How Singapore’s Election Deposits have increased over the years

Along with the announcement of the Polling Day of the Singapore election, the election deposit amount has also been increased to $16,000. That means a 6-member GRC team would need $96,000 just to contest.

I got curious and decided to check how the election deposit in Singapore has increased over the years. I got my information from this unofficial Singapore Elections web site. The information seems well-maintained, though I did spot one inaccuracy in the 2011 figure (it states $14,000 instead of $16,000).

I then plotted a graph to show how the election deposit amount has increased over the years, from the $500 in the 1955 general election to this year’s $16,000.

Some interesting statistics:

  1. The election deposit amount stayed constant for 5 GE in a row from 1955 to 1972.
  2. Since the 1984 election, the election deposit has increased every election.
  3. The largest percentage increase came in 1988 (+166% as compared to 1984).
  4. The largest increase in amount came in 2001 (+$5,000 as compared to 1997).
  5. The average rate of increase from 1984 to 2011 is 161% per GE.
  6. At this rate, the election deposit will be $170,666 in another 6 GEs’ time.
  7. Which means a $1,024,000 election deposit for a 6-men team.

Uniquely Singapore indeed.

About Hun Boon

A little bit of this, a little bit of that.
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8 Responses to How Singapore’s Election Deposits have increased over the years

  1. Mee Siam Mai Chilli Crabs says:

    Aiyah…soon you’ll have the same requirement as President election – only chosen few can be “servant” of the state
    Uniquely SIN city

    • Hun Boon says:

      According to Wikipedia

      Presidential Candidates have to be approved by a government committee, which makes a few subjectives judgments on the applicant’s eligibility – “He must be a person of integrity, good character and reputation”

      There’s another clause which guarantees a pool of potential candidates from the civil service:

      He must have for a period of not less than three years held office
      – as Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker, Attorney-General, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Auditor-General, Accountant-General or Permanent Secretary;[29]
      – as chairman or chief executive officer (CEO) of the Central Provident Fund Board, the Housing and Development Board, the Jurong Town Corporation or the Monetary Authority of Singapore;[30]
      – as chairman of the board of directors or CEO of a company incorporated or registered under the Companies Act[31] with a paid-up capital of at least $100 million or its equivalent in foreign currency;[32]
      – or in any other similar or comparable position of seniority and responsibility in any other organization or department of equivalent size or complexity in the public or private sector which has given him such experience and ability in administering and managing financial affairs as to enable him to carry out effectively the functions and duties of the office of President.

      IIRC, Andrew Kuan was the former CFO of JTC but he was deemed ineligible.

    • californian says:

      Similar to Iran, where candidates need to be approved by the Ayatollahs.

  2. Redd says:

    The election deposit entrenches the elite in the country by putting the elections out of reach for the majority of Singaporeans. The average Singaporean is deterred from standing for elections because the deposit represents almost half his or her total annual salary!

    • Hun Boon says:

      I agree that any Singapore citizen should be able to stand for election if they want to. Whether they win or not is a different issue altogether, but that should be decided by the voters.

  3. Pingback: Daily SG: 21 Apr 2011 « The Singapore Daily

  4. One says:

    It is also interesting to look at the deposit in comparison to GDP/capita. It shows that the system was unfair from the start. In 1959 500$ was also a year’s pay for average Singaporeans.

    • Hun Boon says:

      $500 is a huge sum of money in 1955 but that amount wasn’t increased for many years till 1976. Since then it has clearly gone out of control, and is used as a mechanism to discourage participation.

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