If we want a elected presidency, stop changing rules when they make you uncomfortable

Justice Quentin Loh ruled that Parliament was “entitled, through the passing of the (amendments to the EP scheme), to specify President Wee’s last term in office as the First Term”’

Entitled to but it does not mean it is the right decision that Singaporeans will popularly accept because we all know President Ong to be the first EP. That has been said so in the press, by the late LKY, by then PM Goh CT and by many others for so long, and written into our history records. Parliament could have, and I believe should have interpreted President Ong as the first term.

DAG Hri Kumar Nair calling Dr Tan’s motives as “purely selfish and he has shown no regard for the principle of multiracial representation” is uncalled for. Mr Nair has been two-term PAP MP and long-time PAP member until his recent appointment as DAG. By his arguments, I could similarly call his one-time Party selfish for frequently changing elections rules and changing electoral boundaries at short notice to fit their benefits. For example, electoral boundaries were changed in late July 2015, about 6 weeks before GE2015. It is a ridiculous period of time for any serious opposition to prepare for, especially when entire constituencies disappear overnight. Changes to PE was rushed through early this year, months before the presidential elections, and after a very close contest in the last PE five years ago.

Mr Nair said that the principle of multiracial representation is important. However, if a sitting Malay MP is to vacate his/her seat to contest in the PE, the government has said there is no need to call a by-election to elect a new team, even though the team will be without a Malay MP for multiracial representation in the GRC.

Multiracial representation is important but the establishment has never put forth a Malay candidate for presidential elections even though we have had 4 presidential elections and a 47-year gap since President Yusof Ishak served as the last Malay president till 1970. In 2017, it suddenly became urgent to have a Malay president. Even so, I see no good reasons, if widely speculated that the preferred candidate is indeed Speaker of Parliament Mdm Halimah Yacob, why she would not be able to win against Dr Tan Cheng Bock or any other persons of the majority race. She has after all, won her seat very comfortably in 4 general elections and is widely seen by Singaporeans to be a good person to be president, even if she is not from the majority race.

The establishment has given up putting a minority candidate in an open presidential election without ever even trying, concluding that Singaporeans are immature and will vote along racial lines.

Perhaps the storm has passed for the establishment for PE2017 with the constitutional change and this court ruling. However, the EP scheme itself is flawed from the start. It is much easier to lose the election for the single president seat than to lose power in a general election. At some point in time in a future PE, the preferred establishment candidate will lose. It is better to just revert back to a president appointed by parliament and find other ways to protect our reserves against a future possible ‘rogue’ government. After all, in the recent constitutional change, a committee appointed by the government can now block the president if the president chooses to block the government from spending from the reserves. So much for having the president check any bad government.

One takeaway I have in the recent sad and public feud amongst the ‘first family’ is the reminder that Singapore should not depend on a single person, a single family, nor even a single so-called ‘A team’ party to lead Singapore forever. I have always believed it is better to build up our institutions and to ensure fair competition so we can have alternative views and alternate choices for Singapore. This include building our institutions to have a system deemed fair enough for all and not just for one party. If we want a elected presidency, stop changing rules when they make you uncomfortable. Stop ridiculously short notice period and unexplained changes to elections. Better still, have the elections department report to an independent body rather than to the Prime Minister.

I hope too that the days of suing your political opponents and critics ‘until your pants drop’ because they are ‘not my brother’ are over. Singapore faces complex challenges ahead and we need to be open that there are other alternatives than that preferred by the establishment.

 

* Facebook post by former Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, Yee Jenn Jong.

 

 

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30 Responses to “If we want a elected presidency, stop changing rules when they make you uncomfortable”

  • Input from a foreign observer:

    As a foreigner following this comical satirical spectacle, one cannot help but to end up with the impression that the Institution of the President of Singapore seemed to be some kind of quirky joke.

    I am amazed as to how the Institution of the President could be allowed to be decided or arbitrarily changed by a certain group of people at whims and fancies. More bewildering, when the arguments seemed to be based on some flimsy logic, even hilarious or suspect.

    Can anyone make sense of such confusing and comical constantly arbitrary changing specifications of the institution of the President of Singapore?

    A nominated President one election, an Elected President next election, a Malay President this time, an Indian President another time. Or, no it is not a Malay’s turn yet. Or no you have to start counting from which past President and not another. No rules, no law. This has to be simply befuddling, to say the least.

