Featured News Ho Ching suggests having an election "politicises" the role of the President

Ho Ching suggests having an election “politicises” the role of the President

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Mdm Ho's latest remarks have drawn criticism from the public, with many perceiving her comments as potentially influencing the electoral process and undermining the impartiality of the presidency

SINGAPORE: Mere weeks after she sparked outrage for suggesting that the President of Singapore is not meant to be a check on the Government, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s wife has received fresh criticism after she seemed to question the elected presidency scheme in a Facebook post published today (19 July).

She said, “Personally, I think the President as an institution risks being politicised via an election process.”

In the same post, the former Temasek chief suggested that ex-GIC chief investment officer Ng Kok Song may be rejected at the polls if he qualifies for the looming Presidential race, as she praised his character for stepping forward to contest the race knowing this risk.

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Mr Ng collected eligibility forms at the Elections Department, yesterday.

Mdm Ho said: “At 75, with a wealth of experience and a lifetime of public service behind him, Kok Song could well enjoy his retirement.

“It does require a certain bent of character and duty to come forward and offer himself as a candidate for the public to scrutinise and assess if they would want to vote for him.”

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She added, “It can be very humbling when voters reject us, no? Takes courage to run the gauntlet for a very private sort of person.

“It is good that Singaporeans can choose between 2 very capable and worthy persons, who bring different strengths to the role of Sg’s President. I wonder if other capable and worthy candidates will be similarly prepared to come forward?”

While some said that Mdm Ho was appreciating Mr Ng, others online have said that she appears to be casting needless aspersions on his prospects.

Some have also pointed out that she has left out entrepreneur George Goh Ching Wah, who has also collected eligibility forms, as a potential candidate.

The views that have concerned Singaporeans are Mdm Ho’s perspectives on the role the President plays in Singapore.

Just last month, Mdm Ho was censured online after she said on Facebook that the role of the President “is not to be an independent voice, a check on govt, or an ombudsman to all the woes and ills of society.”

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Indicating that she still holds this view, she said today: “We forget that being independent is a state of mind of being objective and courageous in making the right decision taking into account all the various factors and circumstances.”

She added that there is a need to balance between short-term and long-term considerations, including the often neglected aspect of system integrity, and suggested that continuous testing and exposure, similar to being prepared for a pandemic or having a strong immune system, are essential for building an ethos that can endure for generations.

Drawing parallels between disaster preparedness training and the need for an open mind and nimble response in real-life crises, the PM’s wife also stressed the importance of adapting and applying training concepts in a timely and targeted manner, while being cautious about potential unwanted side effects.

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Mdm Ho’s latest remarks have drawn criticism from the public.

As public discourse surrounding the upcoming presidential election intensifies, her remarks are likely to fuel further debate and scrutiny over the perceived role and significance of the presidency within Singapore’s political landscape.

Ho Ching censured for saying President’s role is “not to be an independent voice or a check on govt”

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