Are all the members of the EBRC really not politically motivated?

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Heng Swee Keat said that the committee that reviews Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) is independent and not politically motivated. He was responding to Paul Tambyah who had asked if there was a “good reason” that the EBRC was not completely independent of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Heng asked Paul not to doubt the independence of the commission and that they are doing what is right. He insisted that they are not politically motivated.

The EBRC may work independently according to the Terms of Reference set by the Prime Minister’s Office, but is the committee really not motivated by politics?

I will cite a personal experience to question if members (at least one) may be politically motivated.

Cheong Koon Hean, the CEO of HDB is one of four members of the EBRC. In April last year, I attended an IPS lecture where Cheong was the Speaker. During the Q&A session, I questioned Cheong on her assertion on population density.

I asked: “In the last lecture you mentioned that Singapore’s population density will increase in the future. I can understand and appreciate that your views on urban planning are based on your role as a planner – not policy maker. But planners too don’t plan in a vacuum. My question is, ‘what underlying principles/philosophies guide your planning process?’”

Several participants at the lecture asked her other questions,and after she had taken note of all the questions, Cheong said that she had the right to answer whichever questions she wanted to.

She then went ahead to answer all the questions, except two – one by me and another by a property agent.

The agent had asked about HDB flat resale price which has increased over the generations but is now viewed as a “ticking time bomb”.

At the end of the lecture as I was leaving the venue of the lecture, another participant (who was a total stranger to me) stopped me at the hallway and remarked with a wry smile: “she didn’t answer you did she? It was an important question.”

I agree with him that it was an important question, which the HDB chief should have considered answering. But the real question is, “did she not answer the two questions due to political motivations?”

If she was indeed politically motivated in not answering the questions at the lecture, what assurances do we have that she will put aside her political bias in doing the important job of demarcating the constituencies for the next General Election?


Ravi Philemon




18 Responses to “Are all the members of the EBRC really not politically motivated?”

  • Why suffered in silence:

    Correct me if I am wrong,the EBRC reports to the PMO and how can they be independent? Wouldn’t the EBRC be subjected to the whims and fancies of Pinky?If they want transparency and fairness,appoint members from the private sector .Civil servants are more likely to toll the line and guard their ricebow,right?

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  • I'm Halimah also jiak liao bee:

    It’s a given that all these evil servants are PAP cronies.
    You just can’t bite that feeds your $$ million golden rice bowls.
    Why is it that the Ekectoral Board is under Loony in the first place.
    Countries that have true democracies have an independent electoral committee.
    So Ah heng, stop your white wash and bull shit.

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  • NotMyProblem:

    Nothing matters as long as they were ensured of their fat monthly pay check!

    Don’t forget they need the money too. There is a lot of theme parks and Disneyland for their families to visit, and shopping in Paris too.

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  • Dependent eh?:

    Hey Tell us clearly what happens after the Committee has completed the delineation?

    Has it got to be submitted to somebody for approval? I know kee Yong cannot approve as he is only a permanent secretary!

    So who approves the Plan eh? ……….the peeAyam?………he brings to the cabinet or better still he summons kee to attend cabinet to present his recommendation.

    So what is the answer? Who approves the plan……the opaque guys? Independent or Dependent? Don’t abuse the English Language or Queen’s language?

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  • Dr. Chan:

    @Ravi Philemon
    It is well known PAP plays dirty in elections. You shouldn’t be surprised at their tactics.
    They will stop at nothing to remain in power to prevent their dirty linen from airing in public.

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  • Starts from the top:

    Who did she vote for ?
    What do you think ?

    Vote wisely.

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  • Bapak:

    Mole – I do not work for him but cannot disagree with the GodFather and not to do things to make him angry. Otherwise, I will not be here.

    Judge – Nonsense, you are independence.

    Mole – Please tell it to Fatty Kim.

    Judge – Who is Fatty Kim?

    Mole – Your Honour, I think your horse is too tall.

    This was told to me by my pony.

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  • Doggie:

    Who EBRC reports to? You get the answer.

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  • PC Ong:

    Wah this Ravi really got problem with his brain. Just because HDB CEO don’t answer your question means she is politically motivated? Even geniuses can’t prove this link. Hey Ravi, your question is just too insignificant. Why should HDB CEO waste her time with you? Other people are asking about development priorities, and you just asking question to disrupt things. Of course she won’t answer you. Anybody also won’t waste their time on you.

