Bye bye, by-election Part 2

In News Reports, Politics on May 13, 2012 at 11:23 pm

So the Hougang lady has decided to withdraw her withdrawal – and we might yet get to hear the courts pronounce on whether the Prime Minister has “unfettered” discretion on whether to hold the by-election. Yeah! The Attorney-General’s Chambers fairly bristled with indignation – commenting on the “ill-conceived” application; and disdain – at the idea that it had threatened her with legal costs.

Which brings to mind the Sunday Times column by K C Vijayan, on the role of the Attorney-General. He brings up a good point – is the AG a G-man or a man for the people? Comments like the above only make the public believe that the AG reports to the G. Sure, the AG is the G’s lawyer, advising on legal issues and civil matters. And we’ve got no problems with the AG being involved in big matters like bilateral water agreements and which part of the sea belongs to Singapore. But it’s hard to think of all those DPPs as serving the public interest, as they do on criminal matters, when they act for G in cases against citizens.

Looks like other jurisdictions have a head-start on us and we might well want to see how the dual roles can be separated. In any case, it was interesting that the writer noted the short tenure of the three previous AGs. It’s not clear what the point being made was: that the three previous AGs found the load too onerous? Or that they had difficulty separating the two roles?

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