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Posts Tagged ‘Presidency’

“People are unsatisfied, but we’re afraid of change”

In Political governance on 25/09/2016 at 5:33 am

True here too? Especially the bits about “Power and the state … are one and the same,” and “And any citizens’ participation in politics is not expected.”

Think of waz happening to the post of elected president here? The voters use a presidential election when there is one to cock a snook at the PAP administration. In return, the PAP has drawn up more convoluted fixes (think Nathan) rules, and tied itself in knots or avoiding the issues raised when arguing the case for changes in the qualifications to be a candidate.*

MARINA, a middle-aged Muscovite with dark hair and piercing eyes, is unhappy—about rising prices, rampant corruption and even Russia’s confrontation with the West. But she is not ready for a change of course. “People are unsatisfied, but we’re afraid of change,” she declares. “Gorbachev had some nice ideas, but see how that turned out? I don’t want Russia to be destroyed.” So it comes as no surprise that Marina, and most of her compatriots, voted for more of the same when they took to the polls on September 18th for elections to the Duma, the national parliament.

http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21707388-reshuffle-russias-security-services-may-follow-parliamentary-elections-vladimir-putins

And

Many complain of rising prices and falling wages. “You go into the store and your money gets you nothing,” says Marina (who declined to state her last name, quipping, “Tomorrow they’ll burn my car”). 

Doesn’t this reflect what many S’poreans in the 70% that voted for the PAP feel?

And

The new ministry and United Russia’s dominance of the Duma ought to end any illusion that the Russian system could allow resistance from within, argues Oleg Kashin, a prominent columnist. “Power and the state in Russia are one and the same,” he writes. “And any citizens’ participation in politics is not expected.”

Think of waz happening to the post of elected president here?

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*U/m quotes from the constructive, nation-building MediaCorp whose website suspiciously looks similar to N Korea’s internet: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37426725

The Minister for Pets said:

The commission highlighted the “tension” between the President’s two roles and suggested that an appointed body of experts could take over the custodial functions, while Parliament could appoint a President to serve as a unifying symbolic figure. But Mr Shanmugam pointed out: “If you look at the commission’s report, the commission recognise that if a person or body is not elected then they cannot really say no and block the Government.”

Among other recommendations, the commission recommended that the President be obliged to consult the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA) before exercising his discretion on all fiscal matters. Nevertheless, the Parliament can override the President’s decision, with the level of CPA support making a difference to the Parliament majority needed. Referring to the CPA, Mr Shanmugam reiterated that the commission recognised that “this body of experts, because they are unelected, the best (they) can (do is) only delay (the decision) and Parliament can still override”. He added: “If you want to give real power then they have to be elected as the commission itself recognise”.

In his letter to the commission, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said he appreciated the commission’s reasons for making the suggestion to consider reverting to a President elected by Parliament. But he stressed that “it would be difficult for a President to exercise custodial powers over the reserves and public service appointments, and veto proposals by the Government, without an electoral mandate”.

… also responded to critics who claimed that the EP changes were politically motivated. “All sorts of statements can be made but (I think they should) get back to basics and look at logic,” he said …

He said that people can disagree with the report, including whether elections are needed to choose a President. If there is a need for elections, it would be sensible to put in requirements for the candidates because the President will have to make important decisions that involve huge sums of money, for instance, he noted. “If you agree that there should be qualifications, I think most people will agree (the Government) should also review the criteria, so the debate and discussion will become better if we deal with the specific issues and questions that I have asked,”..,

Ong Yee Kung said:

“In the end, I think whether the president is (considered to be chosen based on merit) and seen to (have done a) good job has to be judged after he has done the job – and not before he is elected.”

Huh? What cock is this?

Queen Jos said

that the President plays a “hugely important role” in being a custodian of the reserves. “He needs to have the financial oversight and decision-making ability, That is the basic criteria he must fulfill,” she said. His ability to command respect still depends on the people’s mandate, she said. She noted the role of former President S R Nathan – who died last month – during the 2008 global financial crisis. Mr Nathan agreed to the Government’s request to draw funds from the reserves to help companies. The decision ultimately helped “save many rice bowls”, she noted. “When it comes to crucial times like this, he has to make a critical decision, and to answer to the people.

What has this to do the changes, Jos never said.

 

 

Why the PAP fears Dr Tan Cheng Bock

In Political governance on 11/09/2016 at 1:12 pm

The guy is shrewd, classy with a great sense of PR: see below.

