Featured News "I can't do it" - George Goh questions Tharman's take on independence

“I can’t do it” – George Goh questions Tharman’s take on independence

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Asserting he would not be able to do it, he expressed doubts about any candidate who claims to be able to be independent mere months after leaving the political system they have been in for decades

SINGAPORE: In a pointed comment aimed at former heavyweight People’s Action Party (PAP) Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, entrepreneur George Goh Ching Wah has said that he will not be able to call himself an independent figure mere months after leaving a political party.

Mr. Tharman and Mr. Goh have picked up eligibility forms to contest the upcoming presidential election. Mr. Goh has positioned himself as an independent prospective candidate and has questioned the trend of PAP politicians turning President.

At a press meet earlier this week, Mr Tharman said he believes that the independence of a presidential candidate should not be judged by their political background.

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While he acknowledged Mr. Goh’s and fellow presidential hopeful, ex-GIC chief investment officer Ng Kok Song’s emphasis on political independence, Mr. Tharman said that his experience in politics and participating in policy formulation makes him better understand the complexity of government operations.

Calling this an advantage, Mr Tharman added that the system would be weakened if outstanding people in the public service who are eligible to run for the presidency, such as permanent secretaries, are excluded because they have served in government departments.

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The former Senior Minister, who vacated his seat in Parliament and his ministerial roles earlier this month, said whether a candidate is independent should be judged by his attributes, qualifications, and how he can contribute to the country, not his party background.

Mr. Goh, however, has responded that it is difficult for a potential presidential candidate who has been in the political system for decades to become “independent” after one or two months of resignation.

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Asserting that he would not be able to do it, he told the media yesterday (27 July) that he expressed doubts about any candidate who claims to be able to be independent mere months after leaving the political system they have been in for decades.

Also asserting that competition in the presidential election is healthy and more good people, especially in the private sector, should come forward, Mr Goh said he hopes he could be an example for entrepreneurs to serve society by contesting presidential elections in future.

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Read also:

Tharman Promises ‘Independence of Mind’ and Dedication to Serve as ‘President for All

SM Tharman holding special photo-taking session with Taman Jurong residents

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