NTU dialogue partner takes issue with DPM Tharman for using his photo without addressing his questions


Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Tharman Shanmugaratnam allegedly deflected questions on reserved elections, according to a dialogue partner who conversed with the DPM at the inaugural Majulah Lecture at Nanyang Technological University last Wednesday.

The participant, Nabil Khairul Anwar, took issue with the fact that the DPM later posted a photo prominently featuring him on his Facebook page, after allegedly failing to answer his questions on the implications of reserving elections in an adequate manner.

Nabil was referring to this photo that the DPM posted on his Facebook page, addressing issues like gutter politics and mainstream media censorship at length:

Adding that he did not ask the question on gutter politics, Nabil revealed the two questions that he did ask the Minister at the dialogue:

“During the Majulah Lecture, I had asked the Minister two important questions. First, whether he was of the view that the Reserved Presidential Election was entrenching the notion of race into Singapore politics and if Singapore was regressing as a society. Second, I asked him if the government had any plans, in the future, of reserving the position of Prime Minister for a Malay or other minority candidate. The latter went unaddressed.
“Instead, he went on talking about how Mdm Halimah Yacob was an outstanding individual and how the Government had to take proactive steps in order to turn the pledge from a mere incantation to actuality. Indeed, like him and many other Singaporeans, I have no doubt as to Mdm Halimah’s abilities. As much as I would like to believe that he missed the point, I also know that he is far smarter than that. He did what most politicians would do when presented with a hard question. He avoided it.”

Nabil added that he knew this might be the response he would receive.

Asserting that he has strong views on reserved elections, and especially against racial politics, Nabil noted that the future of Singaporeans is “in the hands of a group of people who chooses to ignore important questions from people whom they are supposed to be held accountable to.”

He urged the government to stop ignoring the “important questions” and indicated that if they continue doing so, the people might ignore their appeals during the next general elections:

“To be honest, part of me knew that it was going to happen. Take a look at Parliament. Just yesterday, the news reported that Worker’s Party had failed in their second bid to raise a Parliamentary motion on the Presidential Election. So why then did I feel angry when he side-lined my first question and ignored the second?
“Many of my friends are aware of my feelings toward the reserved elections. It is something that I feel strongly about, and for good reason. In 1965, Singapore was expelled from the Malaysian federation. By and large, it was due to the belief that we should be free from racial politics and be united as one – regardless of race, language or religion. This is something not to be trifled with. It is not about the willingness to pay a political price. It is also not just about a political party. It is about a nation; whose future is in the hands of a group of people who chooses to ignore important questions from people whom they are supposed to be held accountable to.”
“I implore you, and your colleagues, to stop ignoring important questions. How would you like it if we ignore your appeals come election time?”

This evening, I was prompted by a friend who texted to tell me that my photo was posted on Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s…

Posted by Nabil Khairul Anwar on Thursday, 28 September 2017

PAP did not engage in “gutter politics” in Bukit Batok by-election, DPM Tharman clarifies


  1. Errrr, what kinda ability Halimah Yacob has?
    As then-SMRT director under Saw Phaik Hwa for @ least 4yrs b4 the big disruption, was she not collecting $$$$ while the inadequate maintenance was going on?
    I dun understd why pple think this Indian woman is capable of handling impt public issues.

  2. I am very gratified to know that there are still , amongst us, politically alert and concerned citizens. Singapore has a future but with our type of politicians still reigning and living in their own make believe world, it makes me very worried! We need to drastically wake them up in the next general election.

  3. Does one really expect a straight answer when questioning a politician?
    Whose interest do politicians have first? Theirs or the country’s?
    Show me a concerned straight politician and I’d say that you’re describing an alternative universe. It sure ain’t this one.

  4. There are so many questions unanswered, can we still be able to trust the PAP? What would happen to our future? Our next generation? With a good PM that can lead us in difficult times, but not the present one.

  5. They are beginning to feel the heat of the recent PE. Just goes to show they don’t have the foresight to see that impact of their policy. We should be worried with these leaders. Sad sad day for Singapore.

  6. Typical PAP mode of operandi… I hv observe they don’t like to deal wt difficult question and if they answer… they give classic text book reply… Or play the fear factor or activate intimidation mode…

  7. The current bunch of muppets haven’t the foggiest about long term solutions. They fix things in the here and now, possibly thinking these issues will simmer and die off. But in any form of new procedure, policy, practice and bloody mindless actions…as Senge said that today’s solutions are tomorrow’s problems. These current crop are clueless, permanently in denial, incompetent, insensitive with little to no empathy, and gloat thinking they are exceptionally gifted. I’d agree they are gifted; in running down the Singapore brand. It’s clearly time to leave the employee seat and make way for someone else with more vision and openness. Most Singaporeans are tired of idiocy; and many dare not admit that they have foolishly handed these muppets the keys to the castle.

  8. why even bother to have this dialogue if you cherry pick your answer. furthermore, no one is questioning Halimah’s integrity BUT people are UNHAPPY about the way the government conducted the “PE”.

  9. Even a primary student understand that when teacher ask you question A you need to answer in the A context else you fail. This person dress in white and heads our country finance cannot comprehen such simple logic? Then how is he able to manage our country finances? Really got to get rid of such so call elite for the betterment of spore.

  10. There are some sensitive security questions which if answered may antagonise our surrounding neighbours. DPM is smart to steer clear of this and the person who ask this question is stupid enough to ask it!

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