By Chris Kuan

Here’s something fans and groupies of Tharman’s could do. And yes those anti-PAP, anti-establishment types, too. Run a petition to get Tharman to become the next PM. Organise speeches, demonstrations and love-in at Hong Lim Park. Send a clear and loud message that Tharman is the people’s choice, no matter what the present PM and the anointed candidates may say.

Of course, the People’s Action Party will ignore all this as someone departed had said ” we do what is right, never mind what the people said”. Waste of time and effort or is there a method in this bit of madness? There is. Deny popular legitimacy to the Anointed One, whoever he will be who is anointed by a close-loop opaque process shorn of party democracy let alone popular democracy. Worst than how the Chinese Communist Party anoints its own leaders.

That will land a blow however large or small for the notion of political legitimacy founded in popular legitimacy and that people’s opinion counts.

What if, lo and behold, Tharman becomes PM? We will find out what Tharman is really made of as I had previously written, Will he lead us to a kinder and gentler Singapore or is his “leaning to the left” nothing more than hot air from a man seasoned in the dark arts of the political obfuscation.

If the latter, nothing has changed. If the former, a “leaning to the left” kinder and gentler Singapore means easing the foot on the growth-at-all-costs accelerator and more social spending, even fixed entitlements. That will be extremely welcome indeed. I would be somewhat satisfied, though not fully but lots of people would be. Therein lies the really bad news for the anti-PAP type.

As a friend wrote “…. the light from his (Tharman’s) ass is the light from an incoming train, not the end of PAP hegemony”. I would go further to say that competitive democracy will be out of reach in this scenario and opposition parties will be left fighting for scraps, the 10-15% who die die must vote against the PAP.

Beacon of light, maybe but Tharman, if he does his “leaning to the left” to a meaningful degree is the prince of darkness for the hardcore anti-PAP, maybe even the civil rigths activists. As for the present PM, he should have thought of this… maybe he is too blinkered to the Chinese PM thingy.


According to a survey conducted by market research consultancy Blackbox, 69 per cent of all 897 respondents said they would support Deputy Prime Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam as a candidate to be prime minister. However, Tharman has reiterated that he is not the man for the role of Prime Minister, he said, “Just to be absolutely clear, I am not the man for PM. It’s not me.”

Furthermore, PM Lee Hsien Loong said during his visit to Japan on 29 September that the position of the PM will be decided among the younger members of the Cabinet. He said, “They have to decide, because they have to support him, and help to make the system, make the team work,”

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