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8/08/2011

Is the Elected President a dumb President?

Many comments have been made about the role of the EP. Some claimed that it must be an involved President, willing to speak up for the people, some say it is meant to be a dumb President, some say it like a machine, only say what the govt wants it to say or else better not be heard.

The lay people have their own interpretation and expectation of an Elected President, a President that they took the trouble to vote, not just any appointed President when they have no say at all. They, rightly or wrongly, feel that the President should be more than a dud. They think that being the highest office in the country, he must be able to speak up on national issues that affect their lives and have some influence on the govt.

However, these are just layman’s views, and everyone can have a view. The Law Minister too has a view. He has spoken quite comprehensively on what the EP can or cannot do. He even quoted the constitution. Now, is he just expressing a legal opinion based on his professional background, or is he taking a position, that what he said is the govt’s definition of the role of the EP?

There is still the judicial, the courts of law that will have the final say as to the interpretation of the constitution. Until the courts have its say, it is all a matter of interpretation, and naturally everyone is trying to interpret it to his own advantage.

According to the constitution, Article 21(1) as quoted by Shanmugam, it says the President shall ‘act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or of a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet’. So the EP can only act under the advice of the Cabinet and not otherwise.
What does this mean, cannot go against the will of the Cabinet? What if the Cabinet push out a bill to spend all the reserves and ask the President to sign? Now can the President then act against the advice of the Cabinet. Surely he can, or else how is he going to protect the reserves.

How many things that the EP can or cannot do that are specified by the constitution? Or is it another case of No U Turn sign. If there is a U Turn sign only can make a U Turn and if there is a No U Turn sign cannot make U Turn. No sign means cannot do anything. I am not sure how many pages are there in the constitution that described what the EP can or cannot do.

From what was reported, one thing for sure, if he is nice to the PM, he may be able to influence the PM over beer, I think.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Better be nice else kena slap ;-)

Anonymous said...

"There is still the judicial, the courts of law that will have the final say as to the interpretation of the constitution. Until the courts have its say, it is all a matter of interpretation, and naturally everyone is trying to interpret it to his own advantage."

unfortunately This statement did not say the Judiciary sys is independent of the Govt. otherwise there is hope.
Kangroo

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

My apologies, didn't think along those lines.

Anonymous said...

If they cannot interpret the way it was supposed to indicate, just change the law. Very easy when control is absolute.

As we go along, the EP will go from dumb to dumber, when new restrictions are added in case too many questions start to be asked as a result of a freak result and TT
fails to be elected.

Tau Suan said...

The EP will be dumb if the person elected is dumb. The EP will not be dumb if the person elected is not dumb.

Simple as that !

tkw said...

I dont understand the phrase " unthinking Singaporean "...but if meant to be derogatory...then..

I consider RedBean to be voicing his thoughts/views on issues...unfortunately today it is the PAP, tomorrow it may be WP, SDP or any party/group/body responsible for decisions affecting the nation.

As one input remarks...just anti-justice and anti-self serving policies.

It takes courage, thinking and dedication to put up a blog of some content...not filled with foul language/valedictory expletive. He is making his comments/etc in "space" and may or may not be taken into consideration by any group/individual. He is making the effort to make a difference for the better. He is an "active" citizen amongst millions of "inactive" citizens. He deserves to be read for trying to better life in Singapore.

As my mark of respect for his endeavour, my input is not anonymous.

tkw said...

Sorry...I had trouble inputing my comments due to name/URL ???

My comments should have gone into LEAD BY EXAMPLE and not into IS THE PRESIDENT A DUMB PRESIDENT.

Anonymous said...

"What if the Cabinet push out a bill to spend all the reserves and ask the President to sign? Now can the President then act against the advice of the Cabinet. Surely he can, or else how is he going to protect the reserves". Unquote.

Mr Chua Chin Leng has forgatten that whatever the President Of Sin does, he has to do them only on the advice of the Presidential Committee Of Advisers. As for the Judiciary's role in Sin, the Courts have been nicknamed 'kangoroo' by many Singaporeans. It neither provides much comfort nor faith.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Tau Suan and tkw, thanks for the comments.

My quote mentioned by anon 12:26 is to show the hypocrisis of the role to the EP as proclaimed by some people. They kept insisting that the EP must act only on the advice of the Cabinet. And they said the EP is created to check the Cabinet, to say no to the cabinet especially on the reserves. See the contradiction and deception?

When they want the EP to be dumb and act like a robot, they pulled out this act to say he can't act other wise. But the whole purpose of the EP is to act against the cabinet when the cabinet crosses the line.