Jordan Tan /

Frankly, if anyone were to be the epitome of how useless the political system of Singapore works for the benefit of the minority, look no further than Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio, Darryl David, who is Indian by birth and is the minority candidate for the GRC, who is unable to speak any Indian language. How does he represent his racial group apart from being of the same race as arbitrary judged by the minority committee?

Are we saying that in Singapore, so long a community has a person of the same race in leadership positions, that they are represented?

Of course, Mr David would profess that he works for the best interest of the Indian community, but anyone else Chinese, Malay or Eurasian MP would have done the same. Which leads to the question of why is such a divisive system is needed at all. After all, Mr Murali Pillai of the Bukit Batok SMC could prove the long-standing rhetoric of the People’s Action Party (PAP) about racist Singaporeans wrong.

PAP MPs have all used the survey results from Channel News Asia/ Insitute of Policy Studies to justify their point that Singaporeans are inherently racists when coming to choose their political leaders, but yet a Blackbox survey showed that people were more than happy to have someone like Deputy Prime Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam to move up to become Prime Minister.

Furthermore, in a survey by Blackbox on people’s response to the proposed amendments by the Constitutional Commission, showed that the amendments did not have popular support as what the PAP government would like to think. Is that why the government declined the offer to have a referendum on the matter? Because they know that they would lose the referendum?

With the new reserved election for Malay, Indians and others election, is it not clear that such an attempt to introduce racial harmony is tokenism? If not a blatant excuse to introduce a law to bar certain individuals from standing in the upcoming Presidential Election? Someone who merely lost 0.35% to PAP’s preferred candidate for the Presidency?
Especially since there is an additional barrier by raising the qualification to be at least Chief Executive Officers of companies with $500 million or more of shareholders’ equity.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean did not answer to questions in Parliament about how many Malay candidates who fulfil the criteria are present in Singapore. He merely brushed off the question by stating that there is no figures since private sectors do not report based on racial make-up but he knows that there is.
My question to DPM Teo is, then how do you know that the number of Malay candidates will not be limited to a small pool of elitists who do not represent the Malay community?

Many have raised the question of how an elitist individual such as one would find in the upper echelon of Singapore’s society — one that has a huge income gap — may not be one that the community look up upon or able to understand the emotions of the general populace.

Some have also brought up the issue that such an appointment would, in fact, give rise to excuses to look at systematic racial discrimination of the minority race in society, workplace and other matters, by saying that since they have a person of their same race in the highest office in the country, why are they still complaining?

Which is why Workers’ Party’s proposal to scrap the custodial role of the President makes sense. So that the financial obligation of the President would not be there, allowing for individuals from all walks of life to be eligible for the post.
However, the PAP government wish to murk the two issues together, by having a person who represents the community and someone who is able to represent the community or in this case, the racial community.
So are they, in reality, simply trying to limit the number of people to those whom they are comfortable with or they are just trying to deter individuals from the private sector from taking up the position of the President who is supposed to be the second key for the National Reserves?
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