Dr Tan Cheng Bock says Ong Teng Cheong is Singapore’s first elected president.
The government says that honour should got to Dr Wee Kim Wee.
And that difference in counting is accounting for the difference in whether Presidential Election 2017 is a “reserved election” or not, after the government amended the constitution last year to make PE2017 a race for Malay candidates.
So who’s got it right?
HistorySG, a government-run portal which ” aims to be a first-stop portal with recommended resources to guide the general public, including students and researchers, in their discovery and exploration of Singapore’s rich history and its sources” says all its entries are “based on verifiable, authoritative sources and are accurate as far as we are able to ascertain at the time of publication.”
It called Ong Teng Cheong the first elected president of Singapore.
Our National Archives shows that Ong took part in and won Singapore’s first presidential election.
Then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong also called Ong Teng Cheong Singapore’s first elected president in a condolence letter to to Ong Teng Cheong’s wife on his passing in 2002.
So, government records say Ong Teng Cheong is Singapore’s first elected president, but the government doesn’t consider him Singapore’s first elected president and that’s why we’re having a “reserve” Presidential Election this year?
Confused? You’re not alone.