From Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s blog:
It is important that the President works within the boundaries laid out in the Constitution. The Presidency must not be a centre of power. This is to avoid confrontation. The office of the people’s elected President must work with the government in a proper and correct manner in the interest of Singapore. This is important or both offices will always be in a state of tension and the country suffers. This is the stage that should be set for the future relationship of the two offices especially in the light of the current world economic climate.
The Minister of Law said that whether the PM listens to the President’s advice depends on the ‘quality of the advice’ and the ‘quality of the person’,whether the President is ‘wise,knowledgeable and experienced’. The President would have been deemed to have the necessary qualities by virtue of his being issued the Certificate of Eligibility. This is further endorsed by the people of Singapore who have voted for him. Is the Minister questioning the decision of the Presidential Elections Committee and the choice of the voters?
The Minister of Law has set the stage of confrontation between the President and the PM when he speaks of the different level of respect the PM will give depending on who the elected President. Is he saying the choice of the voters of Singapore matters little? This is a very judgmental approach to the office of a Presidency elected by all Singaporeans. It amounts to “I will hear you if I respect you and if I like you”. I hope this view is not shared by the PM.
This is not good for Singapore. It is starting on the wrong footing for the elected candidate as he will be watching how the PM is going to relate to him. This is very serious as it creates a high level of suspicion between the two. It has become personal and reflects poorly on the two institutions. If the attitude is of this nature there is bound to have confrontation not from the President but from non co-operation by the government in power. Is this what we want?
Singaporeans want harmony and fair play. THERE MUST BE MUTUAL RESPECT for the government of the day and the Presidency as both are elected by Singaporeans.
Law Minister K Shanmugam’s counter response to Dr Tan Cheng Bock HERE.