Elections? Shoo-in more like.
SINGAPORE : Singapore won’t get a contest for the Elected Presidency, after the Presidential Elections Committee issued only one Certificate of Eligibility to contest the poll — to incumbent President SR Nathan…
Under the Presidential Elections Act, the decision of the Presidential Elections Committee in awarding the Certificate of Eligibility is final, and is not subject to an appeal or review in court.
Is it just me or do other ppl find this situation kind of ridiculous?
The role of the Singaporean President is largely ceremonial but he (or she) has veto powers over the budget, the Internal Security Act and senior government appointments. Though seldom used these powers are meant to be a final check and balance to the government’s substantial powers. I don’t doubt the ability of the Singaporean government to govern the country nor do I believe that its citizens are too disadvantaged under the current system with its completely impotent and largely inept political opposition.
Why then is the Singaporean government so afraid of having a free Presidential election? Do they not trust Singaporean citizens to make a wise decision? Do they think that if the “wrong” person is elected President, it might bring about the downfall of the government? Please lah, got so powerful meh? Imagine this situation:
President: I want to see a complete and transparent report of the country.
Govt.: Ok sure but it will take us 4-5 years to prepare it.
President: But I’m only in power for 6 years.
Govt.: Yeah we know. Heng ah! Just shut up and come have some peanuts with us. You like peanuts right?
Even if The President of Singapore wants to act he or she must consult the Council of Presidential Advisors prior. From the Istana Singapore website:
The Council comprises six members, of whom two are appointed by the President at his discretion, two are the Prime Minister’s nominees, one is the Chief Justice’s nominee and the sixth, the nominee of the Chairman of the Public Service Commission.
So out of 6 people, the President can count at most 2 people to be completely on his or her side. How much power do you really think he/she has?
Is this a symptom of the paternalism that is the Singaporean government? Is it another case of “we know what’s best for you and you should thank us for it”? But why? Because papa says so! It’s a total farce in my point of view that the government would have a committee to select who can run for the elections, and that its decisions are final and not open for argument.
Why carry on the pretense of an election? Why not just have the President chosen by the government? You would even save a few bucks by getting rid of the Presidential Elections Committee. While you are at it, get rid of the Presidential Advisors too because President already following your orders mah, what for need advisors?
All the money left over can then be spent on renaming public places, on the IRs (integrated resorts, ie. casinos) and outfitting the entire police force in riot gear because breaking up 4 ppl protesting is dangerous work ok???
Yup, why not indeed.
A more articulate argument can be found at coup de grace.