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Thursday, February 15, 2007

For Better or Worse

For Better Or Worse

With only one more month of his term left, Elected President (as opposed to the new Selected President) Ong Teng Cheong had an extraordinary "exchange of letters" with PM GCT that purportedly 'defined' the President's powers.

The question is, For Better or For Worse?

This is because the Letters set out to define not only the incumbent President's role but is "binding on all future Presidents".

I find this worrying.

The Letters seem to impose conditions and restrictions on the Presidency, present or future. Can this be legal? Isn't this a change in the constitutional role of the President by the back door stratagem of an exchange of letters, just before Ong leaves office?

Should the powers of the President, guaranteed by the Constitution, be defined and restricted merely by an exchange of Letters by an outgoing President?

If the PAP wants to change its mind about an Elected President with constitutional powers to veto reserves spending and key appointments, it should do it the proper way, with a Constitutional Amendment. Certainly not by a mere exchange of letters that binds all future Presidents.

I find this 'backdoor' Constitutional Amendment disturbing. As well as downright unconstitutional.

Perhaps someone should look into the implications of such 'backdoor' amendments to the constitutional powers of the Elected/Selected President.

The PAP must be the laughing stock of the civilised world for this farce of an Elected President. And the biggest laughing stock must be our Senior Minister who proposed the Elected President in the first place and now insists that the post is largely ceremonial, with the key duties of the President being to host tea parties.

Dr Chee's call for a Presidential Election even with only one candidate is a timely one. Singaporeans should be given the chance to agree/disagree with the Candidate's appointment. It will be a vote of confidence by the people and a proxy test of the PAP's real support from Singaporeans.

I hope LKY and the PAP will not chicken out of this contest, just as they have chickened out of a by-election when an incumbent PAP MP resigned in disgrace.

I look forward to casting my vote in the Presidential Election.