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  • Amos humiliate L*L and PAP:

    PAP changes the rules for its benefit. US judge got it absolutely right. PAP CANNOT BE TRUSTED.

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  • Tatman:

    See, so many ridiculous things and rubbish intentionally created by PAP, and all thanks to the shameless opportunist Tan Jee Say for the sudden join in to contest in the PE2011 back then, allowing Tony Tan to win the PE2011 against Tan Cheng Bock.

    http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/current-affairs-lounge-17/tan-jee-say-opposition-champion-pap-spy-3595135.html

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  • PATRIOT of TEMESAK:

    Let us be HONEST…does it really matter who is the President??? the current President is warming the seat with only 33% of votes…so MALU he dare not seek another term in case he loses…so the IDIOTIC PAP came out with RaceBASE Election to save face for a SUPPOSEDLY 1stChoice successor to LKY instead of that Piece of WOOD lah!!!…

    So??? besides the GOOD PAYOUT and Robotic act of a man with no POWER, it does not make a difference if we Dress Ah Meng’s descendants in coat and save millions to sit on that Powerless Seat…

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  • NotMyProblem:

    Dr. Tan was just asking the court to determine the correct counting for the Reserved Presidential Election. He was not against multiracial representation. So how did the constitutional challenge was a “purely selfish and he has shown no regard for the principle of multiracial representation”.

    If fact we also want the Prime Minister to be from the other races. But PAP insists that it has to be Chinese, or claims Singapore is not ready for a PM to be of other race after 50 years. So is the PAP also “shown no regard for the principle of multiracial representation”.

    Let’s meet in Hong Lim Park to further discuss such issue on 15/7/2017 at 4:00pm.

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  • Nizhemoshou:

    Tan ku ku , you will never see the changes u want without kicking out the jinx gang of lhl .

    As long as lhl is not forced to step down for abusing his power n position, he n his jinx gang are jus waiting for the current storm over the familee saga to blow over n dust settled . After that. its business as usual for them.

    Frankly lets hope the siblings are frustrated by big brother and felt compelled to go public again . The more they exposed him n show the evidences they got, the better for SG.

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  • All Is Not Lost!:

    If the PAP endorsed candidate for the Presidential Election is not elected, the whole scheme will backfire on the PAP.

    Singaporeans will have the biggest say!

    There is no change in Govt regardless who is the Elected President but do we want another ex PAP MP to be President?

    Vote for justice and equality. Vote for no MRT breakdowns, no further price increases and vote smart!

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  • Conscientious Citizen:

    If an appointed President is the same as an elected President (directly by citizens) , then why bother to have the President elected by the citizens?
    Isn’t it a waste of time and resources?
    Isn’t the timing of the changes speak of political motives and an abuse of power in a one-sided parliament?

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  • What if scenario:

    What-If Scenario : Lets say its time for a Indian President.
    Indians are the 3rd largest community.

    Lets say for some reason, most chinese cast invalid votes during such a PE. Is this EP legit in this scenario?

    Likewise, if this is a Malay-only PE, should only malays be allowed to vote instead?

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  • He cried 'Wolf'!:

    Input from a foreign observer:

    No rules, no law.

    Who says there are no laws? Singapore runs on the PAP [sic!] rule of law.

    The PAP controls the Police, the military, the Civil Service machinery, the Judiciary (including the k**roo korts), the TV networks and the Press, the Electoral Gerrymandering Office and the North Korean minds. Everything in Singapore. All privately controlled but paid for by the tax payers.

    They even have uncontrolled unchecked access to funds with virtually unlimited ceilings on their casino gaming chips – our CPF savings and our reserves.

    Of course, they can also hide and remain silent (and always have) on how they mismanaged or lose hundreds of billions in public funds, or how much they pay themselves with, and never (having to) be made unaccountable for them or for the losses.

    You may ask how Singaporeans could be so stupid? Well, you could see how those who are not so stupid ended up handcuffed and shackled for crying wolf when he actually saw one, never mind if you are only sixteen years old. Such is PAP rule of law (and terror!).

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  • Kangaroos:

    Input from a foreign observer:
    As a foreigner following this comical satirical spectacle, one cannot help but to end up with the impression that the Institution of the President of Singapore seemed to be some kind of quirky joke.

