Earn that Sir!
This is the title of an article written by Dr Tan Chek Wee in Today. He talked about people demanding to be addressed as Sir even in the community. I have borrowed this title to replace the original title of this article which was 'Dark Clouds over the Istana.' Since our independence as a nation, the office of the Presidency has never been in question or a subject of controversy. All the past Presidents from Yusof Ishak to Wee Kim Wee were well regarded in their ceremonial roles. Then came the Elected President with a more important task to guard our reserves. Other than these nothing changes. And Ong Teng Cheong was highly respected for his role and short stay at the Istana. He wanted to do his job well and took it very seriously. Today we are seeing this huge controversy over the Presidency. The Office is even paid more the the President of the US. For doing what? People are questioning almost everything about the Presidency, from pay to how it is being elected and the effectiveness of its role in guarding our reserves. Why should the highest office of the country be subject to so much cynicism? Maybe we should go back to the drawing board and start all over again. Remove all the elitist barriers and return the right to this office to every Singaporean, rich or poor. Every Singaporean must have the right to stand for election as the President of the country. It must must not be the exclusive right of a few rich and powerful. And we should borrow the American practice of allowing the President to appoint his own team of advisers once he is elected by popular vote. No elected president is allowed to take office by walkovers. Perhaps, when people see that the elected President is able to exercise indepedence by the system that brings him to office, will the controversies go away. An Elected Presdent must be elected by the people, from the people and be able to execute his duties independently. I am not saying that the current President cannot exercise his duties independently. And the public is also not saying so.