Over the past weeks, the media and Internet has been engrossed in active discussion, as well as "noise"; on the Constitutional Roles and Responsibilities of the EP vs Expectations and Prediction of Candidates' Performance.
Objectively, or not; there are those who argued against an "activist" EP [View this Link - An activist President will destroy the Office, divide the Nation].
Those who argued that the EP has no consitutional power, to be the "Voice of the People", have actually lowered their own expectations of the EP. It is easier to keep quiet (silent diplomacy) than to speak up.
Just see how potential PE candidate Tan Kin Lian is running a "hands-on" by identifying and raising issues in the form of publicised "statements" and has to face the grind of public scrutiny from both the mainstream and new media. See how negative an attack it could be painted out to be by his critics here at this Link, even when there were hardly any substantiated truths. [TKL’s election manifesto in action].
Tan Kin Lian wrote in his Blog :
Somebody made this observation, "If you give views that support the government's views, you are not politicizing, but if you give views that are different, you are politicizing".
I want to encourage Singaporeans to be broad minded, and to accept alternative views, without applying labels such as "politicizing", "anti-PAP" or "pro-PAP". There is no need to label each view.
He must be referring to this post here at this link. [ Double Standards of the PAP on the role of the Elected President ]
This is not just from the perspective of and on the PE candidates himself. Usually, the critics had politicized themselves. They chose to use words unfairly to favour / dishonour candidate(s) they are supporting or not supporting...BIAS. This is against the scenario of supporting or not supporting a candidate fairly based on real facts or his past deeds.
Obviously, for a EP candidate who has not even taken office yet, but only campaigning; it is not fair to use "personal yardstick" and "prediction" to gauge his would be performance and to "measure" him.
For roles and responsibilities of the EP, these could be and are defined by the Constitution.
While the role of being the "Voice of the People" is not stated in the constitution, it is also not excluded. It is up to the people to decide if they wish to elect a President who promises to play this role in a constructive manner.
Obviously, the EP will be intelligent enough to reflect the "Voice of the People" only relating to his "Roles and responsibilities". Certainly, this should not be a "minority" voice. Whether or not the EP will "go wrong" whilst speaking up, the EP should be judged on his actual performance. Choose one who is logically with the right "values".
Due to "structural issues" within our political process, is it then necessary to see where the thin line falls between the role and responsibilities of the Govt with "executive powers" and those of the EP with "custodial powers"? Our Govt now wants to keep them separate, distinct and possibly intact.
But if our elected MPs and the Govt as a whole, which has been given the "executive powers", had chosen to remain silent, less vocal or ended up eccentrically ineffective on certain issues genuinely affecting the common people; should the EP then speaks up as "Voice of the People", whilst also representing the majority?
Next is whether the Constitution should give the EP a "leeway" to say more outside his "authorised" roles and responsibilities which are defined by the Constitution. Again, if the Govt refuses to amend the Constitution in this respect, can the EP raise this up openly?
The EP need not be an assertive activist on the Govt, but be the people's voice in real needs. As the Chinese saying goes, like "a dragonfly skimming over water". If the Govt is intelligent enough, it should act. If not come the next GE, voters will be intelligent enough to act. If the Govt does listen up, it is all for the better for all Singaporeans.
The real practical issue is the Govt should not view an "activist" EP in the defensive as if he is an "opposition". This will not only be an obstacle in view of the EP process, but also the political process, just like the way it wants to view the opposition. In rebutting online rumours about his son, Presidential hopeful Dr Tony Tan was reported to have said, “I am confident that Singaporeans are savvy enough to see through these distractions and will make up their minds based on solid facts and focus on the real issues at hand”. This is one real issue to tackle.
The previous weekend, I dropped in at TKL's Supporters' Gathering / Town Hall Meeting at Bay View Hotel. There was a motivational talk for supporters by Mountaineer David Lim. A lesson was borrowed from the Everest Team.
Certainly, David Lim's Key#4 - 1% Rule would be handy. Not just in moving the campaign each day in the positive direction but also to guard against the "crankiest" of abuses and distractions in the social media. As David Lim had put it, the media owes you no favour. I am sure this would certainly apply for the more out-spoken "activist" candidates.
|Key # 4 : 1% Rule - Certainly very useful.|