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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 five seats in Parliament.

Group Representation Constituencies

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 one party - or from independents. 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, to four in 1991, and between 1997 and 2020, six. Since the 2020 elections, the number of candidates in a GRC decreased to a rule of five. [1]

GRCs operate with a plurality voting system, voting by party slate, meaning that the party with a majority of votes combined from all divisions regardless of how many divisions voted for a majority will wins the allocated seats by block for the GRC. Until 2011, 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 criticised 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 deposit ranging from S$4,000 to S$16,000 (the recent election is S$13,500). [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 attention to campaigning for candidates 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

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 results were close, with the PAP winning with 53,553 votes (54.8%) to the WP's 44,132 votes (45.2%). Cheng San GRC had since dissolved thereafter following the 2001 General Elections. Despite the disadvantages assumed by the opposition party in Singapore, WP was successful in taking over a GRC ( Aljunied GRC) during the 2011 General Elections [7] and later Sengkang GRC in the 2020 General Elections.

Current Electoral Map (2020–present)

As of the revision of the electorates on 15 April 2020, the number of electors in the latest Registers of Electors is 2,653,942.

Group Representation Constituencies

Constituency Seats Minority representation Electorate Polling Districts [8] Wards
Aljunied Group Representation Constituency 5 Malay & Indian 150,303 51 Bedok Reservoir–Punggol
Kaki Bukit
Paya Lebar
Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency 5 Indian or other 180,186 59 Ang Mo Kio–Hougang
Cheng San–Selatar
Jalan Kayu
Teck Ghee
Bishan–Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency 4 Malay 100,036 34 Bishan East–Sin Ming
Toa Payoh Central
Toa Payoh East
Toa Payoh West–Thomson
Chua Chu Kang Group Representation Constituency 4 Malay 103,231 34 Brickland
Bukit Gombak
Chua Chu Kang
Keat Hong
East Coast Group Representation Constituency 5 Malay 120,239 41 Bedok
Kampong Chai Chee
Holland–Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency 4 Indian 112,999 38 Bukit Timah
Ulu Pandan
Jalan Besar Group Representation Constituency 4 Malay 106,578 42 Kampong Glam
Kolam Ayer
Kreta Ayer–Kim Seng
Jurong Group Representation Constituency 5 Indian & Malay 129,933 45 Bukit Batok East
Jurong Central
Jurong Spring
Taman Jurong
Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency 5 Malay 137,906 47 Braddell Heights
Geylang Serai
Kembangan–Chai Chee
Marine Parade
Joo Chiat
Marsiling–Yew Tee Group Representation Constituency 4 Malay 114,243 40 Limbang
Yew Tee
Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency 5 Indian & Malay 137,906 45 Chong Pang
Nee Soon Central
Nee Soon East
Nee Soon Link
Nee Soon South
Pasir Ris–Punggol Group Representation Constituency 5 Malay & Indian 161,952 55 Pasir Ris West
Pasir Ris Central
Pasir Ris East
Punggol Coast
Punggol Shore
Sembawang Group Representation Constituency 5 Malay & Indian 139,724 47 Admiralty
Sembawang Central
Sembawang West
Sengkang Group Representation Constituency 4 Malay 117,546 38 Anchorvale (WP) / Sengkang West (PAP)
Buangkok (WP) / Sengkang Central (PAP)
Compassvale (WP) / Sengkang North (PAP)
Rivervale (WP) / Sengkang East (PAP)
Tampines Group Representation Constituency 5 Malay 147,249 51 Tampines Central
Tampines Changkat
Tampines East
Tampines North
Tampines West
Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency 5 Indian 132,598 49 Buona Vista
Tanjong Pagar–Tiong Bahru
West Coast Group Representation Constituency 5 Indian 144,516 50 Ayer Rajah–Gek Poh
Boon Lay
Telok Blangah
West Coast

Single Member Constituencies

Constituency Seats Electorate Polling Districts [8]
Bukit Batok Single Member Constituency 1 29,389 10
Bukit Panjang Single Member Constituency 1 35,258 12
Hong Kah North Single Member Constituency 1 23,519 8
Hougang Single Member Constituency 1 25,629 9
Kebun Baru Single Member Constituency 1 22,413 7
MacPherson Single Member Constituency 1 27,652 10
Marymount Single Member Constituency 1 23,439 7
Mountbatten Single Member Constituency 1 23,957 8
Pioneer Single Member Constituency 1 24,679 9
Potong Pasir Single Member Constituency 1 18,551 6
Punggol West Single Member Constituency 1 25,440 6
Radin Mas Single Member Constituency 1 25,167 10
Yio Chu Kang Single Member Constituency 1 26,046 9
Yuhua Single Member Constituency 1 21,188 8

See also


  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. ^ a b "The Report of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee, 2020" (PDF). Elections Department Singapore.

External links