Saturday, 30 September 2023

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Singaporean express disappointment over how PAP consistently selects its own members to run for president

Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam officially declared his intention to run for the presidency of Singapore on Thursday (8 Jun). This announcement followed President Halimah Yacob’s decision not to stand for re-election.

Mr Tharman will be resigning from the People’s Action Party (PAP) and be also stepping down as chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and deputy chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC).

In a press conference on Thursdays, Mr Tharman said that he believes the time is now right for him to serve as a “unifying figure”, dedicated to preserving the integrity of the Singaporean system and strengthening the country’s social compact.

“I feel the time is now right for me to serve in this role and keep the Singapore system strong, keep our social compact strong by being the unifying figure and ensuring that the integrity of the system is here to last,” he stated.

While many Singaporeans are supportive of his intention to run as president, many still believe Mr Tharman’s qualifications and experience make him overqualified for the role of President.

They see him as the leader who can effectively guide the country through the current period of uncertainty and challenges it is facing.

Disappointment toward PAP for consistently selecting their own members to run for president

Ishhaq Rajoo Jay, a life coach and fitness guru, took to social media platform TikTok to express his thoughts on Mr Tharman’s recent announcement to run in the upcoming Presidential Election.

In his commentary, Ishhaq expressed disappointment with the ruling party, PAP, for consistently selecting their own members, such as Tharman, to resign from their positions and run for president.

“Yes, we love Tharman and he should be the Prime Minister now… He would carry the country on his shoulders, and we would be so proud of that.”

However, Ishhaq found it nonsensical for Tharman to become president, as they are from the same political team.

He believes that the role of the president should serve as a counterbalance to the ruling party and questioned whether the upcoming presidential election would just be another “puppet show.”

Advice to Mr Tharman

“I would advise Mr Tharman, a great man, I hope you don’t become a president and then, become a puppet president because you would have undermined whatever achievements you have done in life honestly.”

He warned that people may remember Tharman as a “puppet president” rather than someone who had previously impressed the world with his intellect.

“Yes, in any other circumstances we would be proud for him to be president. I mean, Prime Minister be fantastic, but president? take on a role which is just a puppet show? ”

He questioned whether Mr Tharman would dare to countercheck the PAP and make promises to Singaporeans in that regard.

He further suggested that the PAP might be scared and desperate, feeling that they are losing ground and attempting to rectify the situation by putting Mr Tharman in the presidential race in order to silence dissenting voices.

Mr Ishhaq further reminded people not to divert attention from the major issues Singaporeans are currently facing, such as the high cost of living and the influx of foreign talent.

” This is completely a different show. A presidential election is different from our elections coming in for the selection of the ruling party. ”


#stitch with @CNA #fyp

♬ original sound – JAY – JAY

“Better than Lawrence Wong”

Agreeing with ishhaq’s comment, several TikTokers noted that Mr Tharman can be a PM that better than current Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, who is slated to succeed PM Lee Hsien Loong

Other comments also expressed their disappointment that another member from PAP was again run for the Presidential Election.

Some TikTokers are still hopeful that Mr Tharman can follow in the footsteps of the late Ong Teng Cheong and become a “people’s president” who brings about significant changes and scrutinizes both the ruling party and the opposition.

They hold Ong Teng Cheong as an example of a president who won the hearts of the people through his courage, conviction, and integrity in safeguarding Singapore’s reserves, even when it meant challenging his former colleagues in the government.

Despite high popularity, Mr Tharman rules himself out as next PM

However, a netizen pointed out that Mr. Tharman had previously declined the possibility of him to become the next PM.

A survey by market research consultancy Blackbox in 2016, noted that “Mr Tharman was the top choice among Singaporeans to succeed Mr Lee, with 69 per cent of almost 900 respondents indicating that they would support him to be the candidate for prime minister”.

However, then DPM Tharman had ruled out the possibility that he might be PM, saying Singapore has a distinctive political culture where each minister contributes to the team in a way that matches his strengths.

“Just to be absolutely clear, because I know of this talk that’s going around, I’m not the man for PM. I say that categorically. It’s not me. I know myself, I know what I can do, and it’s not me,” he said.

“I’m good at policymaking, I’m good at advising my younger colleagues, and at supporting the PM – not at being the PM. That’s not me.”

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