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9/12/2011

Seriously, are opposition MPs a part of the govt?

Parliament is the legislative arm of the govt. Parliament is made of elected representatives of the people from all political parties to discuss national issues and make laws for the country. So, is Parliament a part of the govt? I don’t think anyone will say no. But some may insist that only part of the Parliament forms the govt. The opposition camp is not part of the govt?

Seriously, honestly, administratively, legally, are opposition MPs a part of the govt? We have an obtuse system that the opposition MPs are a small minority and can be easily ignored and dismissed of as not part of the Parliament, or part of the govt. If the representation of both camps is about equal, would anyone dare say that the opposition camps are not part of Parliament, and not part of the govt?

Every MP, no matter which party, sits in Parliament, and has equal rights to speak and vote for a bill. They are also paid by the country’s coffer too. Why are the opposition MPs seen as not part of the govt? Oh the majority party forms the govt so they are the govt, and the minority does not form the govt and thus not the govt nor part of the govt. They are just a part of Parliament which is not the govt of the country, which is part of the legislature, which has the power to make laws, but not the govt.

Very confusing arguments huh?

13 comments:

notanotherspinstory said...

The right question to ask is why are losing PAP MPs considered part of government when they have lost their mandate and authority to do so?

Why are the losing PAP MPs appointed advisors when the people have not chosen them and they have proved themselves to be incapable and unrepresentative of them?

This is clearly unconstitutional and undemocratic.

Anonymous said...

He he, there are 87 equal parts in a circle but 6 of the parts in the circle does not form part of the circle. What kind of logic is that?

Anonymous said...

Screw them come 2016 or get screwed.

Bo Hewing Sotong said...

Didn't anyone catch the "shot in the own foot " comment that PM Lee had said

"So between the MP and the adviser, if they are different people, then residents will be properly served. I think it has to work like that,"

Should this apply to the PAP MP/ PA advisers and doesn't this mean that the PAP has been shortchanging us due to them playing multiple roles?

Anonymous said...

PM caught you, black white talk again !

Anonymous said...

The most telling clue to this is what does the PM mean when he keeps on saying that Singaporeans should work together, while at the same time insisting that opposition MPs and voters should be singled out for fixing.

Do you understand what he is saying? I do not! And as one living in an opposition ward I will ask him if he is serious at all. The facts do not support his suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Aiyoh, can you asked our lawyers MP from the Workers' Party on what do they think about this. Believe we have three excellent lawyers.

What is their view on this, as they are being paid by the government. Can they talk in public or only in Parliament. That is why they cannot be in the grassroot committee, cause they cannot talk in public. That is the point that the PA Director Ooi is trying to convey, the opposition MP dont want to see as supporting the government policy. Do you see them every day in your place, talking about dengue, pro-creation policy.

Or keep quiet and waiting for their First World Parliament to open.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi BoHewing Sotong,

Welcome to the blog. In the past, double talks, hypocritical talks, were just like sing song LP song. Only the main media was there to sing one tune.

Today all the hypocrisies will be exposed and hanged to dry for all to see.

Anonymous said...

Aiyoh, what is the use of excellent lawyers in opposition if you are using the Singapore courts?

We have lawyers par-excellence like Francis Seow, JBJ and Tang Liang Hong, asking pointed questions and they ended up bankrupted or having to escape arrest under the ISA.

Wang said...

Redbean

Would need to distinguish the government from the parliament (legislative body) as per parliamentary systems

Quote the following:”-

“The British Government is answerable to the House of Commons. However, neither the Prime Minister nor members of the Government are elected by the House of Commons. Instead, the Queen requests the person most likely to command the support of a majority in the House, normally the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons, to form a government. So that they may be accountable to the Lower House, the Prime Minister and most members of the Cabinet are, by convention, members of the House of Commons. The last Prime Minister to be a member of the House of Lords was Alec Douglas-Home, 14th Earl of Home, who became Prime Minister in 1963. To adhere to the convention under which he was responsible to the Lower House, he disclaimed his peerage and procured election to the House of Commons within days of becoming Prime Minister.

