Sunday, 24 September 2023

We are shifting our daily news to Gutzy.Asia Support us there!

Tharman expresses desire for contest in upcoming presidential election

SINGAPORE – Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who recently declared his intention to run in the upcoming presidential election and step down from his present roles, has fervently expressed his desire for a contest.

As Mr Tharman emphasizes his future independence from the People’s Action Party (PAP) if elected as president, scrutiny arises regarding the potential conflict of interest given his numerous appointments in the Government.

Speaking at the ActiveSG Sport Village @ Jurong Town opening on Sunday (11 Jun), Mr Tharman compared his current role in the Government to a defender on a football team.

He asserted that his position would change significantly if elected as president, likening it to a referee’s role in a football match.

“All I meant is that my cast of mind all along has been that … (I like) being in defence. But I (will) not (be) on the same team as the Government. If anything, I’ll be a referee.”

“On football, I’m not on the same team as the Government once I’m president, be very clear about that,” he said.

Speaking to local media, Mr Tharman downplayed concerns that his popularity may deter other potential candidates.

“We have to see who comes up. But I certainly much prefer a contest,” he said, adding that he embraces competition as an opportunity to prove himself.

“Having a contest is important for me. I much rather win or lose with the contest.”

Despite expressing hope for a contest, Mr Tharman declined to comment on potential candidates, including Mr George Goh, the founder of Harvey Norman Ossia. Goh, an entrepreneur and non-resident ambassador to Morocco, has not outrightly stated his intention to run for president but has recently launched a website and social media outlets, indicative of potential interest.

Mr Tharman’s candidacy announcement has sparked scrutiny from critics, including Kenneth Jeyaretnam, Secretary General of the Reform Party. Jeyaretnam voiced concerns over the potential conflict of interest, given Tharman’s extensive roles in the Government, particularly as Finance Minister, Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and Deputy Chairman of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC.

“Ownself Check Ownself” wrote Mr Jeyaretnam in a recent blog post, criticizing the prospect of Tharman auditing the management of the state’s reserves, a responsibility he previously held as a key figure in the Government.

Mr Jeyaretnam also raised questions about the potential erosion of checks and balances in the democratic process, further expressing opposition to Tharman’s candidacy.

When asked about his future responsibilities in Jurong, Mr Tharman reassured constituents that fellow MPs, including Rahayu Mahzam, Tan Wu Meng, Xie Yao Quan, and Shawn Huang, would take over his duties.

Despite expressing sadness over his decision to step down, he remained confident in the team left behind to manage the constituency.

Mr Tharman, 66, is the first candidate to formally declare his intention to participate in the upcoming presidential election, due by 13 September when Madam Halimah Yacob’s six-years term comes to an end.

Walkover election in 2017

The first reserved presidential election in Singapore’s history has produced the country’s first Malay head of state in 47 years, after Mdm Halimah was declared the president-elect on Wednesday.

The 63-year-old former speaker of parliament was successful in submitting all her documents on Nomination Day.

As she was the only one to do so by the noon deadline, the returning officer Ng Wai Choong confirmed her as the sole eligible candidate and declared her the winner via a walkover.

Two other Malay contestants who filed their applications of eligibility were rejected as they did not meet the criteria for a private sector candidate.

To fulfil the private sector service requirement, one must have been the chief executive of a company for at least three years, with the company having an average of at least S$500 million in shareholders’ equity and a profit after tax throughout that period.

If one has served in a private sector office for at least three years, the requirement can still be met if the PEC is satisfied with the nature and size of the organization, one’s performance, and other relevant factors.

To qualify for the public sector service requirement in the upcoming Singapore presidential election, an individual must have held office as a Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker, Attorney-General, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Auditor-General, Accountant-General or Permanent Secretary for a minimum of three years.

Alternatively, the requirement can also be met if the individual served as the chief executive of a key statutory board or government company for at least three years, or if they have served three years in a public sector office and the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) is satisfied with their performance and ability to carry out the duties of the President.

Mdm Halimah qualified by virtue of her service as a Speaker of Parliament of over three years.

According to Mr Chan Chun Sing, who serves as the Minister-in-charge of the Public Service in Singapore and was responding to a parliamentary question filed by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leong Mun Wai in May, there are currently approximately 50 public service positions that could satisfy the public sector service requirement for individuals seeking to run in the next presidential election.

Additionally, for those seeking to qualify under the private sector service requirement, there are over 1,200 companies with an average shareholders’ equity of S$500 million or more.

However, Mr Chan did not state how many Singaporeans qualify under the private sector service requirement. It should be noted that the 1,200 companies need not necessarily have Singaporeans as their CEOs.

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Latest posts

Election surprises and certainties: Dissecting Tharman’s presidential win

In the 2023 Presidential Election, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam secured a stunning 70.4% landslide victory, surprising many, including himself. Despite expectations that TKL would win the opposition votes, voters from both camps showed a preference for Tharman's charisma and perceived competency. As Singapore reflects on the outcome, questions arise about the election's fairness and the real implications of Tharman's dominant win.

Volunteer as a Polling and Counting Agent for Singapore’s 2023 Presidential Election

For the upcoming Singapore Presidential Election on 1st September, members of the civil society have spearheaded an initiative to strengthen our democratic fabric. We invite committed individuals to join us as Polling and Counting Agents, standing together for a transparent, fair, and just election. This vote counting exercise, organized by members of civil society, is not specifically in support of Mr Tan Kin Lian, a candidate in the upcoming Presidential Election. It's an exercise in active citizenry. Nonetheless, Mr Tan endorses this initiative, which hinges on his candidacy, championing transparency, and has given permission for the results to be shared publicly.

Reflections from the Centenary: The Legacy of LKY and Singapore’s Future

Gilbert Goh reflects on the LKY centenary event: an inspiring showcase of a leader's global legacy juxtaposed against current challenges, urging Singapore to continue its path of progress.

Lim Tean advocates for Tan Kin Lian: A visionary leader for Singapore’s Presidency

In his speech at Mr Tan Kin Lian's launch of his presidential bid, Mr Lim Tean passionately championed the need for a truly Independent President. Highlighting Mr Tan Kin Lian's unique credentials and genuine concern for the wellbeing of Singaporeans, the Peoples Voice leader emphasized the pressing challenges of rising living costs and job insecurities faced by the public. Mr Lim depicted Mr Tan Kin Lian as a beacon of hope for the nation, advocating for a leader who genuinely understands and represents the people’s aspirations.

Tan Jee Say endorses Tan Kin Lian for President: A courageous, genuine, and humble...

In advocating for a truly representative leader, Tan Jee Say underscored Tan Kin Lian's humility, courage, and genuine dedication. Highlighting the pressing need for restored public trust and effective independence, Tan Jee Say emphasized that Tan Kin Lian, as the 'People's President', would bring back hope to Singaporeans and champion true democracy

Tan Kin Lian’s pledge: Rekindling unity and charting a vigorous future for Singapore

In the press conference to announce his bid for the Singapore presidency, Tan Kin Lian emphasizes safeguarding Singapore's reserves and strengthening public service integrity. Drawing on his 30-year leadership at NTUC Income, he envisions a future with affordable living, accessible housing, and job stability, pledging collaboration with the government for a united nation.

Strengthening Singapore’s political foundations: A call to action by Leong Mun Wai on Singapore’s...

Leong Mun Wai urges Singaporeans to strengthen political checks and balances, emphasizing, 'The best is yet to be for Singapore if we dare to make the right decision in upcoming elections.

Trending posts