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  • Really ?:

    After his Aneurysm., Heng seems a changed man. Some wires in his brain must have been shorted.

    From a layman point of view, EBRC, CPIB, Judiciary should not be under the PM Office. Why ? Eg if the PM is corrupted like Najib, who has the power to charge him with corruption ? Same with EBRC if their members are all PAP members or ex members or politically motivated, who can control them except the PM Office ?

    It is a ridiculous situation and every country in the world knows about it.

    This is my personal opinion.

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  • if chao-kuay teow ceo:

    //Just because HDB CEO don’t answer your question means she is politically motivated? Even geniuses can’t prove this link.//

    abu den ? if chao-kuay teow ceo, then don’t need brain also know NOT politically motivated ? but linked-here-linked there institutions, also know GOT OR NOT politically motivated ? afterall, we are talking about a place full of white idiotic genuises in a 151th environmental standard where 4 can be = 5 and selected can be = elected ?

    //Other people are asking about development priorities,//

    so chim ? do you mean priority for open-leg policy of 6.9m or 10m ?

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  • Went to Japan:

    Who can impeach our clown?

    He can go to parliament and declare himself innocent. LOL

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  • TruBlu:

    Seriously, GRC is unnecessary in a tiny country like ours.
    Why split into so MANY TOWN COUNCILS for estate operations?


    It oso divert away the REAL FOCUS OF WHAT MPs shud do in terms of law-making n national issues affecting the nation n not just this town or that?

    Btw, what town really?

    $tooopid poli $y that wa$te taxpayer money!

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  • Son of a Joker:

    His answers reflect his level of Honesty and also the level of IQ most citizens have.

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  • MarBowling:

    Asking CEO Cheong to answer the GREAT Question is like PLAYING MUSIC TO A BALDY COW! Period.

    CEO Cheong has stopped short of saying this: ARE YOU TALKING TO ME? Just like Joker D Trump has said to reporter Jeff Mason!

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  • EBRC , RC:

    ebRC . How about RC members ?

    I keep hearing RC members joining activities and they bring groups from the activity to buy things from him or her.

    Are RC people ultruistic or join grassroots to do business ?

    We must investigate this and capture evidence .

    Why js this a concern?
    Where there is business dealings involved corruption can eventually happen.

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  • Son of a Joker:

    Why suffered in silence:
    Correct me if I am wrong,the EBRC reports to the PMO and how can they be independent? Wouldn’t the EBRC be subjected to the whims and fancies of Pinky?If they want transparency and fairness,appoint members from the private sector .Civil servants are more likely to toll the line and guard their ricebow,right?

    Singapore is international standard. I suppose when Heng man said its independent, thats that? Even cambridge professors may laugh at this world class standard.

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  • Politics is dirty everywhere:

    Oppo members should be more careful eg wp allowed the service agent approve their own bills SYLVIA being a legal graduate should know better;she screwed herself big time and the 30 pct sporeans ; she should know better after
    Bringing up the aim saga that they are after her blood; she brought disservice to Wp n spore ,likely no more Oppo;after this election ; hope hanging on a thread on Tan Cheng BOCK

    Paul thambyah of Sdp unknowingly used the word independent members of electoral committee and HENG picked on that word and retorted you yrself said independent; second q Paul raised that they reported to someone in pm office was never addressed ; that’s the crux of whole matter and Paul should hv pressed on that;

    Next one is Kirsten Han she compared spore to Hk n that we lose out if taking into account we donot hv protest like in Hk
    The st picked on that and anyone reading that got impression that she encouraged protests in spore like what they do in Hk; I got v bad impression of her after reading the st report luckily I read CHERIAN GeoRge clarification in toc n hv more balanced view ;
    Many Oppo members are not aware that they are given enough rope to hang themselves
    Be careful plse ; donot let sporeans who want more views aired in parliament down
    A London trained lawyer Koh Han Khim I think in wp Yrs bk in a speech jokingly said he may hv to sell T-shirts to earn money which obviously is a joke Ashe is a London trained solicitor;st picked it up and next day headlines screamed Koh going to sell t shirts for a living something to that effect ; would u trust yrfuture to someone selling t shirts for a living?.tohandle billions of reserves?answer obvious

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