ELSON: Before going further, I’ll ask you to take a look at this quote from Dr Tan Cheng Bock, which met with rousing applause from all at his press conference this morning on the 2017 presidential election:
“If you ever want to define the presidency by money, then I’m so sad for this country. We must never define the presidency by money. We must define the presidency by people who believe in multi-racialism, people who have the correct character, who have served the country for a long time, who believe in the people. That is the kind of president we want. But if you want to define the presidency by money, I don’t know what sort of legacy I’m going to leave to my children, or my grandchildren. It’s very sad.”
Dr Tan was hitting out at the new and more stringent criteria for presidential candidates from the private sector, in which they must be have been the most senior executive of a company with at least S$500 million in shareholders’ equity.
Otherwise, they must be longstanding key civil servants.
Dr Tan raised some good questions – do you really want high-flyers who are out of touch with common Singaporeans? Should Singapore’s Head of State be crowned by his achievements at making a heap of money for his company?
Let’s not forget that the President position is a ceremonial one.
But, perhaps, Dr Tan saved his most damning criticism for Singaporeans and not just the government of the day.
“Singaporean’s at large must question whether it’s correct or not. We can’t just take everything at face value,” he said, “If all of us stay silent, then I feel sorry for this place.”
Dr Tan almost beat current president Dr Tony Tan in PE2011, losing by just 0.35 percent of the votes.
It’s telling, because for all those who supported him then, where are they now?
Why are they not sticking their necks out for him?
Were these supporters simply empty vessels who make a lot of noise but are afraid to go the full yard to stand up for their beliefs?
“If I see something that is not correct, or if I believe it is not correct, I should take it up.”
Now that Dr Tan has found a “loophole” in reserved election, how many “supporters” will continue to stand by him against a constantly shifting goal line?