Examining the claims of ex-PAP MP candidates

Dear Straits Times,

I refer to the following articles:

– Candidates divided on role of president, 17 Aug 2011
– Unifying a politically divided country, 17 Aug 2011
– On the roles of president and the Parliament, 17 Aug 2011
– Dr Tan vs Dr Tan on leadership and the economy, 17 Aug 2011
– If I become president, 18 Aug 2011

Dr Tony Tan claimed that some candidates are running for an office that doesn’t exist. The absence of an office doesn’t prevent a candidate from championing to be the heart or voice of the people, just as the absence of any formal organisation doesn’t prevent someone from championing particular causes. So a candidate need not run in the next general election to change the constitution because the existing constitution doesn’t prevent candidates to be the heart or voice of the people. While the government sets policies, there is no law that says that the people, including the president, cannot criticise those policies.

Dr Tony Tan referred to the carefulness with which the Queen of England says things to suggest that our president should also be careful with what he says. But being careful with what one says doesn’t mean that one should therefore refrain from disagreement. The constitutional authority of Singapore is not compromised by the disagreement of the president because the president can only disagree but cannot will issues according to his wishes. Not being able to will issues according to one’s wishes doesn’t mean one cannot express one’s opinions about them. In any case, the ultimate authority for the constitution is the people. The constitution is written for the people by the people. It cannot go against the wishes of the people. That is why when it comes to such things as capital punishment and Section 377a, the ultimate authority is the wishes of the great majority of Singaporeans. The government bows ultimately to the wishes of the people. The government cannot use the constitution against the people because the constitution is supposed to be a reflection of the people’s wishes, not the government’s wishes. The government writes the constitution on behalf of the people, to reflect the people’s wishes, not its own wishes.

Dr Tony Tan said there has been some misunderstanding (amongst Singaporeans) about what the president can or cannot do. It is Dr Tony Tan and the rest of the PAP machinery who are mistaken instead.

Contrary to what Dr Tony Tan said, it is not a sign of disrespect but a reflection of the truth that elected MPs do not adequately reflect Singaporeans’ concerns.

It is difficult to believe that Dr Tony Tan can bind various divisions together given his track record which leans heavily towards the PAP.

Dr Tan Cheng Bock said that being the voice of the people on bread and butter issues is tantamount to being involved in day-to-day politics. But the people’s ultimate concerns are bread and butter issues. The people have no need for a president who is unconcerned and uninvolved in bread and butter issues.

The number one issue that Dr Tan champions is watching football together. Will that erase people’s unhappiness? After the match is over, would Singaporeans forget about their problems?

Dr Tan insisted that salary cut is different from charity because charity must come from the heart as though salary cut doesn’t. Who is Dr Tan to know of the other Tans’ hearts? Dr Tan has no basis to claim that donating one’s salary is tantamount to vote buying. According to the 17 Aug 2011 Straits Times report ‘Tan Cheng Bock gets his first endorsement for presidency’, the Singapore Baseball and Softball Association have pledged support for Dr Tan. Did Dr Tan’s pledge to champion sports help him ‘buy’ these votes? Dr Tan cannot accuse others of vote buying without conceding that he himself is also buying votes.

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One Response to “Examining the claims of ex-PAP MP candidates”

  1. Loh Ah Seng Says:

    I am shocked that civil organisations and clans are getting involved in partisan politics.

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