Saturday, October 21, 2017

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The conundrum of the Elected Presidency

Singaporeans are so inured to the sophistry of the PAP demagogues that they now take it in their stride for its face value.When the whole of Singapore had not the slightest doubt that the establishment of the Constitutional Commission on the Elected Presidency was a political scheme of the PAP wallahs to prevent Dr. Tan Cheng Bock from contesting the EP, PAP leaders, especially PM Lee Hsien Loong, 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 out 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.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Monday, January 9, 2017

Is China cocking a snook at the joker PM Lee Hsien Loong?

The Parliamentary debate on 9 January on the seizure of the nine Terrex Infantry Carriers looked more like a colourful comic opera which the Singapore public has not had the privilege of witnessing for a long time.The star performer Defence Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen was so ebullient in his bombastic discourse about Singapore Government's sovereign immunity that it might have convinced gullible Singaporeans about its legal validity but not an unsympathetic China. The Parliamentary spectacle was more likely intended to show the world the more iniquitous face of China in the so-called arbitrary seizure of the Terrex Infantry Carriers by Hong Kong Customs but has it ever occurred to the PAP wallahs that even the Singapore citizenry has remained reticent over the issue, not to mention support.

Quite significantly, the Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesman has again re-iterated the One China principle which Singapore could meditate on seriously notwithstanding its vigorous profession of strict adherence to the One China principle. It has been repeatedly pointed out that the Terrex issue is going to be a complex problem requiring an infinite time frame to resolve. It is not something which a surly letter from the high-falutin PM Lee Hsien Loong to the Chief Executive of Hong Kong to demand the return of the seized armoured vehicles could resolve. The reply from Hong Kong is not very encouraging.

Cannot our thick-headed PM Lee sober up for once and think of a more civilised approach to China? For instance it does not lower PM Lee's world standing, if any, for him to appeal directly to President Xi Jinping of China sans any legal threat like the sovereign immunity for the return of the armoured vehicles. By now it should be abundantly clear to PM Lee and his Cabinet that there will be no resolution of the Terrex issue without President Xi's nod. The obvious alternative will be the prolonged detention of the Terrex armoured vehicles until some miraculous relenting of the part of China.

Whether China's relation with Singapore will return to its former exemplary state after this issue is resolved will depend on sincere efforts by both sides to realise this, but would depend more on the divestment of PM Lee's pro-American image. Another is the One China principle which China is not entirely happy that Singapore is earnestly adhering it. Of course Singaporeans will be elated to see a happy ending to this unfortunate episode which they think is of PAP leaders' own making.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Does it resurrect Benjamin Lim?

Is it not an indictment of the PAP Government that it requires the tragic death of a promising 14-year-old Benjamin Lim to jolt it into making a review of the criminal investigation procedures to protect vulnerable teenagers like Benjamin Lim when they are hauled in by the benign police for interrogations? The Benjamin Lim,s case elicited a lot of public interests and sympathies because of the manner in which the police handled his case. Until now it is not clear why the police had to send four burly policemen in plainclothes to haul a frail-looking 14-year-old student to the police station. And to add to his agony, the competent school principal had merrily neglected in his duty to provide an appropriate staff to accompany Benjamin Lim to the police station to ensure his well-being, at least psychologically. What went on in the police station with Benjamin Lim at the mercy of the benign police officers could only be imagined.

The Coroner's verdict in Benjamin's case can be said to have left much to be desired. It is understandable as the Coroner had an unenviable task of arriving at a balanced verdict in view of the immense publicity on the case. To be fair, he can be said to have done a creditable job, only that he cannot be expected to please all. The public just cannot understand how Benjamin Lim could have simply committed suicide if it had nothing to do with his traumatic experience at the hand of the benign police.

The Minister for Home Affairs K. Shanmugam can be given credit for his commendable attempt at damage control. Although it had to be done after the tragic death of Benjamin Lim, it at least could have a salutary effect on the mind of anxious parents whose sons may fall foul of the law that they could at least have basic safeguards against ruthless interrogations of the benign police. Why it should be stipulated that the presence of Appropriate Adults is at the discretion of the police could be an unfortunate dampener in an otherwise consummate solution.

Whilst it is still early to assess any beneficial effect which could emanate from this review of criminal investigation procedures, it would very much dependent on the benign police giving inspirational spirit to the scheme because the delinquents are always at a disadvantage. Benjamin Lim's father would have been a more happier man if his son had been able to be protected by this belated scheme and he may even still be horsing around.

In conclusion, it may be appropriate to quot e this Chinese saying: It is not too late to repair the pen after the sheep have died (亡羊補牢,为時未晚). It especially applies to Minister K. Shanmugam's attempt at damage control.