Sunday, March 22, 2015

Rebuilding what LKY has Destroyed - Democracy

The PAP IBs and LKY fans regard me as "LKY hater" but I am definitely not because I am not the victim of his ruthlessness, unlike many others who have been unjustly imprisoned and tortured by him.

I consider his greatest FAILING in his political career to be his TOTAL DESTRUCTION of the tenets of Democracy: The Separation of Powers. This bad deed, has longer implications on Singapore's development than any other bad deeds he has done during his lifetime. For his deed of treating his opponents with unnecessary harsh and inhuman means, it could be easily be forgiven by these victims if he has repented and apologized. But not so for this deed of destruction of Democratic development.

The political system which he has carefully designed, could only survive with his dream of having "Philosopher King" with massive concentration of great powers without being corrupted. That is definitely IMPOSSIBLE. It may have worked during his time but it has opened up Singapore to instant failure should a corrupt leader get into power as there is a lack of checks and balances and accountability.

We will need to re-look at the current political system to remove all the bad practices and policies which destroy the basic principle of Democracy, Separation of Power. For a start, I would like to see the following happening:

1) CPIB should be made independent of PMO, oversee by a commission led by a retired judge.

2) The appointment of judges, especially Chief Justice, should be made independent of the executive. We should not repeat the stunt of appointing someone who was only "lawyer in name" without rich experience in legal practice or justice department to become Chief Justice or even High Court judge.

3) The Executive should be banned from meddling with editorial rights of newspapers and TV stations.

4) Elections Department should be made independent of PMO as well, led by a commission. Any changes to boundaries should be transparent and open for scrutiny. The ED or the commission in charge should justify any drastic changes.

5) The ISA should be reviewed and the law should ban the use of National resources for espionage on political parties without strong justification of National security threat. ISD should only work on cases or situation which warrant their attention in terms of National Security Threats. They should not work for political missions dictated by the ruling party.

6) Conflict of interests should be minimized and declaration of such interests is important in the process of policy making as well as appointment of key personnel. The anti-corruption law should look into this.

7) Declaration of assets for political appointment holders such as Prime Ministers, Ministers, Ministers of state etc should be made transparent.

8) The Government should "get out of business" in Singapore. This is to prevent the massive conflict of interests and impact on Rule of Law in Singapore. The Government cannot subject itself as the regulator as well as the one being regulated. This has been deliberated by Eric Tan in his latest article.

9) Addition by Ken Zeng, the Prime Minister should only have two consecutive terms. Entrenchment of power will lead to the possibility of corruption of power as well.

10) Ministerial pay should be lowered further to reflect the nature of Public Service. We do not want our Ministers to stay in power for too long as well. This is to prevent them from taking this as "just another job", too comfortable to move on. The Minister pay should be pegged to the lowest 20% percentile of income, calculated with the inclusion of those WITHOUT income. It may also include a certain percentage weighted peg on the median income level.

11) Addition by Ken Zeng: Reinstatement of Jury system for certain cases as practiced prior to 1969.

These are the few things in my mind now.Please feel free to suggest any other things you think which is important as in Separation of Power alone; not just any policy issue.

Goh Meng Seng


Anonymous said...

My Goh, I'm not well educated so I can't articulate on all those fancy democracy stuff. All I know is my parents and all those old people in my village past, got out of the poverty trap because of LKY and his team.
You want free press and all the whistles and bells of a real democracy, come to Philippines. It's even more democratic than the USA. I lived 8 years here.
LKY's confucianist approach is pragmatic and right. The only problem, which I grant you your points, is that the system he put in place only works well PROVIDED there is a morally good leader. That is the danger.

BC said...

Rampant corruption and the culture of a people so humiliated and so manipulated by their own leaders, both religious as well as secular, is what made Philippines today. Our poverty trap is at 30% today. Some got out while more got in.