    I am amazed as to how the Institution of the President could be allowed to be decided or arbitrarily changed by a certain group of people at whims and fancies. More bewildering, when the arguments seemed to be based on some flimsy logic, even hilarious or suspect.

    Can anyone make sense of such confusing and comical constantly arbitrary changing specifications of the institution of the President of Singapore?

    A nominated President one election, an Elected President next election, a Malay President this time, an Indian President another time. Or, no it is not a Malay’s turn yet. Or no you have to start counting from which past President and not another. No rules, no law. This has to be simply befuddling, to say the least.

    A referendum vote must call as this is a very important decision has to be made by voters but NOT IN PARLIAMENT. The Spore Govt. has no rights to make this decision!

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  • Harry Lee Tua Kee:

    This rogue regime is not only Kia Si, Kia Su also extraordinary selfish. What they had schemed to install a President of their own choice is as clear as crystal ball, ‘They cannot let anyone expose their DIRTs’ in which the main culprit is the FamiLee, from father to son and his gambling wife.

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  • Tony Tan can Go:

    The President of SG is a Huge Joke. He merely obeys Fraud Politicians orders when doing his job, yet drawing so huge a salary draining unreasonably on tax payers money.

    And his title, Head of State, of what? Basically to Rubber Stamp any and all of PAPs lies and trampling over the very people He Is Supposed to protect.

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  • What is PAP SG Narrative:

    Input from a foreign observer:
    As a foreigner following this comical satirical spectacle, one cannot help but to end up with the impression that the Institution of the President of Singapore seemed to be some kind of quirky joke.

    I am amazed as to how the Institution of the President could be allowed to be decided or arbitrarily changed by a certain group of people at whims and fancies. More bewildering, when the arguments seemed to be based on some flimsy logic, even hilarious or suspect.

    Can anyone make sense of such confusing and comical constantly arbitrary changing specifications of the institution of the President of Singapore?

    A nominated President one election, an Elected President next election, a Malay President this time, an Indian President another time. Or, no it is not a Malay’s turn yet. Or no you have to start counting from which past President and not another. No rules, no law. This has to be simply befuddling, to say the least.

    Reality is Sg is a society of racial sheeps which the PAP constantly says must bond together and its racial harmony is still so fragile after racial riots 50 years ago.

    Which SIMPLY MEANS PAP has done a Phucking Poor Job OF INTEGRATING the 3 races for last 50 years – AND THEY have the cheek to lie and bluff they are going to do the integration for 1000S of PRCs, 1000s of India Indians, 1000s of Pinoys, 1000s of Malaysians ALL IN OUR MIDST?

    What the Phuck is the PAP National Integration Council DOING?

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  • kf:

    What a certain team means is citizens are not ready for a non Chinese pm but they are ready for a non Chinese president.

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  • Come On, Be Real!:

    If there were no amendments made to the Presidential Election Bill, Dr Tan Cheng Bock would be the next Elected President of Singapore!

    Singaporeans are fully aware of this fact.

    Dr Tan Cheng Bock has been ‘robbed’ of the Presidency!

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  • AristoCATS r Kayu:

    In the US, the Court is the institution that interprets the law.
    -
    Here, no one has the backbone to do the same – “won’t do it “!

    -
    Dr. Thum Pin Tjin of Oxford sums it well.
    SG has the “form” of Democracy – but not the “substance” !
    ie. It is all “wayang” !!!

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  • Bebe:

    If they really want minority representation; why no minority PM huh?
    A load of rubbish – all these pappies.

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  • Taleban:

    You have Indian Muslim, Pakistani Muslim but not Malay Muslim for EP. Maybe we can have a Chinese Muslim for EP.
    I thought this is a RACE not religion based election. Or as long as you are a Muslim and meets the criteria you can stand for EP.
    Which is which, RACE or RELIGION.

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  • Taleban:

    Maybe Dr. Tan CB can change his religion to Islam and he can take part in the EP.

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  • Amos humiliate L*L and PAP:

    Farid Khan Kaim Khan, Chairman of Bourbon Offshore Asia, is running for post of elected President. Based on shareholders’ funds of the company he runs he qualifies. Any candidate against PAP’s candidate (likely Halimah) will surely win in two-corner (straight) fight.

