Parliament sovereignty versus the Constitution

Shanmugam raised the concept of Parliament sovereignty in his answers to the issues raised by Sylvia Lim in Parliament. He is right, absolutely right in the interpretation of Parliament sovereignty, that the Parliament makes laws and can repeal laws, annul laws by legislation. That is the role of Parliament, the law makers.

Thus, when he said the govt made a policy decision to start counting from Wee Kim Wee, it has the right to do so, even to start with any other president or something like that, because the govt/Parliament is sovereign, can do as it pleases in a way. It writes laws and strikes out laws, it is the law maker, the law, the sovereign.

I would not dare to challenge Shanmugam on his brilliant interpretation of Constitutional Law. If he is wrong, I am sure many other brilliant lawyers would point it out, or at least the AGC would be there to keep watch, or the Chief Justice. Interpretation of the Law is the precinct and responsibility of the Judiciary, which I think includes the Supreme Courts and the AGC. Please excuse me if I am wrong, I am only a layman and this is a layman’s simple view of the govt and judiciary.

Just one point that I am still not very clear. Parliament may be sovereign, but it must still respect and abide by the Constitution. The Constitution is supreme in a way and the govt must work within the Constitution. If it does not like any law in the Constitution, it has to repeal/annul or strike it out and replace it with a new law. It cannot make a policy that is against the Constitution. It cannot violate the Constitution or it would be lawless, against the rule of law.

The interpretation or policy decision to use Wee Kim Wee as the reference point, as the first Elected President, to rule that the latest EP election is due, does it violate the Constitution? The Constitution also said that a reserved EP for minority president is due only after 5 terms when the minority did not have a president. To use Wee Kim Wee as the reference point, it is violating the provisions in the Constitution, the intent and spirit of the reserved EP in the Constitution?

A govt policy decision cannot violate the Constitution if I am not wrong. It would become unconstitutional. The govt should seek to change the Constitution first, using its sovereign right to repeal the law and then act on it under the new law. Can the govt suka suka say it is a policy decision to use any past president to determine the 5 terms provided in the Constitution, or ignore the 5 terms, or declare a reserved EP for a minority president anytime if wants under the present Constitution?

Any brilliant lawyer thinks he is up to it to explain the above? Making a policy decision ultra vires the Constitution is definitely unconstitutional. Tiok boh? Parliament is sovereign but still bounded by the Constitution. Otherwise it is lawlessness. Remember the meaning of Rule of Law? What did the Constitution say about the 5 terms requirement? What is the spirit of the Constitution on the need for a reserved minority president?

PS. This is what Shanmugam said in his response to Cheng Bock.

‘Here is what I said in full, as reported in CNA (link below).
“Q: When would the circuit-breaker (to hold a reserved election after a racial group has not been represented in Presidential office after five continuous terms) come into effect?

Mr Shanmugam: The most direct answer is actually, the Government can decide. When we put in the Bill, we can say we want it to start from this period. It’s… a policy decision but there are also some legal questions about the Elected Presidency and the definition and so on, so we have asked the Attorney-General for advice....’

What do you think? Or any brilliant lawyers out there think otherwise, or all agree with our brilliant Law Minister?


Anonymous said...

LAWLESSNESS because of love of money & power & arrogance, period!

Anonymous said...

Though me no liar, oops means lawyer..what Shame-murugun said r correct to the point. But what r the Constitution or Constitution Laws or Rights? what r Parliamentary Laws or Rights? What r commoners / citizens laws /rights. Probably it has all of them but we laymen don't understand even the PeeAyam also need to consult AGeeCee & ShameMurugun to lecture to Auntie Lum. One thing is WKM is not the First Elected President but chosen it as an excuse for installing a reserverd EP to be brought forward 5 years earlier as Ah Long knew his time will be up & can't wait any longer...therefore all these laws or constitution or parliament r just some smoke screen to fool the dafts Sinkies..

Anonymous said...

I am minister S fan!

Don't play play, he can be our PM anytime!

He may be the next PM!

Who dares to fight him!

If not careful can lim kopI or kenna pant drop!


Anonymous said...

Making a policy decision ultra vires the Constitution is definitely unconstitutional. Tiok boh?

