The Race in the Presidential Race

Parliament will be sitting today (10 Oct) . As usual, most people won’t be following it so we shall give you a quick run through on what will be discussed. If you haven’t been following the discussion, it’s just the changes to the Elected Presidency. Refer to this picture for a quick summary:

White Paper Infographic

Generally, I agree with most of the changes. However, I’m a bit uncomfortable about the “Representation of all Races” — a Presidential Election will be reserved for a racial group if it is not represented for 5 terms. I feel that it goes again the grain of meritocracy which we have been drumming about all these years. The PM has said that even if only candidates from a specific race can qualify, he or she has to meet the minimum eligibility criteria (i.e. senior public officer holders or the most senior executive of company with at least $500 million in shareholders’ equity). But, this is equivalent to saying that all graduates are of the same quality because they satisfy  a minimum grade to get into university.

So say the eligibility criteria is very stringent, then it brings about a new set of problem. The pool of qualifying candidates from a specific race may be small that there may only be perhaps, 3 candidates who are eligible? Can the election still be considered as democratic if I can only choose the winner from 3 candidates?

I think setting a race criteria is like playing with fire. Even if it’s positive discrimination, it just deepens the ravines among the races. But then, it was also emphasized that the reserved election will only kick in after 5 terms (i.e. 5 x 6 = 30 years) without having a President of that race. So this will be a rare occasion, right? Hmmm…

Oh well, we shall see what the opposition members say.