Personal capacity, no?

The chairman of the Association of Muslim Professionals said about Nizam Ismail, its former director, that “it was difficult for Mr Nizam to separate what he did in his personal capacity from what he did as an AMP director.”

He was referring to Mr Nizam’s participation as a speaker in the population White Paper protest in February at Speakers’ Corner, and also for speaking at a Workers’ Party forum several weeks ago.

Can anyone who holds a position such as Mr Nizam’s also be able to speak in his personal capacity? Apparently, he can, in fact – going by the disclaimers which PAP ministers and MPs themselves use when they indeed speak in their personal capacities at public events.

So, the obvious question is: where is the distinction between personal and not-personal? PAP ministers and MPs, from time to time, have claimed to be speaking only in their personal capacities – “my personal view” – even when they speak about national issues or issues which would affect a large portion of Singaporeans.

Here are three examples:

Khaw Boon Wan, 2006 (on nursing homes for elderly):

“My personal view is, our land is expensive. But we have nearby neighbours in Johore, Batam and Bintan. The elderly want to reach their doctors within half to one hour…”

K Shanmugam, 2002 (on race relations):

“I would add that these are only my personal views, and others may well disagree….”

Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, 2012:

“Comrades, my personal belief is that the middle class plays a crucial role in driving the heart of our nation’s social, economic and political processes.”

So, PAP members can speak in their personal capacities while others cannot?

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4 thoughts on “Personal capacity, no?

  1. If it’s difficult, then ape wonders why is it that PAP MPs are holding Grassroots Advisors appointment and several other appointments? Maybe they are a special bred? Specially selected group of people who can wear different masks in different occasion, like the wayang artistes?

  2. We have a duty to do n let do it Kudos to all those daring took the white paper issue up again n i do wish the goverment open thier eyes Time have come we take a bold step to speak up on National Conversation to feel how thw general public feels.

  3. You forgot the father of them all, LKY, who comments in his personal capacity, especially if the views are (viewed by people) racist.

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