Tiok boh tiok not for u and me to say lah.

And strictly only for those who can win elections to form govt, OK?

So go and win elections first, then kong.(say)

If not, it is just kpkb kong song lanpar song.

Kong liau still LPPL. Kong simi?

Anonymous said...

Parliamentary sovereignty
Parliamentary sovereignty is a principle of the UK constitution.

It makes Parliament the supreme legal authority in the UK, which can create or end any law.

Generally, the courts cannot overrule its legislation and no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change. Parliamentary sovereignty is the most important part of the UK constitution.


Anonymous said...

Stop fearing, and start living.

Anonymous said...

Parliamentary sovereignty - History

Parliament means, in the mouth of a lawyer (though the word has often a different sense in conversation) The King, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons: these three bodies acting together may be aptly described as the "King in Parliament", and constitute Parliament.

The principle of Parliamentary sovereignty means neither more nor less than this, namely that Parliament thus defined has, under the English constitution, the right to make or unmake any law whatever: and, further, that no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament.

— A.V. Dicey Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution (1885)


Anonymous said...

Redbean, every effort to bring out truth and expose lies will make a difference. Sir, fine efforts!

Anonymous said...

@ October 10, 2017 9:22 am & October 10, 2017 9:20 am

Are you saying when we have a big PAP majority in parliament;
Are you saying PAP becomes like the King or Emperor?
Are you also saying if PAP is like the Emperor, so therefore the Prime Minister also becomes like the Emperor?

Is this what you are saying?

Anonymous said...

Not only is Parliament sovereign, it also means they are now telling you four is now the new five. Four is now rendered redundant.

Even if that is not true by any stretch of the imagination, which even a three year old will tell you that you do not know how to count, it is a still only a 'white lie' that only the whites have the authoritive right to say so.

No wonder they can say 'only in red dot'.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 0920 is 1oo% correct

can only kpkb and kbkp till lan par song

but at the end only lppl and lan-lan

this is now the culture here and kpkb is now the national hobby

some even predicted 80% votes for PAP at the next ge

with H and A going back to PAP

the parliament will then be 100% PAP with the opposition MPs playing the keh-lay-fey roles

Singapore is like that is like that is like that

hahaha,,,,,,black is white and white is black,,,,,,,,

Anonymous said...

Who decides if you are an Indian?
Parliament or your identity card or a committee?

Anonymous said...

The sovereign decides.

Virgo49 said...

The Constitution also said that a reserved EP for minority president is due only after 5 terms when the minority did not have a PRESIDENT.

It does not specify that it must be a MALAY president, only a minority president.

So Nathan, the Prata Man after WKW is not a minority PRESIDENT meh??

Indian President is not a MINORITY President? ???

In this case, a Minority President is in place for two terms and they should count from KFC man and the next Reserved MINIORITY president should be another three terms after KFC Tony Tan.

TCB, please bring up in Court.Furthermore this amendment only recent and not during LKY time.


Anonymous said...

Rb, no need to ask if any TOP Lawyers opinion cause he already TOP lawyer so he must be right lor๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€

Anonymous said...

@10.31am, don't ask stupid question leh....


Anonymous said...

Don't be stupid. It's the money. It's the millions of dollars in salary and perts and bonuses.
Anything else is all lies. But they can lie to some people or all the people some of the time, some people all the time and not all the people all the time. Their eyes are glued to permanent hold on power to secure the safety of their hold on money, wealth and finance at the expense of the people, the public.But no matter how powerful they may be, the power of the YING-YANG will come into play. Look at the French Revolution, the Russian October Revolution and the Chinese Agrarian Revolution. Where are the mighty kings and emperors of these three countries now.


Anonymous said...

Do you need a lawyer to know if it is against the Constitution to limit an election to a particular race? It is racial politics! You should propose that the next PE be reserved for a red bean.

Anonymous said...

A good government sees to the needs and welfare of the people and don't have to wayang all the time.

Virgo49 said...

Hi Anon 10.53

Cannot said just because he Law Minister, then he TOP Lawyer.

He happened to be appointed Law Minister.

There are Many better Ones in the Inner Temple of Law and also the Shaolin Temple.

