When the minister of law made these comments
– “that all public acts by the president – including public speech – can only be made on the advice of the Cabinet, except for the powers specifically vested in the office”; and
– “The president cannot reject advice given by the Cabinet And he cannot engage in public debate with the government”,
he was speaking at a public forum organised by the Institute of Policy Studies.
The moderator of the forum was one professor Tommy Koh and the other speaker was professor Thio Li-Ann from the National University of Singapore’s Faculty of Law. Both are known to speak their own.
Part of what they said were reported in our constructive, nation-building mainstream media and there was no mention of any criticism of the above points made by the law minister. But one would expect that inconvenient facts are not reported by our MSM.
But I understand from someone who attended the seminar that they did not challenge or criticise these points.
I am not surprised as it is the conventional wisdom that what the minister said is an accurate position of the law.
I have blogged thrice on the inability of the president to speak out and no lawyer or legal academic has dared argue against me, despite my promising blog space and anonymity.
The surprise is that Tan Kin Lian found a lawyer who agrees with his radical (but popular with Goh Meng Seng and many netizens) interpretation of the law, “I have looked at the constitution earlier about whether the President can be the voice of the people to bring issues to the Government. I do not find any requirement that the President should be “dumb”. I have also received advice from a lawyer who looked at the constitution and he confirmed my understanding.”
A reward has been offered to anyone who can out this lawyer. Juz joking.