Saturday, August 20, 2011

Reasons for Growing Interest in the PE...

Many years ago when the 1st PE was held in 1993, there was hardly any interest in what president duties and powers were and what role he played. Most voters only knew that he was there to "safeguard" the reserves. Many knew one of the 2 candidates, Ong Teng Cheong, and few will remember the other candidate who garnered 40+% of the votes simply because people did not want someone linked to the PAP win the PE. It turned out that President Ong was more independent than expected and today many people respect him for the work he did.

Today, we see that interest in the PE has grown tremendously. The idea of "safeguarding the reserves" is no long an abstract notion after the huge losses of our sovereign wealth fund during the financial crisis and increased concerns among voters about how Temasek Holdings and GIC are managed. Singaporeans now wants an independent president who will carry on where President Ong left off to perform the checks and balance on the govt. While it has been explained in the pro-govt media that the constitution limits the powers of the president, the elected president will have the moral authority and support of the people to carry out an agenda that he has campaigned on.

There has been a political awakening of Singaporeans during the 2011 General Elections. Voters start to question not just PAP policies but whether the govt's interests are aligned with their own. Even the Straits Times wrote about a "lost of trust" in the PAP govt.  For this reason, voters look for candidates that are truly independent and will proactively seek to address the concerns of Singaporeans surrounding the management of our reserves. I see little point of voting for a PAP endorsed candidate who will do what the govt recommends and limits his own role  - people don't want another President Nathan at this point in time.

As I speak to ordinary Singaporeans, the issues that concern have gone beyond crowded buses, unaffordable housing and the foreign influx. The socio-political system we live in does not seem to be able to generate a good quality of life and desirable outcomes that people seek. The challenges are overbearing for many and inequality is built into the system. For Singaporean men, the system requires them to serve NS and reservist duties while education and employment opportunities are sometimes given to non-citizens. That is why the issue of how one of the candidate's son manage to defer his NS for 12 years became a sore point among Singaporeans - many talented individuals delay their tertiary education to serve NS and even scholars have to return regardless of 'great' opportunities in graduate studies in renowned universities. Singaporeans really want a president who stands for equality, justice and fairness in our society....they want a president who pursues these with conviction.

I see the interest in the PE as a healthy development in Singapore politics. The PAP often laments the lack of leadership talent in Singapore and difficulty in finding people willing to run for public office. Today, we have 4 Tans all highly qualified who have stepped forward for to run for the PE. The problem with Singapore politics has not been a lack of 'talent' but rather a lack of competition on a level playing field. With the Internet, socio media and rising awareness among Singaporeans, the challenge now for the PAP is not a lack of political talent but talent that emerges from a more centrist ideology on the political spectrum to compete with the PAP.  While the PAP ideology is not naturally appealing to the populace, it rides on goodwill and achievements of the past and authoritarian control over the state media and grassroots organisations. With its grip on power sliding, it needs to reposition itself to stay relevant and softening the edges of its policies is not sufficient to deliver a better quality of life to Singaporeans in the future. Until the PAP is able to do that, the electorate will continue to look for alternatives and we will see this desire express in the votes for the president.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr Tan,

You have not been writing as frequently as before. I miss your wisdom.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us.

Anonymous said...

One's mood and appetite tends to be better during the bull markets, this place is a barometer of the market it seems.

Anonymous said...

PAP thinks the EP is only supposed to say "NO" to certain things. He would be silent otherwise.

Now the candidates are stressing the right of the EP to speak up on issues just like any other citizen, and being the EP does not mean that the right to speak his mind has been given up. In fact he has even more right to do this, being popularly elected, using the right channels of course.

I foresee a change in the Constitution soon.

Anonymous said...

Growing interest in PE is good lah, but one thing still no bloody good!

Serious lack of unity in the "non PAP" or "non establishment" camp!

If not, how can allow 4 corner fight to happen?

Disunity and weaknesses of PAP opponents not just in PE but also in GE. If not, how come so many political parties during GE 2011?

So those who want to fight to win PAP, better wake up their bloody idea in future elections!

Or else they won't get a chance no matter how much the majority voters don't like PAP!

Save Singapore 2011 said...

There is growing unhappiness in Singapore with regard to the PAP policies. Younger Singaporeans are disillusioned and disenchanted when they can't even afford basic housing to set up a family.

The PAP party ideology has been misaligned over these past 10 years. Singaporeans have problems getting jobs and policies are putting Singaporeans last.

New citizens who are in the late 20s and early 30s do not need to serve National Service. They also do not need to serve reservists duties for more than 10 years or so.

Many young Singaporeans are resentful that the PAP government does not have moral leadership and operates more like a banker than a government. Compassion, commitment and competence are sorely lacking and we see that the economic plans are not thought through thoroughly. An example of bad planning for the future of our children's future is the 2 casinos. It takes the government 3-4 years to build the casinos but 4-5 years to set up a HDB flat.

Our government has lost its way.

We ought not to entrench them further with a Tony Tan.

We need a completely non-partisan president who knows the issues.