Ada standard as a natural aristocrat and as a president.

With him as an elected president, the PAP administration will have to take account of his views, no matter what the legal position is on the powers of the president. He’ll signal his unhappiness or displeasure even when he has to follow the advice of the cabinet.

Well those who voted for Tan Jee Say and Tan Kin Lian, I hope you are repenting for doing the PAP’s dirty work for them. Each of you didn’t even get yr thirty pieces of silver.

And Tan Jee Say and Tan Kin Lian were the rewards of preventing him from becoming president worth it?

This appeared on Facebook

Message to my friends and supporters

Many Singaporeans including Netizens, have expressed their concern that the Constitutional Commission’s report has excluded me from the 2017 Presidential Election.

I have been kept busy assuring them that the Constitutional Commission Report will be tabled in Parliament in the form of a White Paper on 15th Sept.

Parliament will debate it, make amendments, support it, or even reject it.

We should not jump into conclusion that the whole exercise was to prevent me from running.
After all, the people in charge are men of virtue and integrity and would not resort to doing this.

Let us wait for the coming debate before jumping into conclusion. 

 

Why some ex-presidents are more equal than others

In Political governance on 27/08/2016 at 1:15 pm

What’s going viral? People are wondering why some ex-Presidents get state funerals and some don’t.

(TMG’s attempt to get eyeballs http://themiddleground.sg/2016/08/23/viral-views-why-a-state-funeral-for-one-ex-president-and-not-another/)

Possible answers?

Maybe it depends on whether someone was offended or disappointed?

DSC_0029

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Ong Teng Cheong died in 2002, remember one LKY was silent on Ong as president, only praising Ong as NTUC leader: “Ong Teng Cheong’s greatest service to Singapore was as Secretary-General of the NTUC. At a critical time, he renewed the leadership and infused new energy into the organisation. He also broadened the objectives of the trade union movement beyond industrial issues by adding a social dimension to NTUC activities, providing union members with a wide range of leisure and recreational facilities, so that they do not lag behind the middle-class Singaporeans who were upgrading their leisure pursuits. He made a difference.”

And maybe or also whether the president in question was a true believer? Someone who knew his place in the scheme of things? Not a questioner of authourity?

Image result for Napoleon is always right

“Only minorities need apply” presidency is “2 steps back”

In Political governance on 25/08/2016 at 5:03 am

I’m sure you’ve seen Alfian Sa’at tots on whether there’s really a need for a Malay president.

In a FB conversation on the piece, someome said: A President is supposed to represent ALL the races. He is supposed to be a UNIFYING figure.

This got a totful response on the presidency in general and the issue that “only minorities need apply” in some years. (Note I’ve reparagraphed rhe piece to make it easier on the eye.)

Sadly IMHO the office of president is NOT a unifying figure in any way shape or form but someone who is respected nonetheless but as figurehead much like we respect royalty (but to a much lesser degree as its a fairly new institution.)

However some presidents are distinguished Singaporeans in their own right before they ascended to the throne so to speak. That figurehead rubberstamp role could have changed if a non PAP or PAP appointed candidate was elected who would not be so biased towards to the ruling party but alas that did not happen yet.

Why can’t a minority head of state improve the lives of minority as any help would be appreciated. It’s not a job role. No one needs to be specifically in Mendaki or CDAC or Sinda to try to do that. Look at how Barack Obama sometimes goes against certain institutions to highlight black issues through his speeches and influence on social media. It’s not his job per say. [This paeagraph doesn’t sound quite right. The second and last sentence should be removed?]

Inclusivity is not just what we are after but more fairness and less racism. Lots of racial profiling and racial biasness and what have you goes on all over the world – Singapore included.

Alfian got this spot on IMHO. And many others have called this bluff long time ago – nothing new in what he said but just awesome that he said out loud.

Singapore should aim higher for colourblindness though it’s hard and we can start but not electing figurehead tokens like a Malay or Indian president just because it would look nice on paper. This brings 2 steps back ..

Cina president: Fixed our minorities?

In Political governance on 18/03/2016 at 5:36 am

When TRE republished this piece on the Malay PAPPy that can thrash Dr Tan Cheng Bock (I called him “Chin Bock” in the piece: can’t remember why, “An honest mistake?”), it provoked the usual nuts. But there was a totful response which contains an explanation of the “unwritten understanding” between the natural aristocracy and the serfs from the minority races, which really I should have blogged about.

harold:
March 18, 2016 at 12:53 am (Quote)
Singaporeans need to get this clear.

