In remembrance of a Singapore Patriot – Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam (1926 – 2008)

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JBJ’s Parliamentary speech, 1997

Posted by jbjmemorial on October 5, 2008

“Mr Speaker, Sir, in 1954 when political parties that were then in existence went to London for the All-Party Conference to write a new Constitution for this country of ours, they were all unanimous in one thing, and that is, that our system of government should be a Parliamentary democracy. And what that means is that Parliament is supreme, that Government should be made accountable to the people through Parliament. And it is Parliament that should be asked to vote on all matters that concern the people at large.

In my first speech in this Parliament Mr Speaker, Sir, I spoke about this being the House of the people. That was not rhetoric, Mr Speaker, Sir. This is the House of the people. That was not rhetori, Mr Speaker, Sir. This is the House of the people. It is the House that the people will look to, as I said then, for the airing of their views, for their views to be heard and given adequate consideration. We pay lip service to the fact that SIngapore is a democracy. But it is forgotten that if we are a democracy, then it is the people who are the masters, and the House of the people (Parliament), as the agents of the people, should exercise the power of the people. They should, on behalf of the people, question all decisions of the Government, particularly decisions that affect and concern them very deeply.”

– Parliamentary all-party committee to monitor University fees and public utilities charges



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