Why the president is not a super-MP

Dear Ms Chua Mui Hoong,

I refer to your 17 Aug 2011 Straits Times article “Why the president is not a super-MP”.

You said raising expectations about what the president can do is a fundamental error of fact and a gravely irresponsible act of politics. The fundamental error is in your insinuation that expectations are being raised. There is no need for expectations to be raised. The right for the president to speak freely on matters unconcerned to his office is a fact to begin with, not an expectation. It is a sacred right that all Singaporeans have, including our president. The gravely irresponsible act of politics is for you to have imposed upon the president restrictions that go fundamentally against the very foundations of our constitution.

While it is a fact that the president’s role is determined by the constitution, that role doesn’t include being gagged on issues unrelated to the president’s office. Similarly, while it is a fact that your role is determined by your employment contract, that role doesn’t include you being gagged on issues unrelated to your work.

There is no need to contest in elections to widen the president’s powers, for the constitution already empowers us all, including the president to speak freely and responsibly. A president that speaks up on issues is therefore not taking unto himself any power whatsoever, but simply upholding his right as a citizen to speak freely and responsibly.

Despot is not the word to use on someone who upholds his right to speak up. Despot is the word given to those who would employ unscrupulous and unlawful means to shackle, gag and restrain our right as citizens to speak up. Similarly, demagogue is the name given to charlatans who would preach such nonsense as you have.

Speaking up on issues is not playing up to rifts for the sake of playing up to rifts. It is our duty to speak up for what we feel is right. If there is a rift between right and wrong, better that the right be surfaced than buried by the wrong.

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One Response to “Why the president is not a super-MP”

  1. Are Journalists Politically Neutral? Says:

    Well said.

    As for me, I’ve made it my personal mission to get people to ignore and boycott her ridiculous columns.

    I’m seriously considering terminating my subscription to the newspaper. Can’t believe I am paying for this type of “journalism”.

    Do people have to resign their political party membership before becoming journalists?

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