    PAP might have a better chance of getting its candidate elected for the post by having an open election with a 3rd-corner fight. All it has to do is make sure TCB win in his appeal to High Court. TCB will definitely run. TJS might also decide to run again splitting the anti-PAP votes. Get Woody Goh to run for President. He is surely a PAP stooge.

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  • Amos humiliate L*L and PAP:

    What if scenario:
    What-If Scenario : Lets say its time for a Indian President.
    Indians are the 3rd largest community.

    Lets say for some reason, most chinese cast invalid votes during such a PE. Is this EP legit in this scenario?

    Likewise, if this is a Malay-only PE, should only malays be allowed to vote instead?

    It would be legit even if most Chinese cast invalid votes because winner is the candidate that gets the most number of VALID votes. Only valid votes are used to determine the winner, not the number of votes cast.

    PAP would not likely agree that only Malays would determine Malay-only PE because it is risky (for PAP). The small number of voters increases the risk of a “freak” result.

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  • Amos humiliate L*L and PAP:

    AristoCATS r Kayu:
    In the US, the Court is the institution that interprets the law.
    -
    Here, no one has the backbone to do the same – “won’t do it “!

    -
    Dr. Thum Pin Tjin of Oxford sums it well.
    SG has the “form” of Democracy – but not the “substance” !
    ie. It is all “wayang” !!!

    Correct. That is why LHL went to Parliament to “investigate” the allegations of abuse of power and dishonesty by his siblings. (As expected, there was no evidence against him so he “acquitted” himself.) PAP wants to be “consistent”. Wayang is their “game” a.k.a. “spin” a.k.a. LIES.

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  • Well understood:

    According to the Judge, the Oarliament can do anything they like as the Parliament is single party. What then do we need a Constitution? Has it been written into the Constitution ghat the Parliament would name President Wee to be the first elected President? Has the Parliament seeked the people because ‘elected’ as the Constitution defined is by the popular consensus of the citizrnry and not by the Parliament. The Parliament has no right to interprete differently from what are well defined by the Constitution. The Padliament is not above the Constitution as it stand. Parliament can amend the Constitution by the procedure stringently ddfined in the Constitution which mean it must be properly moveb deliberated and thd voted on. Of course with a single party dominated Parliament , it can get they want thru but of the stringent procedure is not followed, then it is violation of Constitution. But in this case it is already violatimg the Constitution as nominated and elected has definitive implication, the later required the endorsement of yhe citizenry and Parloament has no Constigution right to override it. There was no National Referendum to the effect that President Wee last year was converted from nominated to elected. To bestowed the power doesn’t implied holdinh the position of EP. Any other interpretation would throw the entire Constitution into a useless document at the mercy of whoever cpntrolling the Parliament. This is why democracy necessitates robust checks and balances esp on matter that benefits the ruling party in a dominating position
    The salary of Cabinet Minister pushed to multimillions level many times over the general international norm should be approved by a national referendum and not by PAP itself.
    Hence it is important in this Election cannot be compromised.

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  • how the scam came to light:

    Amos humiliate L*L and PAP:

    Farid Khan Kaim Khan, Chairman of Bourbon Offshore Asia, is running for post of elected President. Based on shareholders’ funds of the company he runs he qualifies.

    No businessmen would dare to take on the PAP for the PAP will use the State Organs to scrutinize and investigate their businesseses under a microscope and ruin them if they find the slightest faults.

    Like no lawyer in the whole of SG dared to take on the cases of Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui for fear that their ricebowls be ruined by those despots, except Civil Rights lawyer, M. Ravi. And look at what happened to the ricebowl of M.Ravi?

    Now, these same Civil Servants and law enforcement people closed their eyes and turned their heads away when a $2 company almost literally took away (robbed?) a TC software already paid for by all of us and then tried to milk us again by leasing the same software back to us and recuperating what they paid for all in one year, and continue to milk us for that same amount every year thereafter (according to Alex Au in his blog post in which he was forced to take down so no one could get to read it again).

    We would all still be in the dark as to what happened had WP not won the Aljunied GRC and were denied the use of that software and the whole scam came to light.

    The other disturbing part was why did we pay over $20m for a Windows XP based software (according to some media reports)?

