Without a majority in parliament, how do you form a government? Number does count. PM Lee is too aware of it as he needs a mandate which has to come from the number of seats won - the quantity not the quality. He cannot form a government if only his high quality scholars win seats through the back doors of group representative system.
In GE2015, PM Lee seeks to have a strong mandate which again is a number or percentage. ESM Goh Chok Tong also urged voters to give a strong mandate to PM Lee. So, what is the number behind a strong mandate? PM Lee does not disclose so that on September 11, he can claim whatever number or percentage will be a strong mandate. This time he will say quality is important and percentage won or seats won is not that important even with a reduced majority, as the PAP is returned to form the next government.
So, he does have a double standard and double meaning for quality as well as quantity.
He downplay the quantity and up play the quality so much so that he thinks the government nominated members of parliament can do a better job. Yes, of course, they can do the same group thinking like the PAP. They can perform a good ‘wayang’.
Perhaps, PM Lee can do a magic by forming a government without a majority. It is interesting to see how he can manage to form a government with only quality and not quantity. Perhaps, as what rumour said if there were a freak election, army could be called in. Then, quantity is not important and parliament is not important too.
The PAP strategy of group representative constituencies and minority representatives are number related. The PAP knows too well they will gain advantage in securing a good number of seats by doing so.
Hence, number is not important is not an honest statement. It tries to mislead voters alternative voices are not important when citizens demand more checks and balances. The PAP has set up many Government Parliamentary Committees (GPCs) which are really not important. PM Lee must be convinced GPCs have high quality and they can do a better job than the oppositions. Really? You see for yourself. Many years ago, there were rumours that GPC questions were prepared by different ministries. Both sides just put up a questions and answers wayang for Singaporeans.
Voters can judge the performance of GPCs and decide whether they agree with PM Lee that quality is important. GPCs are a wayang just to show public there is a debate in parliament. This is an outdated model of parliamentary democracy. In the 12th Parliament, under the PAP government, there were more GPCs than the number of opposition MPs. If quality counts, why then you need so many GPCs? And how well do they perform in term of quality?
“Goh, who had become Prime Minister in 1990, said in a post-election press conference that GPCs would be abolished as the increased number of Opposition MPs meant they were no longer needed. The PAP would return to the old system of having internal party committees meeting in private. A few weeks later, he said that GPCs would continue to exist, but their members would no longer take an adversarial stance in Parliament.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliament_of_Singapore#Government_Parliamentary_Committees
The above quote clearly showed that four opposition member of parliament (in 1991) was too small a number. They were not effective. And so, GPCs have to be retained and do the ‘wayang’.
PM Lee, of course, hopes to have a return of the good old days. Otherwise, he will have to find time to fix the oppositions.