Sunday, 24 September 2023

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

Former GIC Chief Investment Officer Ng Kok Song announces intent to run for Singapore presidency

Ng Kok Song, 75, former Chief Investment Officer at the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), was seen at the Elections Department (ELD) on Wednesday morning to collect the application form for the Certificate of Eligibility, accompanied by his 45-year-old Singaporean fiancée.

This follows his comments to local media on 15 July that he was considering a run for the presidential office, citing the national importance of the role and the consequential personal implications.

Mr Ng, who served GIC for 27 years before retiring in 2013, is presently the executive chairman of Avanda Investment Management. He co-founded the firm in 2015 along with two former GIC colleagues.

His consideration to join the race comes as the presidential election scene is already heating up.

In June, former Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam declared his bid and resigned from the Government and People’s Action Party on 7 July. Entrepreneur George Goh also expressed his intentions to contest on 12 June.

Meanwhile, current President Halimah Yacob has confirmed she will not be standing for re-election when her term concludes on September 13.

Mr Ng, who began his public service career as an investment analyst with the Finance Ministry in 1970, joined the newly formed Monetary Authority of Singapore a year later.

In 1986, he joined GIC, becoming its first non-expatriate director, and in 2007, he was appointed the group’s first chief investment officer. Mr Ng also founded the Singapore International Monetary Exchange in 1984.

However, questions remain over Mr Ng’s qualification for the presidency.

Under Article 19(4)(a) of the Constitution, he must have served as the chief executive or the most senior executive of a firm for at least three years, with the company demonstrating an average shareholders’ equity of at least S$500 million and consistent post-tax profitability.

While Mr Ng holds the title of executive chairman at Avanda, it is not clear if he is considered the most senior executive. Avanda has not met the S$500 million shareholder equity criteria. It had an average shareholder equity of around $73 million over the last three years from 2020 to 2022, despite turning a profit in each of these years.

Although Mr Ng’s service in public roles falls within the 20-year consideration window, his positions are not among those that automatically qualify him for the presidency.

The candidate may need to apply through the private or public sector deliberative track, similar to former candidate Tan See Jay in the 2011 presidential election.

Limited Singaporeans who qualify under the criteria for private sector candidate

As of 31 December 2022, of the 413 companies registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority with shareholders’ equity exceeding $500 million, 165 are headed by CEOs or managing directors who are Singaporean citizens.

This information was disclosed by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong in response to a question from Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, Leong Mun Wai from Progress Singapore Party.

In response to a question from Associate Professor Jamus Lim, MP for Seng Kang GRC, on why an equivalent criterion to measure successful leadership is not included for public service candidates, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing expressed that it would be inappropriate to compare or impose the same requirements on both sectors.

He suggested that while the performance of private sector candidates can be objectively assessed through financial indicators, such as profitability, measuring the performance of public sector candidates presents more challenges.

President aspirant George Goh shared his views on this matter on Facebook, noting the relatively small pool of private-sector CEOs meeting the $500 million equity threshold.

He argued that the eligibility criteria may overlook the potential capabilities of candidates who have built successful companies from the ground up, as opposed to those who were placed in already profitable entities.

The tightened criteria in recent years have made it challenging for private-sector candidates to qualify for the Presidential Elections.

This was evident in the 2017 reserved presidential election for Malays, which saw Mdm Halimah elected as President following the disqualification of two aspirants for failing to meet the shareholders’ equity criteria.

Since the inception of the elected presidency, all Presidents have emerged from the public sector who are connected to the People’s Action Party

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