Saturday, August 20, 2011

Your President

I'll be up front about this. The Singapore Presidential Election has been blown way out of proportion to its significance and its purpose. If it is to elect a representative to give voice to the political aspirations of the people, then Parliament has failed. All the elected MPs have failed to do their jobs. That's because this is what MPs and Parliament are meant to be and to do. And the 'louder' the noise in this election, the greater these are a reflection of these failures.

Once upon a time, the Presidential election was a dignified, if boring event. This is the first time in 18 years that Singaporeans go to the polling booth to cast their votes for a president. So I can understand the excitement, particularly so soon after the Parliamentary elections in May 2011. Obviously many feel that they have not been heard clear enough, or that the results did not reflect that proportion of votes that went either way. So many people, including a particular Presidential candidate, have this delusional impression, that the President can make a difference in the entire political process. Heck, Mr Tan Jee Say and company are treating this contest as an extension of his lost election bid in May. One must be blind not to see this. Surely there was no need for the jeering, which Mr Tan JS' supporters resorted to when Mr Tony Tan introduced himself as a presidential candidate on nomination day. I can understand, and expect this in an American Presidential election, but that's not what Singapore's President is about. I must say that the PAP government made a big mistake in making the Presidency an elected position. Well, they have the majority power to repeal this law and set everything back to what it should be - an appointed position acceptable to Parliament, and therefore the people. And don't anyone go around to say, like Mr Tan Kin Lian, that Parliament is toothless since the PAP government dominates it. Does this mean that we should all give up on Parliament as the true voice of the people and just have the President as the alternate voice? Is this why Mr Tan Kin Lian has never bothered to stand for elections to Parliament?

Yes, we can move in the direction of an executive president, but it involves changing Singapore's system of government away from Parliamentary democracy towards the American model. Maybe we are evolving, so fond is the PAP government in innovating unique features in government, which includes the Group Representation Constituency - another feature that will come to haunt them one day, and lead to the inevitable dismantling of this most undemocratic of institutions.

So to fellow Singaporeans I say - forget about the politics. Choose the one whom you think is best able to represent you as an independent figure above politics, one who will be able to unite and not divide, one who can speak well and present you well as a citizen of Singapore, and guard your interests not only in Singapore but the world as you travel the length and breath of it. Choose the one whom you think can be the face of Singapore regardless of race, language, religion, and, more importantly, regardless of politics (if this is even possible).


Anonymous said...

I am either voting Ah Meng the Orang u TAN or spoiling my vote.

The EP should revert back to appointed President like the bad old days. Stop wasting our taxpayers' money.

Anonymous said...

"Forget about the politics."

Then you are as naive as TCB. Everything has got to do with politics. Hard truth.

Epilogos said...

Naive I may be, but we must always have hope.

Anonymous said...

Everything goes round. The PAP govt is merely having a foretaste of the fire it started. The wind of change is such that it is blowing upwind into the face of the fire starters.

Surely, a lesson for LKY and company to NEVER temper with the nature.