Not another PAPy. I'm sure many PAP MPs and grassroots as well as public and civil servants will not be voting for an endorsed PAP candidate. They know what is happening.

Many are awake this time and clear-eyed.

Anonymous said...

"Voters start to question not just PAP policies but whether the govt's interests are aligned with their own."

This pretty much hits the nail on the head.

What's the use of a competent world-class government when it's aims are not to make your life better but to make you work cheaper, better and faster?

The ruling elite believe that their lot in life is seperate from the rest of us. That they can prosper while we suffer.

Btw, it can't be helped.

Anonymous said...

You can still count on the 60.1%. Like a reflex action, they will just repeat what they did in GE 2011 3 months ago.

The trio TCB, TJS, TKL will most likely lose, with even one or 2 of them losing their deposits, if they get less than 12.5%!

Just do the maths.

40/3 =13.3%, assuming all 3 get equal votes and this is quite close to 12.5% !!! And if one got a bit more, high chance at least one of the other 2 will lose their deposit!

Anonymous said...

sin is just too successful. if sin is less successful than malaysia, probably only 500k people here. no overcrowding or expensive housing and transport issues. pap gov is capable of making sin successful but not capable of managing the success.

Anonymous said...

lucky you should be clear in guiding gullible singaporeans who to vote for... i'm afraid they might make another mistake. Start educating don't beat around the bush... i'm voting for Tan Kian Lim, don't let TT win as he is just another PAP's puppet. Others i don't feel i can trust...

Anonymous said...

Lucky - I agree with Anon 22:46. Many Singaporeans are not as clear minded as you. So you will be doing Singapore a favor by stating clearly who is the best candidate to become EP, like TKL. Btw, do you know TCB is a disguised PAP man?

Amused said...

Both TKL and TSJ are good choices as People's President. But we should only pick one if we don't want to split the votes between the two. Given the performance of TSJ in the recent debate and his courage to openly challenge PAP, he has won a lot of backing among online users. I suggest that you endorse TSJ given his recent momentum.

Anonymous said...

Agree with both 22:46 an 23:07

Lucky, you have to guide the readers here how to choose, who is the best and what are your reasons for voting him. Play a part in our politics and make a significant contribution here.

For me, it's either Tan Jee Say or Tan Kin Lian. I will vote the stronger candidate since both have already satisfied my requirements. From online polls, it seems Tan Jee Say is leading.

If you can convince me Tan Kin Lian is the stronger candidate, then perhaps I will change my mind and persuade others to support him.

Think this is a crucial period and voters have to vote strategically and not on personal preference so that the one with higher chance stands an even higher chance to win.

Anonymous said...

No wonder the wise old man called Singaporeans daft.
In GE2011, 60% of daft Singaporeans voted in a PAP govt despite widespread unhappiness with its policies. In this PE2011, 40% of daft Singaporeans will vote for populist candidates whose over promises could undermine the functions of the parliament.

溫妮娘 said...

Actually, there is a 5th TAN who should have run for candidacy but did not. His name is Lucky Tan!

Anonymous said...

Gay khiang PAP has created a monster/s in EP.

Stupid move if you will to ask a nobody like me lol

Ask Kishore. LOL

Anonymous said...

I am wondering that if the emolument to the Sin President is at $250Ks or less, will any of the Four Candidates be interested in the Post?

patriot

Anonymous said...

Addendum to my earlier post.
$250Ks Sin Dollars per year.

patriot

Anonymous said...

For free these big shots ppl also want. Why? Mai siao siao..highest office in the land leh. Somemore, name etched in history book and your familly tree will look bery bery big gun you know. But at 4M now, get paid half or a quarter of that sounds like great sacrifice. Please lah. Pian gheena got lah.

Anonymous said...

There is a reason now for not voting TT. The last time PAP gave us an angpow, so this time no angpow no TT.

Simple like ps.

Anonymous said...

I have been following Tan Kin Lian's blog for 3 years (since 2008).

I find him really cares for the welfare and well-being of ordinary people.

Over the years, he has expressed his concerns and has made suggestions on issues that affecting the ordinary people on:

1)the affordability of HDB flats
2)the need of unemployment insurance for the workers
3)the widening income gap between the elites and ordinary workers
4)the transportation woes of ordinary people
5)the high public medical fee
6)the need of minimum wage
7)the selling of high risk complex credit-link notes(with only moderate return) to ordinary people
8)the selling of high cost and low yield insurance products to ordinary people

When he was the CEO of NTUC Income, he introduced many low cost insurance policies with good return which benefited many ordinary Singaporeans.

He does not think that Public office’s holders should receive multimillion dollars salary and has indicated that, if elected, he would donate at least 50% of the Presidential salary to charity.

I believe that Mr. Tan will be the “Voice of the people” President, if elected.

I will vote for Tan Kin Lian as President of Singapore.

Anonymous said...

TKL has expressed that the Presidential salary is too high and will donate at least 50% of the salary to charity, if elected.

This will set a good example for other Ministers to follow.

If we all agree that President’s salary and Ministers’ pay are too high, then please vote for TKL.