At Independence, the leaders then came to the agreement that the President shall always be appointed from a minority group, because it was assumed – and not wrongly – that the Prime Minister, being an elected position, would more likely than not be a Chinese.

So far, all Prime Ministers have indeed been Chinese.

That alone shows that given the opportunity to vote for their leader, Singaporeans do in fact vote along racial lines.

The elected presidency reneged on the promise made at Independence. Thus if the rules are changed so as to allow for minorities as president – and by that I mean QUALIFIED – minorities, and I say this because it is more often than not assumed that minorities are NEVER AS QUALIFIED as any Chinese, which is RACISM – then all the government would be doing is returning to the promise made at Independence.

To the poster who made the claim that Halimah Yaacob is not even qualified for the presidency (see what I mean about the racism?): She is.

The Speaker is equivalent to a cabinet minister, which then qualifies her as President.

I would fully support a President Halimah Yaacob.

Two good insights on the PAP’s “divide and rule” the races:

dusky landspace lordess:

Change We Must:
PAP is a divisive party, why brought up the issue of races. We are all Singaporeans.

Always felt the policies were along racial lines. The help groups are also along racial lines. Hiring policies are also along racial lines. Political candidates are also along racial lines etc …

But must put me at the top of the list when wealth distribution is done.

It cannot be along racial lines as fancied.

I will come and take my rightful share.

And here’s a good dig about that opportunist extraordinaire, TJS,

jojo:

TCB would be the current President had it not for the stupid Tan Jee Say. He was a bloody spoiler. He doesn’t know what he wants in Politics. Where is he and what is he doing now, by the way?

Have a good weekend.

Malay PAPpy that can thrash Chin Bock

In Political governance on 13/03/2016 at 4:15 pm

So Dr Tan Chin Bock wants to be president (For the record, Ftr, I voted for him in 2011.). He obviously hasn’t been reading PM’s lips: that the next president will be a Malay and that the choice of candidates for president will be limited to Malays.

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Yes, yes, I know a nine-member Constitutional Commission led by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon is reviewing eligibility criteria for candidates, the role of the Council of Presidential Advisers, and steps to ensure minority candidates have a chance to be elected from time to time. Still hasn’t PM stated his govt’s preferences? And for the commission to go against the elected govt’s mandate (more than two-thirds of voters)  is to show disrespect to the govt and the voters.

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Fair is fair as there has been no Malay PM since the first president (Ftr again, his widow lives a few houses down the street). Btw, wonder if PM means Malay-Muslim or juz Malay? Unlike in M’sia there is no legal requirement for a Malay to be a Muslim in S’pore.

The thinking behind any restriction is that us Cina would prefer any Chinese to any Malay or Indian, even if it’s someone like Tan Kin Lian who lost his deposit at the last PE. And if the Chinese man is Dr Chin Bock (a compassionate, intelligent,  generous, gentleman) even Indians and Malays will vote for him.

But this Hard Truth is false because there’s one Malay who can beat Dr Chin Bock. with very little effort.

Last December, an anti-PAP paper warrior and I discussed who could beat Dr Tan.

————————–

He so hates the PAP that even when he uses SingHealth, he KPKBs that he must wait: he expects no waiting at polyclinic. I asked him why he uses SingHealth given his KPKBing and hatred of the PAP administration. He says thru gritted teeth, “Cheap” but quickly adds that PAP made him poor so he kanna use SingHealth. Ftr, he owns a landed property and drives a car: poor indeed.

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He of course said, “No-one”. I pointed out that there was one Malay PAPpy who could thrash Dr Tan and that he and I would vote for that person: he had commended her in the past.

Yes the person in Halimah Yacob. Going by her credentials, she’d sew up the union, core PAP vote (“Any donkey so long as he or she is a PAP preferred donkey”) and wimmin vote. And because she’s such an intelligent nice, no-airs, capable and compassionate person, she’d get a big share of the swing vote. Ftr, we attended the same law postgraduate class in 1978.

My friend could only sputter, “Malay men won’t vote for her.” I said, “So what? The Malay wimmin, all wimmin, NTUC members, hard-core PAPPy voters and many swing voters will.” I added that I tot she could get more than 59% of the popular vote (i.e. more than Ong Teng Cheong in 1993)

He kept quiet. Or rather he switched topics: to the persecution of Amos the Fantastic.

