Indeed, would we be at Square Zero if Tony Tan is the president? ST, Wed, June 8 2011 reported that Dr Tony Tan could be interested in joining the race for the elected presidency. Well, he did not say it in so many words apparently. According to the ST he has hinted it in his reply to a press question.
Was it the work of an over imaginative reporter? But surely his editor would have double checked this kind of news. At any rate, as at today, June 9, there was nothing in the ST, no report of any clarifications or a disclaimer from TT to correct any ‘misunderstanding’ on the part of the press. So, from this we can quite safely assume that he is indeed thinking about it. We would definitely know with more certainty if the press were to report later that he has indeed collected the necessary application forms.
In my wildest imagination, I did not expect this run up to the day of ‘reckoning’ for the elected presidency to develop into a hot game of chess of sorts. (Although I did use the term ‘checkmate’ in one of my posting on this issue. I used it to describe what the govt could do to stop an ‘unfriendly’ president!
If you like you can check out two other posts at:
It is getting to be like a game of chess because clearly there are two sides involved –the people versus the govt. The govt made the first move, offering Tan Cheng Bock, and with the help of the MSM it played up his ‘contributions’ which unfortunately in real terms amounted to nothing more than making a lot of noise and empty posturing in parliament. But, in truth his performance had been NATO, nothing to shout about.
As public perception and reception to TCB gradually waned and soured (and who can blame the public?) the govt pushes out a reluctant George Yeo, who has received a lot of sympathetic press and web postings for his GE2011 defeat at the hands of the giant killing WP. (A classic case of ‘the vultures coming back to roost’ or very simply, the GRC has finally boomeranged on its thrower – the PAP govt. )
But, George Yeo had already limited his own chances, burned his own bridges, from the start when he clearly and unequivocally dismissed the idea of ever stepping into the shoes of the elected president by pointing out that he is a ‘free spirit’.
Actually, he made a Freudian slip – it says that he knows the inside story of how the govt has already introduced the means to straightjacket the presidency after the ‘OTC experience.’
Now, back to TT. He no doubt has offered some distinguished service to the GOVT, has served it loyally throughout, including returning to the cabinet even after having left it. But, unfortunately, he is not a people-oriented person despite his polite and pleasant disposition. A mathematician by profession, HE IS A TECHNOCRAT THROUGH AND THROUGH.
He would not be my idea of a people’s president because he operates by cold logic and rationale, which is good when confronting and challenging an adversary, but not a comfortable feeling when he applies the same mindset in dealing with his own people. Bear in mind too that he is a banker.
I think we are all agreed that we already have up to our eye brows of such cold, calculating types in the PAP dominated parliament. Surely we don’t need one more of such ‘types’ for a job that precisely requires the opposite quality from someone who could think out of the box to protect the people from the PAP juggernaut or a rogue govt? IMHO, Dr Tony Tan would not be able to do this given his long association with the ruling party. The PAP has been in his blood for far too long.
Furthermore, he possesses a ‘veto factor’ – something which should automatically disqualify him from the post of the elected president, given that a primary role of the EP is to protect our reserves. As the executive director and deputy chairman of GIC, TT has a direct conflict of interest on this issue.
To date, Singaporeans have only indirect third party’s and very vague, cursory and bare-bone info on the affairs and dealings of the SWF or sufficient details of the performance of the GIC and Temasek. In the latest news report we have been told that all the losses has been recovered. Surely, the matter cannot be as simple as that! We want details of the past 5 years. We don’t want ‘filtered’ information via the people’s president. If as deputy chairman and executive director of the GIC he is not prepared to use his discretion and knowledge to inform us, why should we expect him to be different if he is the EP?
For parents of disabled and handicapped children you should bear in mind that TT was for many years the Education Minister. If my memory serves me correctly, he was in the midst of all the tinkering and tweaking of the education system. Today, I have just read the report that the new Education Minister, Heng Swee Kiat has received an avalanche of mail from parents with suggestions to solve the multiplicity of woes besieging our children in schools and the education system itself.
The point I want to make concerns the education of disabled and handicapped children in our midst. It is this: The MOE has refused to accept or take responsibility for their education. In effect such children has been ostracized and neglected for generations and by generations of education ministers.
Such children remained essentially in the periphery of our schools system as ‘basket cases’ for charitable organizations to take up. And, by the way, teachers of charitable organizations providing education for our disabled and handicapped children are NOT on the payroll of the MOE and are in fact employed on much more inferior salary and benefits schemes than those enjoyed by the regular MOE teachers, despite their patently much more challenging role of educating the disabled and handicapped.
In the ‘special schools’, resources and means such as finance, funding and trained manpower are perpetual problems. I know from an encounter that TT did not have a sympathetic ear for the educational needs of such children.
Now, the entry of TT into the ring is obviously prompted by what the PAP sees as a very real challenge posed by Tan Kin Lian. That TKL’s intention to vie for the EP does not sit well with the establishment is all too obvious to me from the backhanded manner that the current EP, Nathan, spoke about TKL’s plan and ideas if elected, as reported in the ST on 8 June 2011.
Suffice it to say, you would not find Nathan using subtly sarcastic and dismissive words like ‘I won’t want to belittle his enthusiasm. If he can do it, good luck to him’ if he is making a reference to what someone like GY or TCB had said. Clearly, TKL is regarded as ‘NOT PAP Family’ now, notwithstanding that he was a PAP member. To me this is good news.
On TKL, he appears to be one who is down to earth and his track record shows he puts the money where his mouth is. He is no politician. He is proposing to do those things concerning the safekeeping and protection of our national reserves that the vast majority of Singaporeans, myself included, would want to see done.
TKL is someone I can choose with assurance against the group of ‘dyed-to-the-core’ PAP elites of TCB, GY, N and now TT, lined up on the opposite side, who are essentially members of the PAP family. (An aside: I do not expect N to remain a contender if at least two of these three join the race.)
IMO, the only thing that would keep TKL out of the race is the presidential council whose members are made up of people who ultimately report to cabinet ministers. My own feel is that they would be searching high and low for any and every excuse to disqualify TKL from even standing for election. That is how much they fear the potential of the man and how dearly they want to keep the EP in the PAP ‘family’.
N.B. The author has no affiliation with any political party. He was an admirer of the PAP until it became evident that it has changed beyond recognition and no longer bear any semblance to the party that he had originally once admired. He feels it his duty to point out that the country is going down the drain if current trends continue unarrested