Governments have a tendency to dominate the legislative functions of Parliament, by using their in-built majority in the House of Commons, and sometimes using their patronage power to appoint supportive peers in the Lords.[dubious – discuss] In practice, governments can pass any legislation (within reason) in the Commons they wish, unless there is major dissent by MPs in the governing party.[dubious – discuss] But even in these situations, it is highly unlikely a bill will be defeated, though dissenting MPs may be able to extract concessions from the government. In 1976, Lord Hailsham created a now widely used name for this behaviour, in an academic paper called “elective dictatorship”.

Parliament controls the executive by passing or rejecting its Bills and by forcing Ministers of the Crown to answer for their actions, either at “Question Time” or during meetings of the parliamentary committees. In both cases, Ministers are asked questions by members of their Houses, and are obliged to answer.

Hence you are in error, the Government refers to the executive body in parliamentary terms.

This is also seen in as follows in Singapore constituition quote as follows:-

Appointment of Prime Minister and Ministers
25. —(1) The President shall appoint as Prime Minister a Member of Parliament who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the Members of Parliament, and shall, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint other Ministers from among the Members of Parliament:

Provided that, if an appointment is made while Parliament is dissolved, a person who was a Member of the last Parliament may be appointed but shall not continue to hold office after the first sitting of the next Parliament unless he is a Member thereof.

(2) Appointments under this Article shall be made by the President by instrument under the public seal.

Hence, you cannot consider the opposition to be part of the government as per parliamentary systems.

However, proper respect and dues should be given and general courtesy and professionalism given to the opposition MP of the stated constituents

Regards

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Wang, thanks for the explanation.

Under the British system, there are three branches that make up the govt, the legislative, executive and the judiciary. All the three branches form the govt. The Legislative is a branch of the govt, the executive another branch and the judiciary another branch.

The executive branch is the more dominant branch and often seen as the govt or the ruling govt. Now, is the legislative branch ie Parliament, and the Judiciary, also part of the govt?

The appointees as grassroots advisors are extension of the govt downstream, like the civil servants. Between the civil servants and the parliamentarians, one is a branch of the govt, one is not, just employees of the govt. Grassroots advisors may not even be employees of the govt.

Some may take the definition of the govt as the ruling party, the executive arm of the govt. But no one can deny that the legislative and judiciary arms are also part of the govt.

Our system is modelled along the British system.

Cheng Hu or govt?

Wang said...

Redbean

In answer, they are separate powers which makes up the political system and is not the government ie executive

Quote
"Montesquieu's theories had a lot of influence. His model of separation of powers is still the one against which others are judged. However, although his model was said to be based on the English constitution, closer inspection reveals that there are serious discrepancies between Montesquieu's theory and political reality in the UK.

Perhaps the most striking anomaly is the dominance of the legislature by the executive. By long-standing tradition, the Government (executive) is formed by the leader of whichever party in the Commons can command a majority. As a result, the executive is able to exert considerable pressure over the legislature. This situation has been worsened by the rise of the party system in Parliament. While the Government is numerically only a small proportion of the total number of MPs, party loyalties encourage members of the Government's party to back it, even when their consciences and their constituents prefer otherwise. So, although legislation is the responsibility of Parliament, in reality the legislative programme is driven by the Government of the day. This, in itself, is not objectionable, so long as there is proper scrutiny and control of the Government's legislative programme by the legislature. When the Government's party has a large majority in the Commons, as is the case at present, there is almost no opportunity for Parliament to regulate the passage of legislation.

Regards

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Wang, this is an interesting issue that most people take for granted. The common perception and interpretation is that the govt is the executive arms comprising the head of govt and the ministers. The legislative and judiciary arms are not spoken of as the govt.

The power of the state lies both in the executive arms as well as the legislative arm. The executive arms including the head of govt are answerable to Parliament. And Parliament can dismiss a head of govt by a vote of no confidence.

Parliament also makes laws that governs the executives arm, or the govt. But the Parliament is not described in the same way as the govt. Specifically, the ruling party forms the govt and is the govt.

Then, what is the Parliament and what are the MPs? They are not part of the govt but they are law makers. Similarly, the judiciary is not part of the govt but also the govt.

Is the govt consists only of the executive branch of the state?