|Go on, make my day!|
"President is not a separate political centre" was the warning shot across the bow. Jayakumar said he was surprised and disappointed over some of the statements and claims made by would be candidates and what they intend to do if they were selected for the plum job at the Istana. If these guys even imagined the post was "distinct from the government" and carries "certain executive powers", he was quick to clear their freaking minds. Jayakumar's reality check about the discretionary custodial powers of the office was a rude reminder of the limitations that frustrated Ong Teng Cheong to no end:
- The protection of reserves (don't bother about asking what it is)
- Key public sector appointments (just sign on the dotted line)
- Internal Security Act detentions (weapon of choice)
- Investigations by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (careful here, PM can refuse the go ahead for Head of CPIB to investigate top politicians)
- Restraining order under Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act ("christians are less likely to riot", remember?)
But why is the man who has stepped down from office reading the riot act? Does he, like Wong Kan Seng and Mah Bow Tan, still have the Gurkhas providing 24/7 security for their private homes at taxpayers' expense? One reader highlighted that the PMO's directory shows that both Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong still have Principal Private Secretaries and Press Secretaries at their beck and call! When does a former PAP minister actually stand down?