Tag Archive | "president"

If Gurmit Singh can represent Chinese man, Chinese man can represent minorities as president

If Gurmit Singh can represent Chinese man, Chinese man can represent minorities as president

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Singaporeans even forget Gurmit Singh is a minority.

phua-chu-kang-non-chinese-president

Singaporeans from all walks of life, who believe race-blindness can be a thing, have cited Gurmit Singh’s role as Phua Chu Kang as the pivotal moment in Singapore’s history where race-blindness has set in.

One Singaporean, Ba Yee Xing, said: “If you don’t remind Singaporeans, Singaporeans also forget Gurmit Singh is a minority to begin with.”

“That is why I believe Singaporeans can look past the race and focus on what the job requires.”

Other locals said an ability to not see someone’s racial identity is what allows Gurmit Singh and Singapore’s next president to function as the job requires.

Another local, Zuo Zhong Tong said: “In the same way, if the next president of Singapore is a Chinese man, so be it.”

“As long as he can represent the interests of the minorities and exercise the sovereign powers of the presidency as bestowed upon him, he would be doing a good job.”

“If anyone says that is not possible because of race, then it will be akin to saying Gurmit Singh cannot act as Phua Chu Kang because he is not a Chinese.”

“Because that would just be racist.”

 

 

 

 

 

 





Hold Presidential election every month to really give all races a fair chance in S’pore

Hold Presidential election every month to really give all races a fair chance in S’pore

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Having 12 presidents a year will ensure a healthy rotation of races.

presidential-election-every-month

Singaporeans from all walks of life, who believe in fair and square, have come out to urge the government to hold one Presidential Election per month for the next six years.

This after there has been talk about setting aside the Elected Presidency for a Malay candidate to make it fair to all races in Singapore.

One Singaporean, Jin Gong Ping, said: “If you have only one president from one race every six years, all the different races will need to wait a long time for their time to come.”

“If you have 12 presidents a year, you can ensure all four major race categories get represented at least three times a year.”

“Win-win for all.”

However, other locals felt having so many presidents in a year will cause logistical issues in the Istana as they move in and out every month.

Another local, Mei Wen Tee, said she has a solution: “Instead of electing one new president a month, Singaporeans can elect 12 presidents at the start of the year.”

“Then all 12 will stay in the Istana and they get voted off one at a time, a la Big Brother.”

“Some more when spin off a show, Singaporeans can get a closer glimpse of what it is like to be head of state.”

“Very familial.”

 

 

 

 

 

 





S’poreans react to Yaacob Ibrahim’s insistence there’s desire for Malay president

S’poreans react to Yaacob Ibrahim’s insistence there’s desire for Malay president

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Three thoughts you must have had.

desire-to-see-tharman

Minister in charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim said the desire to see a Malay president in Singapore cuts across the Malay community.

Many from the community would, in private in closed-door discussions, be in favour.

This is so even though younger Malays have grown up with meritocracy as the basis of how society is organised and appear reluctant to see a “circuit breaker” in the Elected Presidency (EP) to ensure minority representation, he said.

Here are three thoughts Singaporeans have:

 

sian-half-auntie “The desire to see an Indian prime minister cuts across Singapore.”
Zuo Zhong Li, 44-year-old ballot box manufacturer

 

sian-half-uncle “The desire to see a bald Indian prime minister cuts across Singapore, to be more precise.”
Bee Jiao Zun, 66-year-old dartboard maker

 

happy-bird-girl “Singaporeans would love to see Tharman Shanmugaratnam become prime minister next.”
Jian Zhen De, 17-year-old student

 

 

 

 

 

 





If Gurmit Singh can represent Chinese man, Chinese man can be president to represent minorities

If Gurmit Singh can represent Chinese man, Chinese man can be president to represent minorities

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Singaporeans even forget Gurmit Singh is a minority.

phua-chu-kang-non-chinese-president

Singaporeans from all walks of life, who believe race-blindness can be a thing, have cited Gurmit Singh’s role as Phua Chu Kang as the pivotal moment in Singapore’s history where race-blindness has set in.

One Singaporean, Ba Yee Xing, said: “If you don’t remind Singaporeans, Singaporeans also forget Gurmit Singh is a minority to begin with.”

“That is why I believe Singaporeans can look past the race and focus on what the job requires.”

Other locals said an ability to not see someone’s racial identity is what allows Gurmit Singh and Singapore’s next president to function as the job requires.

Another local, Zuo Zhong Tong said: “In the same way, if the next president of Singapore is a Chinese man, so be it.”

“As long as he can represent the interests of the minorities and exercise the sovereign powers of the presidency as bestowed upon him, he would be doing a good job.”

