SINGAPORE: If Singaporeans choose him to be the next President, the country can have “the best of three worlds”, said presidential hopeful Ng Kok Song on Saturday (Jul 29) as he gave some personal reflections on the elected presidency.
Speaking to reporters at the sidelines of the Asia Cat Expo 2023, Mr. Ng said that if he is elected President, former senior minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam can return to the government to serve Singapore as he has done for the last 22 years.
Meanwhile, Mr. George Goh – the third potential presidential candidate and founder of retailer Harvey Norman Ossia – can go back to “building his business to support the government’s efforts to grow our economy”, Mr Ng said.
He said, “I think that would be a very good thing because as you know, our government is going through a difficult time. So we need very good and capable people to come back or to go back to serve our country.
The former GIC chief investment officer added, “I will be so honored to be able to serve the people of Singapore one more time.”
Mr Ng also laid out two other scenarios where either Mr Tharman, 66, or Mr Goh, 63, become Singapore’s President.
He noted that all three potential candidates have explained what they would do if they were elected president, but have not shared what they would do when the election is over.
He said that if he is not elected, he will return to contribute to society through his asset management firm Avanda Investment Management: “I will go back and grow my company … so that Avanda can become a homegrown Singaporean investment management company that Singaporeans can be proud of and which will contribute to the further development of Singapore as a financial center.”
The Government indeed appears to be going through a difficult time as the ruling party grapples with the loss of a number of three MPs.
Transport Minister S Iswaran has been suspended from his political duties amid his arrest as part of an ongoing corruption probe while Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and backbencher MP Cheng Li Hui resigned due to an extramarital affair.
Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong acknowledged that the spate of scandals has damaged the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), in an interview with the BBC earlier this week.
Although he dismissed criticism that the Government has not been accountable or transparent in the way it handled these cases, Mr. Wong – who is expected to succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at an unspecified time – said: “The incidents are a setback for the ruling party and the government”.
He added that he would “work doubly hard” to regain public trust but the BBC noted that the politician “did not elaborate on how.”
Mr Wong told the publication, “If I do have a chance to take over [leadership of the country], I know that it’s not just about me taking over because I also have to earn that trust from Singaporeans themselves. I have to win their confidence and mandate to lead the country.”