April 24th, 2007

kiri win

Jeyaratnam for Prime Minister.

The man championed our constitutional rights in a Parliament that laughed at his suggestion to make use of the Constitutional Court. In an era in which the top leaders of the country seem to think that politicians will only be lured into the political arena by paying them huge amounts of money, therefore suggesting that you don't need a genuine interest to serve the country and to stand up for the citizens to be an effectual and competent MP, reading JBJ's opinions in Parliamentary Debates is simultaneously inspiring and depressing. It's inspiring because his arguments against the stupid Public Entertainment and Meetings Act were logically based on fundamental constitutional provisions, the observance of which is the true test to a country's claim to democracy; and it's depressing because...well, he's bankrupt. He's one against all the others. He's no longer in Parliament and the whole being bankrupt thing means he won't be in Parliament anytime soon.

I think this argument is sheer brilliance:

"PEA violates Art 14(1)(a). Restriction in 14(2)(a) does not say you can abrogate the citizens right, which must remain. Requiring the citizen to obtain a licence from a police officer is taking away his right - if one has to obtain a licence, one cannot truthfully say that he has the right. His right is made dependent on the whim of the officer to whom he has to make the application. It is no longer a right. It becomes a licence granted by the government, and not a right of the citizen. "

No wonder the government was so desperate to kick him out.

I wish we had MPs like JBJ. I wish we didn't have a PM who's paid 8 times more tha the president of the United States, MPs whose salaries increased by like, 20%, an ex-PM who said that MPs' salaries must be pegged to the highest-paid directors and whatever of large companies in order to attract people to join politics. You don't join politics for the money; you join politics because you care about the country. Ma Yin-jeou, when he was the mayor of Taipei, was paid about $9000 Singapore dollars a month. My aunt's husband makes more than that in his capacity as vice-president of some company.

I feel so sad for this country right now.


On another note, I took a nap after the previous entry and found myself dreaming of Re South Place Ethical Society. It's a charities case that defined 'religion' as 'being concerned with man's relations with God'. And I think I dreamt about my Equity notes the night before the paper too.

So damn tired. Must keep studying.


Edited to add at 4.24 a.m.:

So, I'm reading the Minister's reply to JBJ's contention as quoted above. I think it's super funny. He basically says that the Act is not unconstitutional because "the courts have in fact decided that the Act is constitutional". What kind of a comeback is, "It's not unconstitutional because the courts said so"? He doesn't address any of the points JBJ brought up.

More hilarious is this: He says that Article 14 doesn't grant a Singaporean an unlimited right to free speech. If he is granted an unlimited right to free speech, "what happens in some other countries where there may be freer speech will happen in Singapore."

Um, you mean, a more liberal society? An actual society in which people can actually exercise true freedom of speech without fear of repercussions? A free media that's actually - gasp - fair and balanced? Maybe he should've specified these things that happen in freer societies that may (he actually said 'will' - the arrogance, oh my) happen in Singapore, because what happens in countries with freer speech seems pretty damn attractive to me.

I should stop responding to these...comments on my blog. It's a waste of time and it's quite late and I haven't even finished 10% of my free speech materials. Ugh. Stupid Public Law. I hate you.


4.35 a.m.:

I am so tired of the overused racial/religious harmony argument that's plugged every time the government needs to justify an un-liberal decision.

Sian lah. Seriously. We had a grand total of ONE racial riot and it was sparked by a judicial decision that WASN'T made by a Singaporean judiciary. Seriously. It's making Singapore's multi-religiousness a burden rather than something to celebrate.