The conundrum of the Elected Presidency

1919

By: Yoong Siew Wah

Singaporeans are so inured to the sophistry of the PAP Government that they now take it in their stride for its face value. Was the establishment of the Constitutional Commission on the Elected Presidency a political scheme of the PAP wallahs to prevent Dr. Tan Cheng Bock from contesting the EP? Some do think so. Yet the PAP leaders could be so tongue-in-cheek to try to convince the public that it was not aimed at Dr. Tan but was for some obscure altruistic reasons.

Dr. Tan has for some unknown reason hitherto been reticent on this point but for some very good reasons now openly said in a press conference “that our elected presidency will always be tainted with the suspicion that the reserved election of 2017 was introduced to prevent my candidacy.”

Quite significantly, Dr. Tan has questioned the PAP Government’s decision to include the term of the late former president Wee Kim Wee in calculating when a reserved election should be held which in the eyes of the public is considered too far-fetched. President Wee Kim Wee was never by any stretch of imagination an elected president and for the Attorney-General to start counting the five continuous terms from the term of president Wee is utterly incomprehensible and may be against the nature of justice.

Dr. Tan said that there was no proper explanation as to why the A-G advised the Government to start the count from Dr. Wee’s term and suggested that the Government can refer the Attorney-General’s opinion to court for independent judicial verification.

The Malays do not appear to be comfortable with the presidential election in 2017 reserved for them as many, especially the more discerning ones, regard it as a gesture of tokenism by the PAP Government. Another glaring element to them is the dearth of finding suitable candidates to contest.

It will certainly be a blessing to them if there is an independent judicial verification to invalidate the Attorney-General’s opinion to start the count from Dr. Wee’s term as first elected president. It would mean that the 2017 presidential election will be an open election and not a reserved election for the Malays. This will be a blessing for the Malays because this will save them from having to make a Hobson’s choice on the reserved election.

This will mean that the prospects of Dr. Tan Cheng Bock contesting the 2017 presidential election will be so much brighter, which will be to the horror of the PAP leaders, especially the bright spark PM Lee Hsien Loong.

Dr. Tan has said that he is leaving his options open and if he qualifies to contest, what his chances are is a foregone conclusion in view of his groundswell of support.


Republished with edits from The Singapore Recalcitrant.

The erudite Mr. Yoong, who is in his late eighties, was the Director of Singapore’s Internal Security Department (ISD) from 1971 to 1974. He was Director of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in the 1960s, and had a distinguished career in the Singapore Special Branch in the 1950s.