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George Goh vows to work “day and night” to safeguard the reserves, reject’s President’s role to check on govt

SINGAPORE —  Entrepreneur and aspiring president of Singapore, Mr George Goh Ching Wah, stated that he intends to exercise the President’s power laid out in the Constitution faithfully and to his best ability in two key areas of the reserves and key appointments that the President has power in.

During an interview with TODAY and CNA on Tuesday (20 June), Mr. Goh stated that the new president must collaborate with the government for the benefit of the nation and clarified that the President’s role is not to serve as a check on the Government.

In a recent Facebook post on his official account, Mr. Goh further assured the public that if elected as an “independent president,” he would prioritize serving the public interest and not be influenced by other considerations.

President “does not function as a check on the Government”

In an interview at Holland Drive Food Centre on Tuesday,  Mr. Goh explained that the President does not function as a check on the Government.

You can’t check on the government, because you know, the Prime Minister Office is an executive power, it’s like the brain.

“The President, to be bound by the Constitution, is like the heart. These work together.”

“Don’t go inside and check… the Prime Minister elected by the people. You must trust him. He appointed his own Cabinet, he lead the MPs, you must trust him.”

“We give the mandate of five years to the Prime Minister. Regardless, we must stand together with him,” He said.

Mr. Goh was responding to criticism regarding his understanding of the elected President’s role, and further stated that his pledge to be an independent candidate did not mean that he would be a check on the government of the day.

“So when I mean ‘independent’, I mean I’m a candidate (who is) independent, so don’t get it wrong.”

Mr. Goh’s remark also came after Madam Ho Ching, former CEO of Temasek Holdings and spouse of Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, said that the President’s role is not to be an independent voice or a check on the Government

Goh: President and the Government must work together

Mr. Goh reiterated his understanding of the President’s role, emphasizing that the President and the Government must work together and not overlap as two centers of power.

“A President has a set (of roles), in the Constitution, written quite clearly, so we have to be bound by the Constitution, don’t overlap. It’s not two centres of power, not at all.”

“In fact, they are working together. The relationship must be always about working together,” he added.

He also said that the Prime Minister, coming from a party elected by the people, deserves the trust of the people.

Mr. Goh stressed the necessity for the President and Prime Minister to be on the same page, especially considering Singapore’s status as a small nation.

“Can you imagine if the two, President and Prime Minister, don’t work together? It will cost a small nation a lot of problems.”

Mr. Goh vowed to work “day and night” to safeguard the reserves

If elected as an independent candidate, Mr. Goh pledged to fulfill both key roles of the President.

He vowed to work “day and night” to safeguard the reserves in collaboration with the Council of Presidential Advisers, acknowledging that “it is the people’s money”.

Additionally, he expressed his commitment to ensuring that the Government presents suitable candidates for key public appointments.

“Independent” means he has no political ties and will not work in the interest of any party, said Mr. Goh

On Wednesday (21 June), Mr. Goh clarified his position, stating that as an independent Presidential Candidate, he is free from political affiliations and dedicated solely to serving Singaporeans.

“In the media interview yesterday, I said that I have no intention of going head to head with the executive on issues and am committed to working with the Government of the day.”

“But I am also clear that the Constitution has laid out two key areas of the reserves and key appointments that the President has power in, and I intend to exercise this power faithfully and to my best ability. ”

He reassured that as an independent President, he will not be influenced by other considerations beyond serving the public interest.


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