“If anyone says that is not possible because of race, then it will be akin to saying Gurmit Singh cannot act as Phua Chu Kang because he is not a Chinese.”

“Because that would just be racist.”

 

 

 

 

 

 





The presidency is symbolic

The presidency is symbolic

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SR Nathan insists in his memoirs that the president should “stand apart from the executive”.

In his just published memoirs, SR Nathan stressed that the president is not a “mere courtier”.

(Editor’s note: A “courtier”, according to Google definition, means “a person who fawns and flatters in order to gain favour or advantage”.)

For example, Nathan noted in his book that one of his duties was to give a speech at the opening of Parliament. The speech is delivered on behalf of the Government and it is not written by the President.

Nathan said: “At the reception that takes place after the delivery of the speech I sometimes found it necessary, in response to congratulations, to stress that I did not write the speech myself.”

So if there was anything in the speech that sings praises of the government, it is the government that is blowing its own trumpet.

So how shall the public view the role of the president?

Instead, the role of the president is a “symbolic” one as the Head of State and not the head of Government, Nathan insists.

This is a stance the people within the establishment have been banging on ever since the contest for the presidency kicked off more than a month ago.

Nathan also stressed that the president’s role is to “stand apart from the executive and be above political parties”.

“He must be free to think in terms of the nation as a whole and have the right to exercise his discretion; but he must not trespass on the prerogative of the executive arm of government,” Nathan wrote.

This article is a 60-second reduction of the original published in Today on Sept. 20

Oh, so is Nathan right?

Nope, to find out why Nathan is dead wrong, click here for a 60-second reduction of a scathing rebuttal to another piece that harps on the same issue published in The Straits Times, our favourite broadsheet, on Sept. 10.

The nature of the president’s role is political

The nature of the president’s role is political

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This article is a 60-second reduction of the original published in The Straits Times on Sept. 10. This is a rebuttal to Janadas Devan and Ho Kwon Ping’s piece published on Sept. 3.

The presidency was converted into an elected one in 1991, and granted specific powers in several important areas of government.

Passive these powers may be, they are, nonetheless, political.

Political because the exercise of these powers involves trade-offs and judgements that must ultimately be based on subjective values and ideologies.

Even the decision to draw down the reserves during periods of financial difficulties amount to exercising political judgement on the part of the elected president.

Whether he should agree to a draw down of the reserves are questions that are not factually constucted. These questions don’t have clear-cut answers.

The president must exercise subjective judgement which will reflect his political thinking, will and courage.

Even the solution, when disagreements arises between parliament and the elected president, is by nature, political.

The government of the day may take the issue to parliament and the elected president can be overruled with a two-thirds majority.

Therefore, the view that the president is above politics might stem from the confusion over narrow party politics and politics, in a broad sense of the term.

You should know that the elected president, of course, cannot belong to any political party.

But the elected president is required to exercise political judgement even when he is not from a particular political party.

What if the elected president has to decide whether detention without trial under the Internal Security Act is justified?

In 1989, the the Act and the Constitution were amended to rule out judicial intervention over such detention, making it clear that the power to detain anyone under the ISA rested solely with the executive, acting on its subjective judgement.

And now the elected president has a say on such executive matters. How can this powers bestowed be apolitical?

This elected presidency role can and ought to be nurtured as a counterweight to the government.

If an apolitical and unifying president is all that is needed, the pre-1991 procedure had been effective in producing such presidents.

Moreover, suggestions to render the presidential electoral process “less political” totally misses the point.

Indirect election via sectoral electoral colleges with potentially conflicting interests will paralyse the Elected Presidency politically and rob it of the legitimacy it needs to discharge its political duties effectively.

Once political powers are bestowed upon the Elected President, he is politicised.

The process by which he is elected must, therefore, be political.

His political and ideological views on specific areas of government over which the Elected President has oversight must be sought, scrutinised and debated.

Political questions should have been asked of all aspirants to the presidency.

What was probably lacking in this 2011 Presidential Election was the tough questioning of each presidential candidate.

To say that voters should be replaced with an electoral college to get rid of overly political election affair would miss the point altogether again.

And one would be underestimating the sophistication of the Singaporean voter at his own peril.

The writer is Cheng Shoong Tat, a former journalist.

SR Nathan’s memoirs will not include “Official Secrets”

SR Nathan’s memoirs will not include “Official Secrets”

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Looking forward to coffee shop half-boiled eggs and sarong after retirement though, says outgoing president SR Nathan.

Caricature of SR Nathan taken from http://stevecaricature.wordpress.com/ (Very talented artist! Check his works out!)

In his 12-year tenure as president, the most difficult decision SR Nathan had to make was in 2009.

