Who Can Be President? Who Should Be President?

Tan Kin Lian, George Yeo, Tan Cheng Bock or Ooi Boon Ewe?

Notwithstanding that our President is quite overpaid, I think Singaporeans should really understand what the President’s role is before deciding whom to vote for.

Our President has only very limited executive powers, really. He can block the drawdown of past reserves by the current Govt. And he can also block key Civil Service appointments.

That’s about it really.

On everything else, he has to act on the advice of the Cabinet.

Hence, the main quality one should look for in our President is impartiality.

The President should thus not be a “Govt-endorsed” or “PAP-endorsed” figure. Inderjit Singh is wrong in this. Indeed, far from enhancing his stature, a “Govt-endorsed” or “PAP-endorsed” figure will lose credibility, because he’ll be perceived as lacking impartiality.

That’s why I don’t favour candidates who resign from PAP just before contesting the Presidential Election. How can we be sure that such candidates are not still pro-PAP at heart? Can a person turn from a pro-PAP member of over 20 years to a non-partisan figure overnight?

By the same token, the President should not be anti-PAP. Someone like Chee Soon Juan or even Low Thia Kiang would not make a good President, because it is not the job of the President to oppose the PAP.

Hence, I don’t support those who try to show anti-PAP they’ve become since leaving the PAP, how they’ve never toed the party line. Because this job is not about how anti-PAP a person is, this job is to keep out of politics completely, and to make decisions independently and impartially, without any bias.

No, the President should be a unifying figure, someone both PAP and “opposition” supporters can both rally behind. Ideally he would be like the Thai King, who has no legal power but possesses great moral authority and commands deep respect. He should be seen as someone absolutely impartial and non-partisan, who is accepted by people of all political affiliations.

Tan Kin Lian? George Yeo? Tan Cheng Bock? Ooi Boon Ewe?

Now that I’ve explained what this role entails, who do you think fits the bill?


About politicalwritings

Someone who sees beyond PAP and "opposition" in Singapore politics. To understand more please see the Top 10 link below.
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8 Responses to Who Can Be President? Who Should Be President?

  1. bongkinchen says:

    This is an election by partisan proxy. No doubt about it. The suitability is for the first 3 to contest. It is a 3-corner tussle. There will be split votes of the first two. Probably, the third will romp in. Impartiality is secondary to the effect of political spinning that really counts in the process. Your ideal choice is only ideal but not poltically correct in reality in this election.

  2. Cassie says:

    No, a more likely scenario is split votes between GY and TCB, who are more closely linked to the PAP, compared to TKL who has both PAP and opposition links. But if the PAP wants to avoid splitting their supporters’ votes, they will persuade TCB to withdraw from the election. The PAP has already endorsed GY, hence his ‘sudden’ change of heart.

  3. Pingback: Daily SG: 8 Jun 2011 « The Singapore Daily

  4. quah ee siong says:

    As we know, the president has 2 limited executive powers.
    1. Another key to utilise the reserve in time of need like war or peril and very serious backward economy and national disaster.
    2 Appointment of ministers and top civil servants on the advice of the prime minister/cabinet.
    3 Declaring a state of emergency rule if there is a need.

    Other than these important functions the president is acting as a Head of State and executing diplomatic duty in welcoming the government’s important foreign head of states and representatives of friendly countries during state visit to our country and vice versa.
    So, it is important that the president must acquire full knowledge in world political developments, awareness, and events.
    He must be a learned man with good historic knowledge of one’s country and the world history modern and ancient.
    Next he must possess good economic knowledge of the country to help the government in meting out new economic programmes during each new financial year and new term of parlimentary session.
    Of course he must have a high calibre, personality.good behavoirs and passion for all races of the country.Including impartiality.able to justify recommendations produce by the president”s committee.
    I presume,as a small country, and according to the qualifications require by the election committee, we may have only less than 1000 qualified persons
    In the end we may end up with less than 3 approved candidates.
    So,I will put my hand up for Mr.George Yeo.
    Correct me if I am wrong.

  5. Saycheese says:

    Whoever is going to be the EP is probably going to be neutered by the PAP with its overwhelming majority in Parliament. (Constitution can be amended at will.)
    My choice will be the one who is going to bill Singaporeans the least for his chobolan, so the prataman is definitely out.

    • Thanks for comments. But I disagree with the “neutering”. No one forced the PAP to give the President any executive powers at all. And indeed, if they try to take it back from the President, the public will question their sincerity and they’ll have even higher vote swing next time round.

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