But as elections are no sure things, I doubt that we’d get the chance to vote in a Halimah Yacob versus Dr Tan fight. Sad because if I’m right and she wins, it’d  kill forever the Hard Truth that Chinese will only vote Chinese even if the better candidate is non-Chinese. But maybe the PAP doesnt want to show that this Hard Truth has feet of clay?

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Origin of “feet of clay”

Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. (Daniel 2:31-33)

And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.
And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. (Daniel 2:41-43)

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Better for the PAP to play games on racial, cultural matters with the aim of perpetuating its hegemonic rule.

I end by commending this post where a law professor points out that Nathan was never elected” he was an unelected president, same like Devan Nair etc. Only Ong Teng cheong was the real deal.

The truth about Nathan’s presidency

In Political governance on 13/03/2016 at 4:23 am

He was never elected.

“Tan also argued that in the case of SR Nathan’s Presidency, he had absolutely no moral mandate as he ran uncontested. An exercise of public affirmation was not undertaken either. Tan shared with the audience about a conversation he once had with SR Nathan at the Istana.

SR Nathan: This man (Kevin Tan) says that I wasn’t properly elected.

Prof Kevin: Sir, I never did say that you were not properly elected. I only said that you were not elected”

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCqlTuqdj6k&feature=youtu.be&t=29m45s
Embedded inside http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2016/03/highlights-forum-elected-presidency/

Easy way of avoiding rogue presidents

In Political governance on 25/02/2016 at 1:31 pm

No need to change the constitution. Juz no preferred candidates who were NTUC secretary-generals.

The two presidents that disgraced the presidency were ex-PAP leaders who were NTUC leaders. Devan was drunk when he fondled the Chief Minister’s of Sarawak’s wife in Sarawak at an official dinner.

Ong had an unhealthy obsession about the extent of his powers as jaga in chief. I’ve always tot that he was wasting everybody’s time on the issue of immovable assets and the sale of POSB to DBS. One of these days, I’ll blog on his obsession about keeping the reserves locked up from S’poreans. He wanted us to starve while looking at the gold, noses pressed onto the reinforced plate-glass? See no touch isit?

Tony Tan is an ex-PAP leader and was a leading member of the cabinet. He is doing what the president should do. and (touch wood) he’ll end his presidency on a high note, making the PAP and S’poreans proud that we had an ex-PAP leader who dignified the office, not degraded it, something Ong and Devan did.

They may have been part of the nation-building team of the PAP but they ended their public careers on a really low note esp Devan. Perhaps they went mad in their NTUC days, trying to manage their role as the champion of the workers with their role as senior managers in Harry’s city?

As to the other presidents, non-politicians all, they all upheld the dignity of the office, performing their duties quietly without getting drunk, fondling women or picking fights with the government that had no legal basis. For the last,  there are others who can do the job. There was JBJ, and today there are s/o JBJ, M Ravi, Roy Ngerng and New Citizen and FT Han Hui Hui.

Nathan’s maihum moment cont’d

In Uncategorized on 17/02/2016 at 2:07 pm

Don’t sing Majullah Singapura is the suggestion of a reader of this piece of mine when the president takes the salute. juz play Majullah Singapura.

But before reading his reasoning, here’s another great comment by another reader

Remember Pinkie and his meal of MeeSiam MaiHum?

Well, this is Prata’s maihum moment!

Back to why Majullah Singapura should not be sung when the president takes the salute on National Day:

I think all this STUPIDITY coIuld have been avoided if no one has to sing the national anthem when the president make his appearance at all ceremonies and occasions he attends. In fact, it is only appropriate that the anthem be sung at the end of an occasion, such as the NDP, when everyone including the VIPs and VVIPs would rise and sing it. No exception. The band plays the anthem when the president arrives simply because he symbolizes/represents the nation, not because of he (Nathan, Tony Tan or anyone else) the man.

I have NEVER heard the US national anthem, The Stars And Stripes, being sung when the President of the US arrives. Have you? For want of a better way to describe it, a country’s anthem should only be sang either at as part of a group performance, eg. at a concert or on very special occasions, such as at the end of the NDP or when national sportsmen and sportswomen received their medals on the winners’ rostrum in an international meet like the Olympics.

