The reserved Presidential Election was a “judgment call” the Government had to make to entrench multiracial representation in Singapore said Minister for Law and Home Affairs, K Shanmugam. Speaking at the Institute of Policy Studies forum on the reserved Presidential Elections on Friday, Mr Shanmugam pointed to the GRC scheme and Ethnic Integration Policy for HDB flats to justify the recent amendments to the Elected Presidency.
The Minister acknowledged that there was no “groundswell” from the Malay community asking for this election to be reserved. He said: “We know that the Malay community has generally felt that, you know, there isn’t a Malay president. I won’t say there was a groundswell of clamour, but there was certainly a considerable body of opinion and viewpoints that they don’t have a Malay presidency.”
Highlighting American politics, Mr Shanmugam said that race has proven to be a relevant factor in voting around the world, and that the People’s Action Party leaders are activists and generally moved ahead of problems.
Readers who responded to Today’s report of Mr Shanmugam’s speech at IPS in their Facebook however disagreed with the Minister that race was a significant factor in who they cast their vote for.
Ross Tan said: Well, let’s do it, next up should be reserved prime minister? I doubt that will happen and stop giving excuses please.
Chris Chen added: “I don’t care if the president or the PM or the minister or the MP is Chinese, Malay, Indian… or an alien. I care if he can do his job. Period.”
Barry Smyth: “It’s a racist presidential election, and an EXTREMELY bad judgement call by a government. It flies in the face of democracy, meritocracy, not to mention the national pledge. Race was never an issue for the President until the government made is so. The president is for all Singaporeans regardless of race. Please stop supporting this ridiculous piece of garbage and call it what it is “RACIST”. There is no excuse, and you are starting to make yourself look less than credible by attempting to support it.”
Chee Leong Tan: “If race matters to Singaporean voters, then it means we still have not achieved “regardless of race” in Singapore. Please solve this racial bias issue. Reserving something for any particular race seems to do the opposite.”
Lim May: “Why did they do the obviously wrong thing n can still appear to be so righteous making citizens feel stupid n dumb!”