PPP: More Extensive Reform Of Elected Presidency Required

Response to PAP’s change of political rules

The Prime Minister has announced a few changes to our political system, basically centered around NCMP scheme, down sizing GRC, increasing number of SMCs and rules regarding the Elected Presidency.

People’s Power Party is founded on the principles of political reform based on Separation (and Independence) of Five Powers, namely Legislative, Executive, Judiciary, Selection/appointment and Impeachment Powers.

The Elected Presidency

One important advocacy of our founding beliefs is to entrench and enhance the Elected Presidency so much so that, certain powers or government institutions should fall under the charge of the Presidential Office. We are advocating the institutions of Impeachment powers, Selection/appointment powers to come under the purview of the Elected Presidency. Namely, the Elected President should take charge of the following institutions and functions:

2) Election Department
3) Public Service Commission (PSC)
4) Appointment of judges
5) Ombudsman Commission
6) Equal Opportunity Commission
7) Appointment of key office holders in Temasek Holdings and GIC

On top of that, the President should have the veto powers to block any legislation which he deems detrimental to the nation’s interests. Such veto can only be overturned by subsequent two-third approval of parliamentary votes.

Thus, the reform for the Elected Presidency could be more extensive than what the Prime Minister has proposed.

Although we welcome the proposal of putting the racial balance into consideration for the Elected Presidency, but we object to the proposed increase of power given to the Presidential Advisory Council. The appointment of the members of this Council should not be decided by the ruling party or Cabinet. It should be the sole prerogative of the Elected President to appoint his own Council. Furthermore, the Elected President is elected and empowered by Singaporeans and he should have the full power to make decisions in the interests of the Nation He should be the one who will answer to the Singaporeans who voted him, not the Advisory Council. Thus, the Advisory Council cannot overshadow the powers of the Elected Presidency.

GRC, NCMP and Proportional Representation.

We welcome the announcement of downsizing the GRC. We feel that the correct size for the GRC system should be 3 to 4 seats per GRC.

However, we do not see the necessity of having any SMC nor NCMP if our proposal of Proportional Representation is implemented.

No matter how PAP tries to package it, NCMP has little legitimacy under the current setting. They will always be considered as second class members of parliament or just simply “backdoor MPs”.

The advantages of Proportional Representation system coupled with the full GRC system will truly give Singapore’s Parliament Plural Voices while prevent the loss of Ministerial caliber members of any political party which would become the ruling party or part of a ruling coalition.

Proportional Representation system guarantees intense contest and competition of ideas and ideals whereby multi-corner fights would not be frown upon or “avoided”. It will enhance political competition and consensus building based on plural voice and representation in parliament.

The current system has tremendous flaws. Beside discouraging healthy competition and contests, it also post a danger of instability. If the ruling party lost a GRC, it may risk losing one or two of its good Ministers altogether. This will not provide the kind of political stability and continuity which we need.

The Proportional Representation system also mitigates the problem of the Tyranny of Majority Rule. It would allow individuals or groups with specific focus to contest and chance of getting into parliament to contribute to the plurality of debates. Example, if a group of Nature lovers or Green activists were to be elected into parliament, they will provide a diversity in the debates in various development plans, providing the Green Views instead of subjecting our Nation and future generations to the ills of a monolithic discourse pushed by the ruling party.

Thus, we urge the ruling party to reconsider their plans to change the political landscape to take a serious long term view on the Nation’s political stability by adopting a more comprehensive and bold stance of political reform, which is beyond party politics, to ensure that our Nation adopts the best democratic system based on the fundamentals of Separation of 5 Powers.

Goh Meng Seng
Secretary General
People’s Power Party


Source: Goh Meng Seng

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