Inderjit Singh: A sitting MP resigning from office to contest Presidential Election may go against spirit of Office as intended by Lee Kuan Yew

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Former PAP Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio GRC, Mr Inderjit Singh, has weighed in on the reserved presidential election that is likely to be held in September.

In November 2016, Parliament announced new amendments to the elected presidential scheme and outlined that since there has not been a President from the Malay community for five consecutive terms, the 2017 election will be reserved for those from the Malay community.

Writing in his Facebook page, Mr Singh opined that while Singaporeans should accept the reserved election system and the ultimate victor of the race as the country’s president, certain issues still need to be resolved before the race formally begins.

He wrote, “Many of us are saddened with the recent developments and comments from different quarters of society but I hope that we can put all these differences behind us. Once the new President is elected, we should all unite behind that person and focus on uniting the nation so that the respect accrued to the office of the President remains intact.

“To help that process, I feel that the following issues need to be addressed fast before we go into the formal PE 2017 process:”

Mr Singh first said that it is important to establish who Singapore’s first elected president is. The government has maintained that President Wee Kim Wee is the first since the elected presidency scheme was instated in the middle of his term and because the claim President Wee exercised the powers of the elected president following this, even though he was an appointed president. This is in contrast to many in civil society that assert that President Ong Teng Cheong is the first to be formally elected into office by the people.

Mr Singh pointed to the court proceedings initiated by Dr Tan Cheng Bock, a former PAP MP and Presidential nominee who had planned to contest the election this year after losing the last race by 0.35% of votes. He said, “The court will be deciding on this very soon, but I feel the policy makers could have avoided this question all together by paying more attention to this issue – the constitution could have said that the 5th election should be a reserved election and not the 6th. Nevertheless, once the courts decide, we have to move on.”

He also discussed the concept of “Malayness” and questioned why the process for classifying an individual as Malay or Indian in the General or Presidential Elections is not aligned with how individuals are classified by race by organisations like SINDA or MENDAKI.

Mr Singh urged more qualified Malay candidates to throw their hat in the ring as it is “very important that Singaporeans and the rest of the world see that we have enough qualified Malays in Singapore who meet the very stringent requirements set in the constitution. It will be a pity if we don’t have enough qualified candidates to choose from for the first ever reserved PE. So, I hope all those who meet the criteria, come forward for this wider call.”

Finally, he zeroed in on Mdm Halimah Yacob, PAP MP and Speaker of Parliament, who has said that she is eyeing the race. Reports are circulating that Mdm Halimah is already making plans to handover her duties as a sitting politician, even as she insits she is “still thinking.” Nevertheless, Mdm Halimah is already fixed as the choice establishment candidate to contest the election in many citizens’ mind.

On Mdm Halimah, Mr Singh said: “While the constitution is open about having a current sitting government politician standing for the PE, some Singaporeans have expressed concerns on the prospects of a current government MP, still in parliament, resigning as an MP and immediately standing for the PE. The spirit of the Elected President is independence of office as intended by Mr Lee Kuan Yew when the idea was mooted. While I have no question about how each person will do his or her duty to serve the office they are elected to serve, public perception is also important. While Mr Ong Teng Cheong also did the same in 1993, I sense people are increasingly uncomfortable with this.”

He concluded his post, urging all to stand united as Singaporeans and show respect for our President no matter who he – or she! – will be.

“As the Head of State, the President of Singapore holds the highest office and he or she must get the full respect of all Singaporeans. I hope the above issues are addressed before PE 2017 kicks off formally. It is good that Singaporeans are debating the issue of the reserved PE. My hope is that we can largely come to an understanding of the above 4 issues before we kick off PE 2017. And once our President has been elected, let’s all show respect for the President of Singapore and stand united as Singaporeans.”

PE 2017In less than 2 months, Singaporeans will get a new elected President. Unlike the past Presidential Elections…

Posted by Inderjit Singh on Thursday, 27 July 2017

Among other issues, Mr Singh also lent his voice to the Oxley saga in early June, opining that for Singapore to move on “everyone must give up something.” Read his bold statement at TISG:

“Everyone must give up something for Singapore to win” – Ex PAP MP on OXLEY

 

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62 comments

  1. Facebook Profile photo
    Kate Lau ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    we should stop this nonsense about reserved or even elected presidency. we all know he does not do much except smile and shake hands and collect a big fat salary. so lets save the $3million annually by abolishing the office. think about it, if tomorrow morning you wake up and find out that spore does not have a president anymore and will never have one, will your life change one single bit?

