Suddenly there is a renew interest on 2-chamber parliament and the elected president system as seen in the Straits Times. Why?
Despite getting nearly 70% endorsement in recent general election, what is the worry for the PAP? As the opinion piece writer suggested, with absolutely control of current one-house parliament, the PAP can easily remove the Elected President if he or she is found not suitable.
This is actually the issue.
With a one-party parliament, voters still want to have checks and balances. The IPS post-GE2015 survey clearly indicates such a trend or demand. If we look back in PE2011, voters were divided in their choice. And the pro-PAP candidate Tony Tan only won by few thousand votes.
With an even one-sided parliament and stronger ‘mandate’ in 2015, how will it affect the ‘checks and balances’ position? Will they elect a non-PAP endorsed President to check the PAP government? It is highly possible.
Anyway, an independent-minded President under the Constitution can not form the government or even provide a policy direction for the government. Voters will not be so afraid that the PAP is not running the country as the case in GE2015. With such a guarantee, will voters demand and vote in an independent Elected President.
In the short run, voting a non-PAP Presidential candidate is the only possible way to upset the PAP. Perhaps, it is the only way to have some effective ‘checks and balances’ in Singapore as the EP still holds the second key to reserves and key government assets and appointments.
The discussions on 2-chamber parliament or Elected President issues are smokes to the real problem. The real worry of the government is an independent President, who places people’s interest above the PAP’s interest, will demand transparency, accountability and checks and balances. If this is the case, the productivity of the PAP government will be affected. An independent President can be more powerful than the fixing issue of 'the more than 10 opposition MPs' in parliament.