Minister K Shanmugam pointed out why the Workers’ Party’s proposal to replace the elected President would not work.
During the Parliamentary debates about the elected Presidency, the Workers’ Party proposed to replace the President with an elected eight-member Senate. When Minister Shanmugam asked them how to avoid gridlock in the Senate, WP’s Pritam Singh changed the proposal to a nine-member Senate.
When the Minister further queried about the criteria for the Senate, the WP said the criteria would be the same as for the elected President. The Minister pointed out that this would not address any of the criticisms the Worker’s Party had about the Elected Presidency scheme. In fact, having eight senators means they would have to compete to be re-elected, and further politicise the process.
In conclusion, the Minister called their proposal “like a home built with sand- one touch and it crumbles”. He criticised how they were coming up with policy on the fly, and when queried about it, said Parliament “should not get bogged down by details”. “(That is) basically a plea, (saying) can you please spare us, don’t ask any more questions. But Parliament is a place for asking questions! ”
Watch the videos of Minister Shanmugam’s speech here: