Singapore

Committee to consider smaller GRCs

The Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) was formed two months ago, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Parliament yesterday.

The formation of the EBRC, which redraws constituency boundaries, is the first formal step towards calling a General Election (GE).

Responding to queries, PM Lee said he had asked the committee to consider the population shifts and housing developments since the last exercise.

He also asked it to consider having smaller Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) to reduce the average size of the GRC to below five and to have at least 12 Single Member Constituencies (SMCs).

There are currently 15 GRCs and 12 SMCs.

NO PROMISES

Mr Lee added that he could not promise a minimum period between the publication of the report and the calling of a GE, as it depends "on the exigencies of the situation and... on when elections become necessary".

Previously, it had taken as short as one day, and as long as one month and 26 days after the report was submitted.

The EBRC is appointed by the PM and comprises five civil servants.

When asked if its members could be drawn from various political parties, PM Lee said he was not sure if "that's an entirely good idea".

He added that this was the practice in the US where members of the House of Representatives decide on the demarcation and "carve it up among themselves".

"It's a political deal... I think it's best we leave this to the civil servants to work at," he said.