(Editor: This article refers to the position “Non Constituency Member of Parliament”, otherwise known as NCMP. An NCMP is a position awarded to “the best loser” of the elections. A means of allowing more opposition and alternative voices in Parliament. NCMPs have all the rights, privileges and duties of elected MPs except that they cannot vote on constitutional amendments, Supply or Supplementary Bills, Money Bills, or motions of no confidence in the Government. See more here.)
As the Hougang by-election campaign hits the halfway mark today, I am a bit curious behind the motivations of someone who would put themselves on the ballot to be a MP this year, yet had absolutely no desire to serve as a Non-Constituency MP if given the chance, just a year ago? Does this not strike you as a bit odd, it does to me and here is why.
I have no interest in the “NCMP ballot-gate” controversy that has been raised in the last 24+ hours about whether or not the Workers’ Party had confidence in Mr. Png to serve as a NCMP when the Party voted in May 2011. The WP mantra is anti-establishment anyway, so who really cares if Mr. Png had the support of WP Party Chief Low back then vs. this past week? I certainly do not. Yet, what I do find most troubling are Mr. Png’s firm statements about why he rejected consideration of the NCMP post – simply because has disagreed with the NCMP scheme since it was first introduced.
What is Mr. Png’s commitment to serve the people? Must one only be a MP to serve? While most would certainly prefer to be a MP, a true “public servant” would have such a strong desire to serve the people that they would take-up any position which would allow them to do so. On the other hand, Mr. Choo ran for the Hougang MP seat last year and here he is again, putting himself up for public scrutiny to fulfill his promise to serve the people. This shows both a strong commitment and a strong desire to serve the residents of his district.
While the WP will tell you that this election is about keeping the People’s Action Party in-check, it should be about electing the person who wants the job for the right reason? About electing someone like Mr. Choo, who has highlighted local issues and will have the ability to deliver on them? It would appear that the prior WP MP was not focused on local infrastructure upgrades. He neglected the basic needs of the residents of Hougang and it seems that Mr. Png has chosen the same path, focusing on national issues, criticizing the seated Party with little regard for the day-to-day needs of the residents of the district he says he wants to represent.
Mr. Png had the opportunity to serve a year ago and he says that he said, ‘no thank you’ to that chance. Mr. Choo, on the other hand, wanted to serve the people of Hougang a year ago and he wants to again today. I think we should say ‘thank you’ by giving Mr. Choo that opportunity on Saturday.