ELSON: The government wants to change the Constitution to make it acceptable for the president and ministers to hold appointments in foreign organisations, serving in their “personal capacity”, if “required by national interest”.
This change seems to be a way to legitimise President Tharman’s appointments in the World Economic Forum and G30.
The issue of the President Tharman holding foreign appointments and the potential for conflict of interest was already raised before the Presidential Election.
That’s why this sudden urge to change the Constitution just seems like a way to pave over any talk about potential conflicts of interest.
Not just for the president, but now for all ministers too if they were to hold such foreign appointments.
The whole conflict of interest thing was just raised recently with MP Tin Pei Ling’s appointment by Grab.
Singaporeans cow beh-ed so much that Grab reassigned her, and she later left the company just months into her stint.
The government just doesn’t listen – or maybe it doesn’t want to.
But if the president and ministers can moonlight, why is it people like civil servants and full-time national servicemen tak boleh?
Even NSmen trying to make some cash to support their families have been punished for taking on side jobs.
For civil servants, the Public Service Division claims this is to prevent conflict of interest and corruption.
For NSFs, no moonlighting is dictated by the General Orders of MINDEF.
But, isn’t it natural to just follow leaders in Singapore?
Apparently, leaders are allowed to take on these extra positions and earn from multiple sources of income, while people below are told “we can, you cannot”.
Sound like do as I say, not as I do.