atans1

Doesn’t Hali realise that “Speaker” is BS post?

In Political governance, Public Administration on 05/09/2017 at 1:05 pm

Halimah Yacob says that the reserved election (where all the candidates’ i/cs indicate they are of Indian subcontinent origin, not of Malayan archipelago origin)  is still meritocratic because all the candidates have to meet the same qualification criteria. Err she didn’t tell us that she qualifies only because the post of Speaker is the Escape Card or Joker card from the other cards in the pack or require very, very high standards to qualify to be eligible for president*. It looks like a form of affirmative action for “lesser” minorities that don’t have people who cannot otherwise qualify.

Let me explain.

The post of Speaker in the Westminster system is one of the great offices of state under the Westminster system of government practiced in the UK, Canada, Oz and NZ.

The Speaker of the House of Commons chairs debates in the Commons chamber. The holder of this office is an MP who has been elected to be Speaker by other Members of Parliament. During debates they keep order and call MPs to speak.

The Speaker is the chief officer and highest authority of the House of Commons and must remain politically impartial at all times.

The Speaker also represents the Commons to the monarch, the Lords and other authorities and chairs the House of Commons Commission.

http://www.parliament.uk/business/commons/the-speaker/the-role-of-the-speaker/role-of-the-speaker/

But in the context of a de-facto one party state where the ruling party has a more than two-thirds majority, the post is a non-job. It’s such a non-job that the PAP admin has “cut” the pay of the Speaker substantially. And given her campaigning for PAP candidates, she isn’t impartial is she?

Furthermore while the Speaker is the head of the administrative staff of the parliament, the budget is peanuts compared to any ministry or govt department.

Here’s a post from FB from a senior lawyer who is often pro-PAP who raises another point (bolded by me):

I find Madam Halimah to be an excellent servant of the people with a long record of service I greatly respect, but speaking personally I am un-impressed with the idea that the office of Speaker should have led to automatic qualification.

For one thing, the role of Speaker does not involve, if one may put it quite bluntly, managing any organisation of any financial size or complexity.

Secondly, in terms of the Speaker’s involvement in appointing senior officials within the G, the Speaker is not involved in that either. Nor is the Speaker involved in the making of any decisions on Government policy. Indeed, to the contrary, the Speaker is expected to exercise a degree of distance from policies, or at least politics.

So I struggle to see what particular experience the Speaker would have had in terms of discharging the principal ‘custodial’ roles of the President.

To say that the Speaker represents all of Parliament is quite true, and I do accept that the Speaker’s office is one of high dignity, and I further accept that the Speaker discharges a vital constitutional function in managing and overseeing the hearings, procedures and administration of Parliament, but query if these activities make the Speaker particularly well qualified for the specific custodial duties that a President has to discharge. I have my doubts on that aspect of Singapore’s constitution.

This lawyer’s comments remind me of Grima Wormtongue who in the book “Lord of the Rings” finally turns on his abusive master, Saruman, killing him. Even the worm turns.

As I said, the post of Speaker is the Escape Card from the otherwise very, very high standards required to be president. It looks like a form of affirmative action for “lesser” minority groups that don’t have people who cannot otherwise qualify.

Hali should realise this and just look at her monthly bank statement, smile and think of Marlowe’s Dr Faustus.

The PAP decided that a “desk jockey” in NTUC was the “right” person to be MP. junior minister, Speaker and now president.


*We may joke about “prata” man’s credentials. But he held senior civil service posts and was chairman of the organisation responsible for print propoganda .

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  1. So basically promoting a speaker to president is similar to promoting a head prefect to become school principal.

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