I agree that “God, Save The Queen’ is different. For one, the lyrics clearly referred to the British monarch in person. For those who are unaware, it was ‘God Save The KING’ when QE2 father was on the British throne. It was changed to the now, ‘God Save The Queen’ when QE2 took over from her father, King Geroge the… (you known, the King’s Speech, fella). Whereas, in ‘Majullah Singapura’, there is NO mention of the president, in fact, the lyrics is meant to spur and galvanize, at least in theory, the people and country forward (see English translation below) and compare it with the British anthem below it.

I hope it would shut the mouth up of the PAP acolytes who tried to defend the indefensible egoistic and ignorant blooper made by SN Nathan*. We can see how truly ignorant and arrogant the PAP ba***carrier can become.

Majullah Singapura (English translation):

Come, fellow Singaporeans
Let us progress towards happiness together
May our noble aspiration bring
Singapore success

Come, let us unite
In a new spirit
Together we proclaim
Onward Singapore
Onward Singapore

Come, let us unite
In a new spirit
Together we proclaim
Onward Singapore
Onward Singapore

British National Anthem – God Save the Queen

God save our gracious Queen!
Long live our noble Queen!
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen.

Thy choicest gifts in store
On her be pleased to pour,
Long may she reign.
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause,
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the Queen.
(From the official website of the British Monarchy –
http://www.royal.gov.uk/MonarchUK/Symbols/NationalAnthem.

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*Steady brudder. I may mock him but I’m inclined to think he was telling a joke. Bit like Income and Rebecca Lim.

 

 

PAPpies defend D T Nathan

In Humour on 15/02/2016 at 12:17 pm

US has its Donald Trump, a billionaire with a big ego,

Well we have S R Nathan, a man who in his 12 yrs as president earned S$16m++ for being Jaga in Chief and Chief Baby Ksser. His ego is bigger than that of Trump despite the Donald being richer than he is (and hence by the warped thinking of the PAP more worthy of respect).

In a recent interview [Link] which was published on 31 Jan by ST, former President S R (Sure not Donald Trump?) Nathan repeatedly refused to be drawn into commenting about the various aspects of the Elected Presidency, which the Government wants to review.

But he did say, “So I often get asked why I keep quiet when everybody is singing Majulah Singapura on National Day,” he quipped. “I reply, ‘Yes, they are singing to me. I’m standing there! This is symbolic of the country. I don’t expect to sing to myself!’”

S’poreans have in my view rightly mocked his pretentions and huge ego. Or if they tot he was telling a joke, his bad joke.

Whatever. The office of president is not the British monarch. The British are technically the monarch’s subjects. While the nuts of TRELand may think we are the subjects of Harry’s family and the PAP, no S’porean thinks that we are the subjects of the president: except perhaps Nathan?

When a lawyer who I’m told is a card carrying member of the PAP (anyway I know he believes in hanging, not helping the elderly poor, or sick: his taxes should go to ministerial salaries) wrote the u/m, you know even the PAPpies cannot really justify Nathan Trupm the Donald.

Many mock President Nathan for saying that people are singing the national anthem to him at the National Day Parade fail to grasp the sequence of events:

a. Parade commander calls parade to attention
b. President arrives and is led to dais
c. Parade commander calls parade to salute president by presenting arms
d. National anthem is played as part of the salute
e. Parade commander calls parade back to attention from present arms position

Since the national anthem is played as part of the salute to the President, it is not incorrect* to say that the national anthem is being sung to him IN THE CONTEXT OF NATIONAL DAY PARADE.

My friend the troll: Nathan failed to distinguish beteen S R Nathan the man and S R Nathan the president. The singing and respect paid is to the president (who juz happens to Nathan) not Nathan. A M’sian financier who advised successive M’sian ministers of finance in the 80s and 90s despite them belonging to rival factions, told me: “I’ ll advise a donkey so long as he holds the post of Finance Minister.”

The PAP lawyer said my friend was trying hard to find fault, which was a fair comment even if it sounded rich coming from someone trying really very hard to justify an ass of a comment.

But another PAPpy Ashok Sharma  wanted to pick a fight perhaps its just you and your kind that failed to understand when the then President, SR Nathan made the comment he meant him as the President and not him as S R Nathan the man? The analogy, by the way, is most inappropriate at least, to me.