  2. Facebook Profile photo
    Peter Wang ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Mr Singh, what you are sharing is very valid and very precise as what we the typical Singaporeans are looking at. However, at this juncture where we are two months close to have the current sitting President finishing his terms and still these heavy thoughts are weighing in.

    First it look like what can be done to resolve and make all if not many of us accepting the decision in peace, is so short and will it be bull doze and creating more unhappiness.

    Or can the typical Singaporean accept what will be decided on Tan Cheng Bock’s appeal If the decision is not coming off with satisfactory explanation, another level up of unhappiness.

    We are at Cross road!

  3. Facebook Profile photo
    Alan Wong ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    How to command respect when the PAP Govt is seen to be fixing and changing the Presidential Election rules forever in their favour when they seen some potential candidate is not to their liking even though the potential candidate is qualified enough to run for President ? This is especially when the hidden hands fixing & manuevering the election is so obvious to everyone unless that someone is blind!!! Some more have the chic to say it is fair only to the minorities ? Then why not rotate the appointments of the Prime Minister or even the Finance Minister as well ? Maybe at least rotate the CEO of Temasik since the current one is only a part timer.

  4. Rey Lee says:

    Well if a MP resigned before 5 years term. Halfway being speaker of parliament can give up… I don’t see a responsible person.

  5. Just put the MERLION to become PRESIDENT OF CHINGCHAPORE, no need to waste the People’s money every month just spent on electricity bill for the PRESIDENT to recycle the water from the butt to the mouth

  6. Our president election is made a biggest laughing stock to the world with this govt. . Hey majority of u idiots, u put an idiotic useless govt in power to manage singapore for u. Wait for it to sink and destroy itself soon.

  7. Low Sk says:

    All Singaporeans must wake up to the hypocrisy of the PAP Government and not allow themselves and their nation to continue to be manipulated !!!

  8. Jairus Lau says:

    Presidential Race, it’s a foregone conclusion. Singapore – 100 females to 96 males. (No legislature for Lady President!). America, Barack Obama (2 terms), Blacks 14%. India, Manmohan Singh (2 terms), Sikhs 2%. Make a mountain out of a molehill. Little wonder as to why we are all so confused. May the best man win. Tharman Shanmugaratham for Prime Minister. Legislate?

  9. John Han says:

    Think should come out some ruling that a person need to have at least 5 years not affiliated to PAP then can be elected for some appointment. Like presidential election, now they happy shift goal post to their own needs and suka suka now Ownself appoint own ppl to contest. This is really a joke. We are not dumb anymore.

    Lastly the person being appointed to be some head of department also cannot be personal friend or personal lawyer.

  10. Eric Seow says:

    Ah Singh talking nonsense.! Most of us Singporeans do not accept the reserved presidency rubblish. How can we respect the president when we cannot even respect the ruling party/government when it is accused of power of abuse.? Uncle Tony is not doing his job.!! Nabey.

  11. Sammy Lee says:

    She will never be My President. 1. She is Indian any which way you split it – after changing the rules to suit her candidacy they wanna bend the rules again to include ‘Malay-ness’? 2.She is merely stepping from one PAP MP seat to President ( blessed by the same people) 3. Look at the incumbent who is cut from same cloth- did Zippo I office. UNITE WHAT? Already flawed from the word go. A joke.

  12. Yobo Tan says:

    Do you think the President will do any good works or make a difference to the lives of the citizens? Nah….I don’t see any thus far. What makes you think this reserved will make the difference.

    1. Low Jerry says:

      He or she can never do a good job so long as he or she is appointed not elected by the people. He or she will forever be a sitting bull and only do when ask to do.

  13. As ex-pap mp, he knows very well the sitting pap mps have no personal choice to make n whatever choice to be made must be in line with the party. Straying wd result dropping off next election.

    He knows very well whatever being decided is written in stone even strong opposition from citizens n division of muslim communities.

    It is decades old method used to continuously holding power thru divide to absolute control with town councils, ntuc, fas with pap mps.

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