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8/06/2011

I dunno what to say

In a high power forum chaired my Professor Tommy Koh, and with two key speakers in Law Minister K Shanmugam and Professor Thio Li Ann, the Law Minister repeated his position that the Elected President is not to be heard, or cannot express any views unless approved by the Govt. He said, ‘It is quite clear the president has no such power and that was not the role that was envisaged for the president.’ ‘The president,’ he added, ‘can speak on issues only as authorised by the Cabinet; and he must follow the advice of the Cabinet in the discharge of his duties.’

The only time the president can wield some influence on the PM is if he is on good terms with him, or if the PM finds him amiable and willing to listen to him. It is not the other way, that you have a president and the PM try to be nice to him and listen to him. Thus, a President that is pally pally with the govt is in a better position to be listened to by the govt. So the people should know who to vote if they want a president that can have influence on the govt.

What if the people want a president that does not need to be nice to the PM or the govt and want him to be firm and be ready to say no to the govt, should they then vote for someone that is more distant from the govt? To influence the govt or to check on the govt are two distinct roles that require quite a different character in the president.

But my main point is not all of these as they are immaterial. In more probability the president will have nothing of crisis level to do and spend his time writing his memoirs or raising funds for the disabled or shaking hands and waving at the crowd during NDP. Occasionally he may try to visit other countries to improve relations and trade. I am not sure that this is part of his portfolio, or if he is being advised by the govt to do so. Or maybe he is trying to give the Trade Minister a helping hand since he is not allowed to talk freely.

For such a role, do we need a president that should be as good as a permanent secretary, a chief justice material, or someone who manages a $100m paid up capital country when the PM and his ministers need not be that highly qualified? A butcher or a gardener can also be our PM under our constitution. And this must be the best part, the gardener PM is going to advise this high power president what to say and do. Does the country really need to pay him so many millions to perform such a role?

What is needed perhaps is a person of good conduct, dignified, good looking and respectable, and be given an honourarium of $500k per annum max. Of course a little commonsense and a tertiary education should be good enough as he would be advised by the Presidential Council and also the govt on what to do and what to say. No need to sweat the small stuff to find a super super talent and to pay him obscenely for the nature of the job. He may end up more dignified than the gardener PM who is going to tell him what to do.

Please feel free to disagree with me. If you don’t I will like to recommend some of the better and dignified looking Media Corp actors for the job. I am sure the people will love to shake their hands and feel good when they looked good standing side by side with kings and queens.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Would it not be cheaper, better and easier to just put a wooden idol in the Istana. Reduce the size of the Istana to about the size of a place of worship and develop the land to make big money?

After all, the President cannot be heard, cannot express any views, has no power and must follow the advice of the cabinet. A wooden idol would fit the bill perfectly!

Why go to the trouble of selecting someone stipulating all the sky high qualities that cannot be mentally tapped?

This is another one of the self serving logic of the PAP.

Anonymous said...

The late President Wee Kim Wee was not highly educated, did not hold any heavenly position in any multi million dollar organisation. But he brought with it the dignity and respect that the people have for him.

Why?

Anonymous said...

wake up people your cuntry is parlimentary sys. it has nothing to do with intelligence or dignity. even a trained dog would suffice. don't bitch at me that's the sys or to lky or law minister, moan at your former imperial masters. other wise change the sys. complete to be like USA.
why not it is possible to have a fishmonger as a president or trishaw driver, it would do wonder for Singapore. take for example canada has her governor general(gueen representative puppet head of state) from all walks of life like professor and tv hosts(journalists).

majadito lee said...

It is surprising that Kuan Yew did not forsee the potential conflict between the president with a mandate from the people and the elected PM, when he Kuan Yew initiated the change from an appointed president to an elected president.

Shanmugam's comments are only his personal opinions. They are not the final word on how the president should act in office. The mandate of the people given to the succesful presidential candidate will legitimate the actions of the president.

agongkia said...

Mr Bean,
I always salute to the photo of them whenever I see one.
I am in no position to disagree with you.
But the Ah Peh at the kopitiam whom I met earlier seems to share the same view as yours,except that they are better in expressing their views.You have long story.The Ah Peh only use less than 10 words to describe.
"Eng Eng Cheng Cheng,Cho Bo Tai Chee" .Not I say one.
As for me,whoever president doesn't matter .Best if we can get pretty one like Yingluck if she is willing to take up the post.Her smile is enough to make me a happy citizen.

Anonymous said...

As for me, no President also does not matter. Guard what reserves? All bullshit.

That money in the reserves is not even for us citizens to think about, least of all to dream of sharing. They don't even want us to know by bullshitting that revealing the amount would jeopardize our security.

So, they invented this powerless, useless figurehead and tell us he is there to guard the reserves?

Anonymous said...

The Presidential Election


Does Singapore really need a president? The president cannot talk about politics. He is supposed to protect the hundreds of billions of dollars of Singapore's reserves. On the contrary he is not allowed to know exactly how much is the reserves and the whereabout of the reserves being kept. So is the presidential seat a sinecure created for some one close to the innermost core of power. Therefore the reason for putting in place a very stringent criteria to exclude outsiders .


