There has been much debate, talk, threats, admonishments, etc. regarding the elected presidency in the last month. Electing a President in Singapore used to be a done deal, nothing much to look forward to, no need to cast any vote. In the past, the ruling party, the PAP, has always had it way. The candidate which it endorses always became President, and that includes President Ong Teng Cheong and the present President SR Nathan.
This time, it is different. No less than 4 have put their names name. They are informally referred to as establishment candidates such as Dr Tony Tan and former long-time PAP MP Dr Tan Cheng Bok. Add to that the anti-establishment candidates that are Tan Kin Lian and Tan Jee Say. No one really is independent, when you come to think of it. But more of this can be written in the coming days.
My concern is that the Singapore Parliament has not sat since the end of the last GE in May 2011. I wonder why. No issues since then to discuss? It is odd if this is the case. Singapore is going into unchartered territory, economy-wise, so the governement reminds us. Does this not merit sitting? But more so, non of the elected MPs have been sworn it, 5 months after their election. I wonder about the significance of this swearing in ceremony, since MPs would have gone about their constituency work by now, listening to the people, advising them, writing letters to the powers that be, etc. etc. Does not being sworn in mean that they have any less validity or authority as MPs? Can they, in fact, go about their Parliamentary duties, and that includes seeing people and making representatons on their behalf? If the answer is yes, then it would appear that the swearing in ceremony is dispensable. But if our MPs are doing less for the last 5 months, they would have saved a pretty penny related to being in Parliament for meetings and discussion. Can we ask for some of the allowance back? Its like being on half pay, you know.
The Thai Parliament convened within a month of its election. Of course there was a change in government, which perhaps necessitated the convening of Parliament, but does Singapore has anything less that its law makers can afford to take such as 'long holiday'? No wonder the elected Presidency is being viewed as a GE proxy. Parliament has been as silent as a Church mouse thus far.