Friday, 25 August 2017

Conversation: The Big Selection (or why we don't care, or should care)

"Now sure will have Elections next month one!"

"Just because the two other candidates submit their credentials for certification doesn't mean that they will qualify. They might not meet the criteria and may not qualify to run."

"No lah! The gumment already know the people buay song, buay kum guan that Tan Cheng Bock is being cheated of his chance to run for President, if the two kena disqualified and the Makcik gets to jalan into the Istana, everybody will shout 'Kelong!" so loudly, the fish will swim away!"

"Not necessarily. She said she don't want to stay in the Istana. Wants to stay in her own HDB flat."

"She siao lah! She think she Donald Trump ah? She wants her neighbourhood to become security zone ah? Anyway, no guarantee she will win."

"I don't see the other candidates as very credible..."

"Nothing to do with credible or not credible, lah. This is a democracy. Nothing to do with credible or capable or competent. Otherwise how do you think Donald Trump got elected? It's all about feelings. It's about buay song, buay kum guan, buay tahan. It's about telling the gumment off!"

"But in a way, it is a 'no-lose' situation because we will have a Malay President, right?"

"Right your head, ah! Let's say Makcik or one of the other candidates is who the Malay community REALLY believe would represent their community. So the WHOLE Malay community, all the Malay voters vote for that candidate. But Malays are only 15% of the population. If the Chinese voters don't care and luan-luan split their votes among all three candidates, then the Malay community tio beh piow and get the candidate they actually want. But if the Chinese voters prefer another candidate and most of them vote for that candidate that the Malays do not favour, then we will get a Malay President that the Malay community did not vote for. Is that still a Malay President? Because the Committee said so. Not because the community said so?"

"I did not think about that..."

"You can be sure that at least ONE of the candidates should have thought of that, and that candidate and maybe all of them, will be wooing the Chinese or non-Malay voters. And when that candidate wins because he or she managed to woo the Chinese voters, is he (or she) still a 'Malay President'?"

"But he or she would be President of ALL Singaporeans!"

"And that is why this Reserved Election is bullshit! The "Malay' President maybe doesn't even represent the Malay community. If they want the President to be someone the Malay Community accepts, then only the Malays should vote in a reserved election for a Malay President."

"But that doesn't make sense either because then the Malay President will lack credibility because not ALL Singaporeans chose him."

"Tio liao lah! That's why I say, this Reserved Election is bullshit!"

[FB Comment of 29 Aug:

Some questions I am thinking about re this "reserved Presidential Elections"
1) Is the Malay President of the Republic of Singapore (POTROS) president of ALL Singaporeans, or just Malay Singaporeans? (Ans: ALL Singaporeans).
2) In a non-reserved election, the candidates need not submit papers to affirm (or be confirmed) that he is a member of the community for which the PE is reserved (in this case Malay Community).
3) The "conclusion" that the candidate is "Malay" enough is decided by a committee. That is okay. Their conclusion or judgement will be endorsed by the community. The Malays will decide if the candidate is "Malay" enough. Right?
4) Except... Malays (and so Malay voters) make up only about 15% of the population. Even if ALL the Malay voters vote for Candidate A, if the non-Malay voters overwhelmingly prefer Candidate B, how?
5) Then there may well be a Malay President that most Singaporeans accept as their President (because the most people voted for him), but he (or she) may well not be considered a "Malay" President by the Malay Community of Singapore (because few Malays voted for him/her).
6) Maybe Malay Singaporeans should be given TWO votes to show that their votes matter more?
7) But even with that double weightage, 15% will only be 30% (actually less. 15 of 100 will become 30 of 115 or about 26%) And even if this is enough to swing the election towards the REAL Malay President (defined as acceptable to the Malay Community), what happens when it is time for a Reserved PE for an Indian President? They only make up 7%. Or Eurasian President (would there be one?) They make up about 1%.
8) Unless the Reserved PE is also reserved for the community to vote. So for a Malay Reserved PE, only Malay SC gets to vote? Then how is the President the choice of Singaporeans?
9) But if all Singaporeans get to choose, and the choice is not what the Community (in this case Malay, but I'm not trying to pick on the Malays, just that this is the pertinent example in front of us) feel represents the community, then isn't this all just wayang?

Some scenarios:
Scenario A. Malay Community has no preference. So assuming 3 candidates, they each get 5% of votes from Malay Voters. Non-Malay Voters also have no strong preference. So the 85% other votes almost equally distributed - 28%, 28%, and 29%. the candidate with 29% wins by a 1% margin.

Scenario B: Malay overwhelmingly prefer one candidate who gets almost all 15% of the votes from Malay voters. Non-Malays have no preference, and again votes 28-28-29. The candidate that the Malays favour will win and this result best represents the desire of the Malay Community.

Scenario C: Malays prefer Candidate A, and Non-Malays have a significant preference for Candidate C voting 20-20-45%. Candidate A (the Malay Community Choice) eventually has 35% of votes. But Candidate C (the non-Malay voters choice) would have 45% and win). This result would subvert the choice of the community.

But of course, the easiest way to discount all the above is to say: POTROS, is President of ALL Singaporeans regardless of Race. But recognise that in Scenario C (or even a mild variation of it), the community's preference does not actually prevail. Is this an issue. To dismiss it outright reveals your biases, or your lack of deliberation.

Or it just means you are a normal, non-Malay Singaporean.]

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