To which my friend replied

Nathan used the word “me”. That is not the correct word or term to use if he were referring to Nathan the president. He also dumb as Trump in addition to being as arrogant as the Donald isit? Sounds like it. LOL

And
If Nathan had not said: //‘Yes, they are singing to me// and.//I don’t expect to sing to myself// I’d not have passed comment. But he did. He could have juz said, “I’m the symbol of the country, so it’s right that I keep silent”. But he didn’t did he? Let’s not try to twist his words to attack “just you and yr kind”.
Ashok Sharma** went on to lose his cool calling the troll names. PAPpies all like that isit?
Ashok Sharma tried again at midnight: for the sake of completeness and to avoid any doubt that may have arisen, I reiterate…. There’s really no shortage of idiots who’d complain about everything..
To which my friend replied the next morning. Yup very true of a brown-nosing, emotiomal fool who complains about others who complain about Donald Nathan our very own Donald Trump even he’s worth a lot less. This fool even resorts to name calling when he runs out arguments. Can’t agree with you more..on someone like him There is no point in engaging with these fools who only want to brown nose. They should learn from people like [ ] who can keep their cool when arguing.
It made the troll’s day when the founder of the conservative group he belongs to “Liked” his comment. The PAPpy ASs sat down and shut up.
And here’s another reason why we should sing and play Majullah Jaga Besar when the president takes the salute on National Day. This will show that we understand and appreciate the role of El Presdiente as custodian of the reserves etc. He is more than the ceremonial head of state who must take off his pants in public if the cabinet “advises” him to do so.
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*Why doesn’t he say “it is correct”? He doesn’t because it ain’t correct? Juz not incorrect.

**AS. Add another “s” and it becomes ASs. Delaration of interest. I’m getting a lunch at u/m place for naming and shaming the ASs.

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Play Majullah Jaga Besar on National Day

In Humour on 14/02/2016 at 3:09 pm

I refer to this: http://themiddleground.sg/2016/02/12/god-save-the-key/

Middle Ground is ang moh tua kee isit?

Why can’t we just sing Majulah Kunchi (same tune and lyrics as Majulah Singapura with “Kunchi”, the Malay word for “key” for “Singapura” when the command Hormat (i.e. Salute) Presidente is given at the National Day parade?

Better still, we can use “Jaga Besar” (“Chief Watchman”) instead of “Kunchi”.

Mari kita rakyat Jaga Besar
sama-sama menuju bahagia;
Cita-cita kita yang mulia,
berjaya Jaga Besar.

Marilah kita bersatu
dengan semangat yang baru;
Semua kita berseru,
Majulah Jaga Besar,
Majulah Jaga Besar!

Marilah kita bersatu
dengan semangat yang baru;
Semua kita berseru,
Majulah Jaga Besar ,
Majulah Jaga Besar!

We can sing Majullah Singapura on other occasions.

Australian protocol is to play and sing God Saves the Queen when the Queen is present in person, followed by the national anthem. The national anthem is Advance Australia Fair and is played at other times. I think NZ has the same practice.

Tomorrow, I’ll post on why Nathan is wrong to equate himself with the Queen of the United Kingdom.

The Silence of the President

In Political governance on 09/06/2011 at 8:22 pm

(Responding to this. The author feels that the president should be free to speak out on things that the president thinks the government is doing wrong. I had said the president has to remain silent on many things.)

Singapore had a constitutional presidency. The president was S’pore’s equivalent to the monarch in the UK. The monarch has no discretion and must act in accordance with the advice of the cabinet. There would be a constitutional crisis if the monarch fails or declines to act on the advice of the cabinet.

Executive power lies with the elected government of the day. The monarch is above politics. The monarch is a figurehead performing ceremonial functions, but does not exercise political power. This power ultimately resides in the parliament, because the elected government rules only if it is able to command the support of the majority in the parliament.

Substitute the word “monarch” with the word “president” in the preceding two paragraphs and you had, in a nutshell, the legal position of the president.

But this changed with the Elected Presidency amendments in 1991. They introduced a rojak approach. The president was to be elected, with some veto powers over executive decisions. These veto powers may be exercised by the president in his sole discretion, i.e. he does not need to follow the advice of the cabinet on such matters.

But on all other matters, the president continues to be bound by the advice of the cabinet. In this ceremonial or figurehead role, the president, like the monarch, has no discretion. Because they have no discretion, they are above politics. Whatever they do on advice, they cannot be criticised because they are only doing their duty.

By extension, because the monarch is above criticism, the monarch does not give her views on government policies actions, or decisions; or anything faintly political. Have you heard the monarch give her views on anything that could be controversial?

One way of looking at it is as follows: Since she cannot be criticised, the monarch should not put herself in a position where she can be criticised. Another way of looking at it: The monarch cannot have any independent view when she is carrying out a ceremonial function.

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