    Except for netizens and a few Opposition leaders, why have the intellectuals largely remained silent? What happened to the Kishores and the Bilaharis and Chee Hengs and Tommys, etc.? How rigorous are their evaluations or views? Or are they only pseudo intellectuals whose intellectual ability qualifies them only for PAP controlled Universities?

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  • Cannot be Trusted!:

    Bebe:
    If they really want minority representation; why no minority PM huh?
    A load of rubbish – all these pappies.

    A day will come, when the PM’s position is being threatened just like the current Presidential Election. You cannot trust this Govt any more! They will fix the situation to their advantage…..

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  • That was a good one!:

    He cried 'Wolf'!:
    ended up handcuffed and shackled for crying wolf when he actually saw one

    That was a good one!

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  • Justice to be seen & felt:

    Constitution stipulates independent and nonpaftisan institutions to protect it, the nation and her people. Independent & nonpartisan status definitively implies that it cannot subjugate or succumb to the prevailing power, any political parties or any person or group of persons or organization. Once any such institution or its members abuses its Constitutional trust and betray their sworn oath of appointment, another relevant imstitution which can and should step in. In fact the many such public Institutions are bestowed with the power of mutual checks and balances. This implies that they are the watchdogs of the Constitution against any violator including the Parliament, the Cabinet, PM and President as no one is above the Constitution.

    A good patriotic leader and Govt should appoint men of no affiliation to its party or its members and strictly with the ecpertise and experience relevant to the position. Any appointment with the slightest conflict of interest speaks the hifden agenda and has no right to rebuke legally or otherwise any suspicion of compliance by the public.

    A stable democracy depends how yhe entire bureaucracy including Parliament. Cabinet, PM and President jealously and vehemently with ultra senstivity guarding their Constitutional responsibilty thus effectively enforcong their checks and balances required of them.

    TCB’s submission, Ravi’s submission (his professional posotion is irrelvant as there is no Constition bar of citizen to submit their views or challege any matter relating to violation of Constitution),LHL and LWL allegations re PM are significant and serious gor the public Institutions to remain passive or brush aside without giving them a chance to present their case publicly and for the establisment concern yo counter with substantive evidence. No one has the right to declare themselves innocent or righteous and be taken as such without demand concrete evidence. Position demands sworn oath to protect its dignity and integrity and does not permit the person holding the position assuming the integrity anf dignity of the position are automatically bestowed on him. Hebor she has to defend it not inherit it that he possesses the right to abuse it.

    Justice has go be seen and felt. Justice is not abstract but a sustenance of human value and dignity. Justice is not compatible with compliance to the power there be nor can it tolerates conflict of interest or bootlicking.

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  • Another Korean Drama ...:

    GE 2017 will be just another korean drama in the making!

    Will Singaporeans continue to be DAFTs and elect a PAP endorsed candidate?

    We elected an ex PAP MP the last time;

    Did he check on our Nation Reserves during his term?

    Did he allow “kaki lang’ into the AGO?

    Did he query about our CPF and the many price increases?

    Did he utter a word about the Lee Family Saga?

    Don’t you think he deserves to be booed at this year’s NDP!

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  • No Win No Fee:

    I hear and feel the frustrations of the people of Singapore, but there is little done when it comes to making a change at the ballot box. We cannot eat the cake and still have it.

    As long as the majority rules, they make the rules and they can change the rules as well. Whether it is an issue with EP or a social policy, it is clear that the ruling party is set in its ways. They decide before consulting, because they have assumed power that they know what is good for the majority in Singapore. Many are happy to have a dictator rule as long as their rice bowl is iron clad.

    Fifty years of rule by the same party has made us dependent, afraid of losing what we have because of the scare mongering and the media hype, over cautious and leaving nothing to chance. Opposition to the ruling party has not been nurtured and well supported all these years. Much less in times of economic success brought about by economic cycles and not necessarily by intelligent governance, as led to believe. The true heroes have often been fore-shadowed by a beastial government set to prove its agenda and block out the glory for itself.

    Change starts and ends at the ballot box. It starts the wheels of reformation and it ends the tyranny of power craving establishments who have found the right mix to keep the people oppressed under them in the name of democracy and progress.

    What Singapore needs is young men and women who will step up to the challenge to make a change under the banner of solidarity unblemished by fear and selfishness.

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