJ06, PN-AJ07),
Punggol West
Sembawang Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Malay MP) 142,351 142,426 Admiralty, Marsiling,

Sembawang, Woodlands, Woodgrove

Tampines Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Malay MP) 137,437 137,498 Tampines Central (10: TM11 to TM15, TM39 to TM43),
Tampines Changkat (8: TM01 to TM03, TM28 to TM32),
Tampines East (10: TM4 to TM6, TM22 to TM27, TM34),
Tampines North (10: TM07 to TM10, TM16 to TM21),
Tampines West (8 :TM33, TM35 to TM38, TM44 to TM46)
Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Indian/Other MP) 139,638 139,738 Buona Vista, Queenstown,

Tanglin-Cairnhill, Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru, Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng

West Coast Group Representation Constituency 5 (at least one Indian/Other MP) 120,956 121,019 Ayer Rajah, West Coast (11: WE20 to WE29, WE50),
Boon Lay (WE41 to WE46),
Clementi (10: WE01 to WE07, WE09, WE10, WE-HT43),
Telok Blangah (10: WE08, WE11 to WE19)

Single Member Constituencies[edit]

Division Seats Electorate Polling districts
Election Present
Bukit Panjang Single Member Constituency 1 33,035 33,047 11 (BP01 to BP11)
Hong Kah North Single Member Constituency 1 27,691 27,696 9 (HN-HH36, HN-HH37, HN-HH39 to HN-HH45)
Hougang Single Member Constituency 1 24,532 24,555 9 (HG01 to HG09)
Joo Chiat Single Member Constituency 1 22,027 22,046 9 (JC01 to JC07, JC-EC39, JC-EC40)
Mountbatten Single Member Constituency 1 23,712 23,720 7 (MB-MA41, MB-MA43 to MB-MA48)
Pioneer Single Member Constituency 1 25,732 25,740 9 (PI-WE31 to PI-WE35, PI-WE39, PI-WE40, PI-WE51, PI-HH55)
Potong Pasir Single Member Constituency 1 17,306 17,318 5 (PS01 to PS05)
Punggol East Single Member Constituency 1 33,261 33,276 10 (PE-PN38 to PE-PN42, PE-PN48, PE-PN48, PE-PN53 to PE-PN55)
Radin Mas Single Member Constituency 1 31,001 31,011 10 (RM-TP30 to RM-TP32, RM-TP49 to RM-TP55)
Sengkang West Single Member Constituency 1 26,869 26,875 9 (SW-AM48 to SW-AM56)
Whampoa Single Member Constituency 1 21,615 21,622 7 (WP-JB10 to WP-JB15, WP-TP06)
Yuhua Single Member Constituency 1 23,183 23,195 9 (YH-JR16 to YH-JR22, YH-JR25)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Hussin Mutalib, 'Constituational-Electoral Reforms and Politics in Singapore', Legislative Studies Quarterly 21 (2) (2002), p. 665.
  2. ^ Now the Parliamentary Elections Act (Cap. 218, 2011 Rev. Ed.)
  3. ^ Hussin Mutalib, 'Constituational-Electoral Reforms and Politics in Singapore', Legislative Studies Quarterly 21 (2) (2002), p. 664.
  4. ^ Hussin Mutalib, 'Constituational-Electoral Reforms and Politics in Singapore', Legislative Studies Quarterly 21 (2) (2002), p. 666.
  5. ^ a b Alex Au Waipang, 'The Ardour of Tokens: Opposition Parties' Struggle to Make a Difference', in T.Chong (eds), Management of Success: Singapore Revisited (Singapore, 2010), p. 106.
  6. ^ Diane K. Mauzy and R.S. Milne, Singapore Under the People's Action Party (London, 2002), p.143.
  7. ^ a b Bilveer Singh, Politics and Governance in Singapore: An Introduction (Singapore, 2007), p. 172.
  8. ^ "GE: GE: 11 new constituencies drawn up". cna. 24 February 2011. 
  9. ^ "GE: How many voters does each GRC get?". cna. 24 February 2011. 
  10. ^ http://www.elections.gov.sg/gazette%5CG_RE2011%5CNames%20and%20Polling%20Districts%20of%20Electoral%20Divisions.pdf#zoom=100
  11. ^ : Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council :
  12. ^ [1][dead link]

External links[edit]