Only the WP has made a gd case that the changes will cost it votes. Otherwise, I cannot disagree with the PM that the changes,”should lower the hurdle for parties intending to contest the elections”.
But what the PM does not say is that these changes make it less likely that the PAP would suffer a GRC loss, as it almost did in 2006, where only the Malay vote saved George Yeo and his team of four from defeat. And this after a “safe” area had been added. Turned out that the area was “toxic:. You never can tell.
Pre the 2006 election, the PAP’s aim was to win back the two SMCs. It was confident of its ability to win any other fight.
But after 2006 GE, I suspect its aim is to minimise possible losses. Hence the average size of GRCs was decreased to five, with a reduction in the number of six-member GRCs. And the number of Single Member Constituencies increased to 12.
Knowing human nature, the Opposition parties would focus theie efforts on SMCs, in the belief that it would be easier to win. Losses in a few SMCs would be preferable (for the PAP) to a “freak” loss a GRC of five or six MPs, including a cabinet minister.
And the increase in SMCs may tempt wannabes to stand, splitting the anti-PAP vote, all to the benefit of the PAP. In Joo Chiat, one Andrew Kuan is planning to stand in this usually WP -contested seat. The last I heard, he was the VP of Financial Services Consumers Association, where another wannabe presidential candidate, Tan Kin Lian, is president.
Final tot. Life is full of unintended consequences. By introducing GRCS and reducing SMCs, the PAP forced the Opposition to get better organised, “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind”.