So the presidential post is a sham. Singapore does not need a sham president. Just in case the others are disqualified and only Tony Tan is left as the only candidate, in which case there will be great and serious ramifications. No candidate should be allowed to sail into the presidency just because there is no contest. The sole candidate should be subjected to a national referendum for approval. If more than fifty per cent of the votes cast are against him, therefore he is being rejected and so he should not be allowed to assume the presidency. In future General Elections Singaporeans must not allow any walk overs. All future walk overs must still be subjected to a national referendum for approval. Walk overs must not be allowed to get away as fait accompli.

Singaporeans are tired of hearing remarks like, " the president is the friend of the people", "the president has the heart of the people", "the president has the common interest of the people" , "the president is a very humble person." All these bullshits must stop. As friend of the people and having the heart of the people , we would like to know how much money has President Nathan given to charity. How much money has he given to help the thousands of poor people who are suffering from cancer, kidney disease and cardiac problems so as to enable them to seek medical treatment and cure. Is President Nathan keeping very close to his heart all his multi million dollar salary without sheding a cent for charity. A potential presidential candidate has indicated that he will give half his salary to charity if he is elected. Can all other candidates pledge likewise?

Singaporeans should now take a solid stand against all bad governance and policies which are of no benefits to the people and the country except for the self serving and self gratifying cohorts of politicians now in power.

The people should decide that the president should be nominated from a respectable prominent citizen and he be paid an honourarium of Thirty-Thousand Dollars a month and that the sham election of the president be abolished.

Let Singaporeans show the whole wide world that we are not daft and we are prepared to take a stand against Pseudo democracy and dictatorship. SG

Anonymous said...

The best way is to boycott the EP, i.e. not to go and vote at all. If there are high portion of people refuse to vote, this sends a strong signal to this unaccountable and opaque government. This will let the world knows and stop all those non-sense manipulation by the dictator under the cover of fake democracy.

Daft Singaporeans need to wake up if they want a fully accountable and transparent government. Without such democratic government, Singapore will not survive the future. Signs are already there to tell you Singapore is deteriorating and progressing backwards.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I feel silly having to vote in this presidential election knowing that it serves no useful purpose, other than to show the world that we have an elected President, but one that is practically a lame duck. Waste of time and resources!

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi majatido lee, welcome to the blog.

And a good morning to all of you. The more they talked about this EP, the more nonsensical it becomes. Yes, the Ah Peks are all laughing till their dentures are falling off. You don't need a minister to make them laugh.

The part I like most is that the president must suck up to the PM if he wants the PM to listen to him. What kind of democracy is this? Is this school boy or kopitiam talk? I am feeling embarrassed.

Tan Kin Lian is holding no punches. He said they want a dumb president.

Anonymous said...

Seems a good argument to do away with a PE exercise - why spend $50 million for the election exercise and $4M/year for a "powerless" President - the cabinet and PM sud select the person they desire. It will be cheaper and will result will be what Minister Shan has described.Maybe the ex-minsters will be great candidates - they know how to listen and do what they are told by the cabinet and will be a retirement plan for those that have contributed so, so much at personal expense.

Anonymous said...

At a minimum of $4m and a whole budget for the office, scrapping the EP will mean that there will be enough savings for all the charities, including the Presidents Charity. No need to spend so much time trying to beg from the poor people to contribute.

Abolish the EP and renamed all charities as the President's Charity with money coming from the provisions for an EP and all the expenditure for the office.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day, we all have to vote for a useless president.
But, maybe not, as there is always the chance that only one candidate will be qualified.

Anonymous said...

Mr Agongkia;

"Best if we can get pretty one like Yingluck if she is willing to take up the post.Her smile is enough to make me a happy citizen". Unquote.

Ms Yingluck almost lost her premiership for having had offerings of free snacks to the voters. Had the other contestant not committed an almost similar transgression, You will not have an idol to admire. The Thai Election Watchdog were sharp, ours should be better.

No problem getting a big poster of Ms Yingluck to spice up your life as well as to bring You luck and 'ying'(be a winner).

You also can bow, salute and even touch the picture whenever You like.

Anonymous said...

Our elections watchdogs? Are you talking about the pitbulls watching the opposition or the poodles watching the PAP. I can see that they use different kinds of watchdogs for different parties. Pitbulls go after Gomez fast and ferociously. Poodles go after Tin, but I dunno what happened.

I also dunno what to say!

Anonymous said...

I agree. I too dont know what to say. Since the EP cannot say this or that then what can he say to the people who elected him. I am really confused.

Anonymous said...

In order to avoid any confusion, I suggest that the next time they chop down a rotten tree in the Istana, to leave a 5 foot stump behind and affixed a simple plague with just President engraved on it. The money thus saved can be used to support charities in the name of the President. If the other few good men feel that this is unfair, the Istana can reserve two other similar stumps for them.
Seriously, I think the Law Minister is saying that the president has to be dumb as he has to make an excuse to justify what Nathan has expropriated from the people as anti-corruption pay.

Saycheese

Anonymous said...

If Singaporeans are not compel to vote in the PE, they will probably not be conscious that we have a president! That's how good a Sin President is.