Law Minister K Shanmugam brought prata-flipping to a new level in Parliament yesterday (Oct 3) saying that appointed President Wee Kim Wee is elected because he took the Attorney General Chambers’s (AGC) advice. However, he contradicted himself in the same speech saying that the AGC’s advice is irrelevant, and closed the matter without further questions.
“Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the next election will be reserved for a Malay president and we have taken advice from the AGC. What Ms Lim is saying is that we are starting to count from here because of the AGC’s advice. I think that was never suggested… In any case, the legal advice given by the Attorney-General is irrelevant as the question before the court was whether the decision to count from President Wee’s term was constitutional… PM took the same position, he explained in Parliament. We decide but we took AGC’s advice. Did anyone say we are going to decide this way because this is the way that AGC has told us that we have to decide? That would make no sense because Parliament is sovereign.”
The corrupted Law Minister also took a snake bite at Opposition MP Sylvia Lim who criticised that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong misled Parliament:
“There is only one person in this House whom the courts have held to be misleading Parliament. And he is not from the PAP.”
Opposition MP Sylvia Lim has earlier given two quotes in parliament saying the ruling party has misled the people.
On 8 Nov 2017, PM Lee Hsien Loong told Parliament: “We have taken the Attorney-General’s advice. We will start counting from the first president who exercised the powers of the elected president, in other words, Dr Wee Kim Wee.”
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean also confirmed a day later saying:
“On the reserved elections and how to count, I would like to confirm that this is indeed the AGC’s advice and, if not and you do not think that it’s correct, I think it’s possible if you wish to challenge judicially.”
“The Government had engaged in ambiguous language and red herrings. We in this House should have been told in no uncertain terms that it was the Government that wanted to count from Dr Wee Kim Wee. The Government should have defended its own decision on why counting from President Wee was appropriate. It should not have evaded the debate by using the AGC’s advice as a distraction, and then gone to court to say that the AGC’s advice was irrelevant.”