Elgin Toh talks about the right of free speech by the Elected President in his article in the ST today. Apparently, the official position is that the EP has no right to speak independently as a President. This is what the Prime Minister’s Office said, ‘It is not the president’s role to support or oppose the govt of the day or to advance his own agenda or policies’. Shanmugam was also quoted as saying, ‘National policies and running of the Govt are the responsibility of the prime minister and Cabinet…’
So, if the governing of the country is none of the EP’s concern, does he have a right to speak for or against govt policies? It is not his role to support or oppose? What does this mean? He cannot talk about them except speaking neutrally or no comments?
He is not allowed to have his own agenda or policies. It is as good as saying, please shut up. Let’s gag the President. I am in favour of it as he is basically a ceremonial piece, good for waving hands during National Days or shaking hands with foreign dignitaries and the people visiting the Istana grounds and engages in the exchanges of pleasantries. No, he can be an extension of the govt, by speaking in favour of govt policies and agenda. He can also promote trades!
Why the hell is the President being paid $4m annually, and maybe another 10 or 20 mths of bonuses when he is just what he is constitutionally, a rubber stamp? How to justify this kind of obscene pay?