Members of Parliament (MPs) consist of either elected, non-constituency or nominated Members. The majority of MPs are elected into Parliament at a General Election on a first-past-the-post basis and represent either Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) or Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs).
MPs act as a bridge between the community and the Government by ensuring that the concerns of their constituents are heard in Parliament. The present Twelfth Parliament has 99 MPs consisting of 87 elected MPs, 3 Non-Constituency MPs (NCMPs) and 9 Nominated MPs (NMPs).
In GRCs, political parties field a team of between three to six candidates. At least one candidate in the team must belong to a minority race. This requirement ensures that parties contesting the elections in GRCs are multi-racial so that minority races will be represented in Parliament. There were 15 GRCs and 12 SMCs in the 2011 General Election.
The Constitution also provides for the appointment of other MPs not voted in at a General Election. Up to 9 Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMPs) from the opposition political parties can be appointed. This is to ensure that there will be a minimum number of opposition representatives in Parliament and that views other than the Government's can be expressed in Parliament.
A constitutional provision for the appointment of up to 9 Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs) was made in 1990 to ensure a wide representation of community views in Parliament. NMPs are appointed by the President of Singapore for a term of two and a half years on the recommendation of a Special Select Committee of Parliament chaired by the Speaker. NMPs contribute independent and non-partisan views in Parliament.