He had to decide whether to approve the Government’s request to dip into past reserves to fund programmes to help Singaporeans through the financial crisis.

The 87-year-old said: “Of course there was the Council of Presidential Advisers who gave you advice. But even to evaluate that advice, you need to develop your own sense of the lie of the land, and what is happening and what it can lead to.

“It’s not just on a sheet of paper coming in (and) saying yes or no”.

Although his custodial role managing the reserves made his life dicey at times, Nathan’s life in the civil service before becoming president also had its exciting moments.

He and 12 civil servants and SAF commandos were awarded the Meritorious Service medal for their role in the Laju highjacking in 1974.

Nathan was then the director of the Defence Ministry’s Security and Intelligence Department.

Four terrorists had hijacked the Laju, a ferry operating between Pulau Bukom and mainland Singapore after trying to blow up Bukom, and demanded the presence of the 13 civil servants as guarantee of a safe passage to Kuwait on a Japan airlines plane.

This risky episode will be related in his memoirs to be released in September, which was written over 15 years starting in 1996 when he ended his stint as an ambassador to the US.

He had initially intended to publish it post-humously because he claims civil servants are not interesting.

He said, “You know, civil servants have nothing exciting to tell. What can you tell?”

Moreover, those looking for insider or classified information into the presidency can forget it.

He said, “You can’t tell the Official Secrets anyway, the exciting things, so what was the point? I was only telling my experience.”

Nathan also revealed he hasn’t been to a coffee shop in 12 years to eat half-boiled eggs.

While in the Istana, he spent a lot of time entertaining foreign dignitaries, thinking about topics of conversation to engage them in because he doesn’t rely on the guidance given by the foreign ministry and offered his patronage to many voluntary causes.

He admits not enjoying the fusion food served in the Istana, has a sweet tooth and likes spending time in his sarong.

Neither does he debate with Lee Kuan Yew. Or his own wife, Mrs SR Nathan a.k.a. Umi.

This is a 60-second reduction of the original two-part interview published in The New Paper on Aug. 29 and 30 that was plugging Nathan’s memoirs.

2011 presidential elections: If you had to pick one…

2011 presidential elections: If you had to pick one…

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One Tan in a bowl of four – can’t have them all, can’t have none.

By Fang Shihan

You don’t have to cast your vote at complete random, nor do you have to waste precious time and resources trawling through the Straits Times or Temasek Review to decide on who to hate the least.

Here’s a 5 min condensation of who’s who, who’s done what and who’s offended which section of the country.

You can thank us later. :)

 Tony Tan (full CV: click here)

Courtesy: Insing.com

In short: The candidate with the most illustrious career, the longtime patron of brylcreem had previously served as 1) Deputy prime minister, 2) Chairman and CEO of Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), 3) Chairman of state-controlled Singapore Press Holdings, 4) Executive director of Government Investment Corporation, which invests your CPF money. He’s currently on leave of absence from his role as Chairman of National Research Foundation, a department under the Prime Minister’s Office which funds research and development efforts and increasingly, startups.

Fans say: He’s had the most bling career of the lot and having worked inside and out of the government all his life, he’s more than capable to being head-of-state.

Haters say: He’s a PAP goondu without an opinion of his own. His son also enjoyed a 12-year disruption from National Service which incited loud boo-ing from a vocal group during his nomination day speech.

 Tan Kin Lian (full CV: click here)

Courtesy: ChannelNewsAsia

In short: The former NTUC Income chief shot to fame in 2008 when he led a protest against the government’s handling of Lehman-linked failed investments during the financial crisis. He now provides consultancy services to new and existing insurance companies operating outside Singapore. He promises to be an influential president and promises (among many other promises) more compensation for men who have served in the army.

Fans say: He knows the government well enough and can provide constructive criticism, particular with regards to financial steering.

Haters say: His premature presidential campaign in 2008 failed massively when he asked for 100,000 signatures but managed about 3,000. The president technically can’t do much, so he may not be able to deliver on all those wonderful things promised.

 Tan Jee Say (full CV: click here)

Courtesy: xinmsn

In short: Also another formerly PAP-affiliated man, the investment advisor graduated from Oxford and served as Principal Private Secretary to then Deputy Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong. His political career began early this year when he contested in the General Elections under the Singapore Democratic Party in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, losing to the ruling party with slightly less than 40% of the votes. He’s since resigned from the party. He promises to take a humble $500,000/yr salary ($41,666/mth) if elected.

Fans say: He’s got an economic plan for Singapore, plus he’s endorsed by Nicole Seah.

Haters say: He’s an SDP quack and quit the Goh Chok Tong administration because he wasn’t competent enough and couldn’t get promoted.

