Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his speech during the National Day Rally on Sunday (21 August) spoke on the importance of having a President to unite the people and that the recent survey commission by Channel News Asia and Insitute of Policy Studies showed that minorities would like to have a President of their own race.
He went on to call for the Chinese community in Singapore to support the move to ensure minorities are represented through the a President of a minority race.
Mainstream Media such as the Straits Times, Channel News Asia, and Today Online reiterated his speech on their platforms.
However, without any prompt from social commentaries on the matter, many voiced their disagreement in their comments on the posts especially on what this meant to the Presidential Candidacy of Dr Tan Cheng Bock.
Dr Tan announced his intention to stand for the President earlier this year on 11 March.
Here are some of what the netizens wrote :
- Link Sng said, "To be honest, i`m ok with Indian/aMlay/Eurasian president. I`m really not sure what the PM is talking about. I sense that for the next presidential election, the criteria is the candidate must be a minority, thus ensuring that Tan Cheng Bock wont be able to participate."
- "Called for the Chinese Community to "Ensure" minority President? Sounds so wrong leh.. Since when does the race matters?We always vote for the President that we support for integrity and qualification.
I will still vote for Dr Tan Cheng Bock who I have been supporting since years ago," wrote Yue Ling.
- "I think he meant not easy for a oppo non-chinese (or watever race) to be an mp," wrote Simon Soh.
- Phillip Lo wrote, "Since when did we change from meritocracy to racial bias? seems like some made up problem to distract us from what?"
- "Just done my statistics on past PresidentsMalay 10.57% ( Mr. Yusof Ishak)
Indian 30.83% ( Mr. Devan Nair, Mr. S. R. Nathan)
Chinese 37.90% (Mr. Wee Kim Wee, Mr. Ong Teng Cheong, Mr. Tony Tan)
Eurasian 20.70% (Mr. Benjamin Sheares)Thus I dont see how the current system is being unfair to minority group," wrote Rayvest Toh
- Jasohn Soh said, "Why does pm have so little faith in Singaporeans. Why are we moving backwards from a system of meritocracy back to playing the race card. I believe that the recent Bukit Batok elections have proven that Singaporeans are able to vote based on merit and ability rather then race. I think he underestimates us as a nation."
- Phua Koon Kee wrote, "Yusof Ishak, Benjamin Sheares, Devan Nair, Wee Kim Wee, Ong Teng Cheong, S.R.Nathan, Tony Tan. Four out seven Presidents are non Chinese. Why politicize the elected presidency? It smells of the government's desperation, or fear for Tan Cheng Bock to unseat Tony Tan.
- "As long as the future president have the citizens interests at heart and not only your own and that of your paymaster,then it is immaterial or best said ,pointless to have a presidential candidate or even a president from a certain minority group.enough of this racial politics or quota nonsense," said Mohammad Saqib.
- "Omg!! Why is it not easy?? Just because majority of population are Chinese & its hard for non Chinese MP to deal during meet up session ? There's this thing called 'translator'!! Its just a lame excuse! Tharman will make the next better PM anytime," said Linda De Silva.
- Zheng Quang said,"Smokescreen to distract the commoners from the real issues at hand."
- "He hinting we should not vote for mr Tan Cheng Bock lah," wrote Cecil Tan.
- Michael Ng wrote, "This is not good at all. Singapore will slowly doom if policy of races prevail. Meritrocacy is the only way moving forward."
- "Why play the race card? I thought our sg system is based on meritocracy? Meritocracy has no colours," said WQ Ruth Chan.
- "Priming fence sitters to not vote for tan cheng bok," said Bay Hansen.
- " For the same reasons can we rotate the Prime Minister? At least for the president role, we had many different races represented before, but never for PM.. why?" asked Minsoon Lim.