Electoral Boundaries Review Committee formed, says PM Lee

Singapore voters can expect at least 12 Single Member Constituencies and smaller Group Representation Constituencies in the next General Elections.

These are the key features Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has asked the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) to consider in its review when it was formed two months ago.

The formation of the committee is a strong indication that the General Elections (GE) could be held soon this year. The next GE must be held by January 2017.

In reply to questions from two members of parliament (MP), PM Lee said he had asked the committee to have at least a dozen Single Member Constitituencies and smaller Group Representation Constituencies, by reducing the average size of each constituency to below five divisions.

He also asked the committee to consider population shifts and housing developments since the last boundary delineation exercise.

He added: "As per past practice, the Committee is chaired by the Secretary to Prime Minister. It is now in the midst of its deliberations and will make its recommendations to me when it is ready."

PM Lee was responding, in today's Parliament sitting, to Mr Arthur Fong, an MP for West Coast GRC, and Mr Yee Jenn Jong, a Non-Constituency MP, who had submitted questions on the formation of the review committee. Both had sought oral answers from PM Lee.

He said he could not promise a minimum period between the publication of the committee's report and the announcement of the polls, that Mr Yee had asked for. The reason is that it would depend very much on the "exigencies of the situation, and...on when elections become necessary", said PM Lee.

The ruling People's Action Party (PAP), which saw its share of the votes drop to 60.1 per cent in the 2011 GE - its worst performance since Singapore's independence, and the loss of its Punggol East seat in a by-election in 2013, has been gearing up for the next big battle.

There has been much talk that the party has already firmed up its line-up for the upcoming polls, with candidates from a wider sweep of society to engage voters better. Potential ones have been deployed to understudy and assist senior PAP MPs at their Meet-The-People sessions and various grassroots activities.