Tan Cheng Bock (full CV: click here)

Courtesy: ChannelNewsAsia

In short: The former kampung doctor who now owns a clinic in Jurong also served as the non-executive chairman of Chuan Hup holdings, a marine logistics company and was appointed Chairman of the government Feedback Unit in 1984. Like other PAP MPs, he’s held a range of non-major positions in various government and government-linked sectors but has surreptitiously avoided slamming by then anti-establishment fringe.

Fans say: He epitomizes the good doctor and is of sound moral standing.

Haters say: He has limited financial knowledge and is the least capable of the four to be President.

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The editors chime in…

Shihan’s pick: Tan Cheng Bock. Because he’s the most harmless of the lot. I’m not a very big fan but least he can’t screw up the country.

Terence’s pick: Tan Cheng Bock. Because he can unite the PAP and the opposition. And Tan Kin Lian’s just weird.

Belmont’s pick: Tan Jee Say. Because we’re popping bottles in the ice, like a blizzard. And when we drink we do it right getting slizzard, right? And then we’ll be feeling so fly like a Jee Say. Like a Jee Say, like a Jee say…

Bye bye, Tan Kin Lian?

Bye bye, Tan Kin Lian?

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Why Singapore presidential hopeful Tan Kin Lian isn’t an automatic shoo-in.

By Belmont Lay

NTUC not company meh?

TAN Kin Lian might, after all, not be eligible to be president of Singapore based on a technicality.

Here’s why: Tan was the CEO of NTUC Income, a “co-operative insurance society” registered under the Co-operative Societies Act, which although strives for “commercial leadership” in its “business“, is actually structured differently from a company registered under the Companies Act.

So, in English, this means that Tan was NOT AND NEVER WAS the CEO of a company incorporated or registered under the Companies Act.

And if you check out the Singapore Elections Department list of Qualifications for Candidates seeking to become president, it is stated in no uncertain terms that one of the essential criteria for presidential aspirants is that they must have served as CEO (or as chairman of the board of directors) of a company incorporated or registered under the Companies Act.

Still not convinced? Here’s more.

When you google “Tan Kin Lian”, you will most likely find displayed among the top three results, his Wikipedia entry.

In his entry, it is stated that Tan is the “former CEO of NTUC Income”.

Next, follow the NTUC Income link at the footnote and you’ll arrive at its official website and click on its About Us page where it is stated in black and white that “NTUC Income, a co-operative insurance society formed in 1970″, was initiated by Goh Keng Swee (bless his soul).

So are we really splitting hairs when we try to make heads or tails of a co-operative and a company?

Sure as hell!

Therefore, to dig further, simply google “co-operative vs company singapore” because you want to find out what’s the difference between them and you will most likely find your query answered by the Singapore National Co-operative Federation’s FAQ page, which should be displayed as one of the top three results.

In it, transmitted through the ones-and-noughts of the supreme Internet, are three ways a co-operative is different from a company.

Primo: Voting in a co-operative is determined by one-member-one-vote policy but voting in a company is determined by type and number of shares held. (Think Singapore Press Holdings where there exists ordinary shares for mortals and not-so-ordinary-200-times-voting-power management shares if you’re part of the potentate.)

Secundo: A co-operative is an association of members while a company is an association of capital (an association I actually find damn sexy).

Tertio: The objective of a co-operative is to serve members’ needs while a company is to maximise profits for its shareholders. (Think SPH again!)

And to bludgeon the nail and seal the lid on the coffin, do spend four seconds to read the PDF document stating the by-laws of NTUC Income.

It states in page one that NTUC Income is registered under the Co-operative Societies Act.

So here’s the point of today’s missive: I stated before that Tan Cheng Bock must be bonkers if he honestly (or rather naively) thinks that his take on the 1987 so-called Marxist conspiracy can be buried and hidden from public scrutiny.

Sure, Tan Kin Lian might have been CEO for 30 years with a business that manages capital of $20 billion and beyond, but I just hope he will not join the club for the bonkers if he thinks that the Presidential Elections Committee will lay the red carpet out for him.

Because I hate false hope. Likewise for the multitudes out there who are counting on him.

Editor’s note:

This article was edited on July 5, at 5.25pm after it was first published for the following reason:

While Tan Kin Lian isn’t the CEO of a company, he may still qualify on the basis that he is “in any other similar or comparable position of seniority and responsibility in any other organization or department of equivalent size or complexity in the public or private sector which, in the opinion of the Presidential Elections Committee, has given him such experience and ability in administering and managing financial affairs as to enable him to carry out effectively the functions and duties of the office of President.”

We thank Wong Chun Han for pointing this out.

What this means is that whether Tan Kin Lian contests is still the decision of the Presidential Elections Committee. It’s no longer obvious that he will stand for elections.