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lpc1998 - 11:01pm Aug 11, 2003 SGT (783.
Other solutions to the voter apathy problem Pg 2/3

Other solutions to this problem, if it eventually is proven to be one are:

1 To reduce the number of election candidates for the Senate to 30 from 300 out whom 10 would be voted as Senators. In other words, we would a 10-member Senate instead of 100-member.

The disadvantages of Solution 1

a The relative loss of safety in number. With 100 Senators, we can still rely on 70 of them, if even 30 are ‘problematical’, whereas with only 10 Senators, we are in trouble, if 4 are ‘problematical’.
2 To empower the Talent Development Institute (TDI) to vet and approve the election candidates of certain “quality” and “ability” similar to the existing system where only “quality” candidates are fielded.

The disadvantages of Solution 2

a The TDI would become extremely powerful. If a President can find a way to corrupt or control the TDI, he can ensure only his men are nominated as candidates for the Senatorial election and thus, he would gain complete control of the Senate after the election so that he would have no fear of being impeached by the Senate. The Senate’s supervisory role under the Constitution would have been compromised.

b The problem of defining what constitutes “quality” and “ability”. Most probably, we would eventually revert to the existing system of approving only people with “proven” records or “outstanding” individuals such as the CEOs of public listed companies, former ministers, Presidential and SAF scholars, etc.

c The people would have lost their right to choose freely their own President or Senators because the election candidates have been chosen or “fixed up” for them.

3 To revert to the constituency elections.

The disadvantages of Solution 3

a In a constituency election, the Senator represents only the people of his constituency. So in order for him to ensure his own re-election, he has to serve his voters well at the expense of other Singaporeans. And in order to serve his voters well, he may have to form a gang within the Senate or to do some “horse trading’ with other Senators to obtain the desired benefits for his own constituents.

b The President would have the opportunity to ‘play’ one Senator against other. For instances, those Senators who are willing to do the bidding of the President would have more development projects in his constituency, a MRT station built there, HDB or private flat-upgrading, etc.

To be continued … Pg 3/3

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