08 February 2009

No need to know how the President uses his second key, says the government

Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam rebuffed calls by members of parliament for more transparency concerning how the President came to agree to release the reserves as requested by the government for the 2009 budget. What can explain the withdrawal into opacity? Full essay.

9 comments:

family man said...

Sorry, Mr Au.

President Ong has passed on.

President Nathan has so far appeared on TV for a few charitable occasions.

For this budget, this is one time he can make a useful impact on the history of Singapore and not be looked at badly by future generations.

However, after receiving so many millions from the PAP govt of the day, I am not hopeful he will make a difference.

Sgcynic said...

'This is a system that relies on trust in the individuals who are in charge,' he said. 'Do you trust them? Have they made decisions wisely? Has the Government been acting responsibly? That is ultimately what has been and will be the strength of the system.'

Sir, I don't trust "them". I never voted for "them". I do not know if the Government has been acting responsibly. I do not have the facts to judge. I do feel that Parliament has been acting (and reacting).

I'm sorry that you have squandered an opportunity to show a higher degree of transparencyy so as to convince a "lesser mortal" like me to vote for you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alex

I would just like to point you to a very bias, statistically shewed poll done at the imfamous hardwarezone EDMW forums which I had taken part in.

http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/showthread.php?t=2251578

Enough said about historic legacies and how "prata man" will fare in due time

Anonymous said...

Wow, can you believe this? At the most critical point in our nation's life, where the most important 2nd key to our nation's savings is concerned, our govt disavowed their firm beliefs in meritocracy and transparency suddenly dropped it in favour of TRUST!?!?

Once again, the double standards of the ruling party is apparent for all to see.. one set of rules for the masses and a separate set for themselves.

This is precisely the time to institutionalize the process and not shy away from it.

Tharman's words almost sound like a dialogue from a HK triad movie whereby the protagonist stressed that "in order to survive in the underworld, the most important thing is TRUST"

Bravo! If John Woo ever films the next installment of 'A Better Tomorrow', Tharman should audition for it.

FeedMeToTheFish said...

Hi Alex,

One key? Two key?

Puki, it's such a quickie!

Withing one week, according to Tharman, is all it took for the ex-Japanese translator and his council of presidential advisors to agree in principle the release of the reserves.

What's inconsolable is the fact that President Ong Teng Cheong was denied a state funeral and was told that he had to wait 56 man years to know the value of our reserves.

Anyway, as far as this lesser mortal is concerned, the reserves are nothing but a mirage. Except for the leeders, whoTF knows what it's all about?

All I know is my CPF contribution and what I paid in taxes and my pigeon hole adds on to the reserves.

feedmetothefish

Anonymous said...

He is right. The second key is practically useless. A duplicate key, I may say.

And the irony of the whole thing is that they were debating the budget when they had already made the decisions. Whatever for?

Sgcynic said...

Anonymous:
"Wow, can you believe this? At the most critical point in our nation's life, where the most important 2nd key to our nation's savings is concerned, our govt disavowed their firm beliefs in meritocracy and transparency suddenly dropped it in favour of TRUST!?!?"

It is not unprecedented. While the "independent" commission was still investigating the lapse that led to Mas Selamat's escape, Wong Kan Seng already exonerated the ISD chief based on TRUST.

MLC said...

'This is a system that relies on trust in the individuals who are in charge,''Do you trust them?... That is ultimately what has been and will be the strength of the system.'

This is a false choice that is often presented to Singaporeans in a policy debate. Trusting an individual or a system does not equal being blinded. I can trust a teacher in his/her capabilities to teach but it does not waranty a total acceptance of a solution to a problem without understanding of the background, the hypothesis and logic that comes abt to getting the solution.

Like Mr. Au, I too am waiting for an answer, not from the government but President Nathan. Because I believe that there is more to trust & a good track record in determining the strength of a system.

The backbone of trust from your citizen is TRANSPARENCY & the strength of the system comes forth in the sustaining legacy of Singapore and her governing system long after you and I were gone. Not the mere long term health of any political party. It's maintain by governance, by laws & legislations, oversights & safeguards within and between each branch of govt.

This is the time to show us that it is there -- to enforce our trust and cement our strength.

Donaldson Tan said...

The Constitution of Singapore requires President Nathan to publish his opinion if Singapore’s reserves are being drawn. Where is his opinion? Below is except from our Constitution:

Publication of President’s opinion regarding certain liabilities of the Government

148H. Where the President considers that certain liabilities of the Government, though not requiring his approval, are likely to draw on the reserves of the Government which were not accumulated by the Government during its current term of office, he shall state his opinion in writing to the Prime Minister and shall cause the opinion to be published in the Gazette.