Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pawns on a Political Chessboard?

If you all have been reading the local newspapers recently, you all will most probably have seen those reports in which certain PAP members, who are currently Members of Parliament (MPs) for various Group Representation Constituencies, were asked about their willingness to be fielded in a Single Member Constituency (SMC) in the upcoming General Election.

The response by these MPs were very similar (so similar to the extent that it appears that they were scripted) -- while they were comfortable with where they are being fielded currently, they will have no qualms about being fielded in a SMC, even if it is a different constituency from where they are currently serving, if the party leadership wishes to deploy them in such a manner. If I am not wrong, only one of the MPs interviewed express a sense of reluctance towards the prospect of being deployed to a different constituency.

Although these MPs were most likely briefed by their party leadership to provide this standard response, it nonetheless makes one wonder if these MPs, feeling a sense of commitment and loyalty to their current constituents, will object to or fight against a decision by their party leadership to deploy them to another constituency. Or will they meekly abide by the decision of their party leadership?

In other words, are the loyalty of these MPs more to their party or the constituents who they serve and represent?

Do not be mistaken. I am not saying that these MPs should not be loyal to their party or that they are in any way disloyal to their constituents for expressing a willingness to be deployed to another constituency. Yet, one perhaps cannot help but feel disheartened by the standard response of these MPs, that these MPs were as though mere pawns on a political chessboard.

For once, it will be heartening and refreshing if a MP, regardless of whether he or she really means it, says: "I will, even if it means I have to contest as an independent or as a member of the opposing party, stand by my constituents".

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