Liu Ling ling said what Law??

Curry Law or Black sauce Law?

Anonymous said...

True, Parliament can change the Constitution and other laws but it needs 75% approval. That is why making sure no party achieve the 75% is very important. Even if the bill is good, the ruling government can convince opposition parties to vote and the outcome will be good for the people. Like that ruling party cannot suka suka change the rules.

Anonymous said...

with H and A going back to PAP
9:38 am


This one Goh Meng Seng also say.

Anonymous said...

If somehow at the end of Halimah's term she decided to call herself an Indian, would it mean the next EP could still be reserved for the Malay community?

Anonymous said...

'With H and A going back to PAP'

Goh Meng Seng said one, not Goh Chok Tong also meh?

Goh Chok Tong said a similar long tale that long, long ago in two little constituencies of Hougang and Potong Pasir, the fruits will fall. That was when he said that the chikus and papayas ripe for the picking when he went to Hougang and Potong Pasir to lend his weight to help the PAP candidates garner votes.

In the end I don't know whether he used his weight or his height or whatever, but the PAP candidates still lose.

But maybe Goh Meng Seng is more credible, having run from one party to another.


patriot said...

The Government in Sin is elected by the Citizenry to have the MANDATE to manage the Country and its' People as It deems fit and proper. This means the Rulers do have the Power and Authority to make, amend and change Law by virtue of the MANDATE the Citizenry has supported and or given to them(the Rulers) to implement and exercise.

My layman's logic and reasoning could be flawed.
l am here just to enjoy the Company.

Do pardon me if l am wrong.


patriot said...



Bravo !


Virgo49 said...

Hi Anon 1.30

Indian already Two Terms before KFC man.

How can Halimah be Indian an after her term declared she she Indian and next one be Malay???

Even Prata Man as MINIORITY Indian served Two Terms and yet They said now must reserved for MINIORITY this PE.

Indian majority in SINKIE land????

TCJ said in time must tweak further PE as now many races CANNOT be identify as Chinese,Malay or Indian anymore as many mixed races

So, in future they will have reserved PRESIDENT for Pinoy, Rohinga, etc

Mark my words MOT they have to have Reserved President for Chinese.

Anonymous said...

"There are many better ones in the inner temple of law and also shaolin temple" Virgo 11.50


Right. The old man was from the shaolin temple. He is so good in defence and deflecting blows from any source during his time. They even brought him out from retirement occassionally whenever they need someone to deflect blows.

Now that he is gone, they have to depend on one with Indian Kongfu from whatever inner or outer temple of law.

Anonymous said...

@117pm and 158pm a very good afternoon

Frankly how to keep H and A with WP at next GE? Very very difficult! You tell me lah.

Furthermore there are tooooooooooooo many opposition parties on this pee sai, not ready to be the government!

This pee sai is very very different today.

Everything....right or wrong......is now the new normal!

The masses wiฤบl kpkb and kpkb but when come to voting..,..PAP!

We shall see............

Anonymous said...

Minister lowest basic pay is $1.58mln. Bonuses can add up to more than 12mths. So most ministers yearly are paid between $2 to $5mln. Most stick around for 3 terms ie 15 yrs. So for the sacrifice of being a public servant most will pocket about $40mln to $60mln after 15 yrs at minister level. What a sacrifice for the most monopolistic, no risk-taking, cushy political job globally as public servants with the most pliant sinkies!!! No.1 indeed. Have anyone quit & build an actual business in the real private sector these 50 yrs?.

Anonymous said...

What could be the reason they die die also don't want to reveal the AG's advice?

Anonymous said...

The minister pay & bonuses before 2011 discount review immediately after Aljunied defeat, were even much higher. Blur blur.

b said...

Using race as excuse is loser mentality. PAP thinking has deteriorated to medieval age.

Anonymous said...

US President Donald Trump is meeting PM Lee at White House on Oct 23. Hope Trump bring up the CPF issue, pressure Lee junior to return us our hard-earned CPF savings. PAP O$P$ !

Anonymous said...

Donald Trump, the $1 salary (he volunteered), lowest paid President of USA (largest economy) meeting the world highest paid PM of tiny Singapore city-state in the world. Not shy.