SINGAPORE: Mr Yee Jenn Jong, who served as a Non-constituency Member of Parliament from 2011 to 2015 under The Workers’ Party, weighed in again on this year’s Presidential Election, focusing in particular on ex Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Mr Yee wrote in a recent Facebook post that there have been a number of people who have felt that they “want Tharman to be president” but “find it difficult to vote for him!”
“If the President is selected based on the pre-elected President (EP) days, I would also have gladly welcomed President Tharman. Based purely on experience, international reputation, and popularity, he is the most suitable of the three eligible,” he added. However, he underlined again that he takes issue with how “democratic processes have been engineered to fit the political purpose of one party.”
He then referred to how the most recent book of former Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo “tells quite a bit into the internal workings of the PAP,” especially concerning the presidential bid in 2011 of Dr Tan Cheng Bock.
Mr Yee stressed that the views in his post are made in his personal capacity and that he’s not endorsing a particular candidate. He only aims to do “a critical examination of why many Singaporeans are disenchanted with the PE, even when a worthy candidate shows up.”
“Tharman is immensely popular; in my opinion more popular than the PAP itself. If the contest is purely based on an individual’s credentials, he should in theory, poll higher than what the PAP had gotten in the last GE…
Tharman is riding on the establishment’s ticket and hence a vote for Tharman will feel like a vote for the PAP. Any voting is a sort of referendum on the government. This is no exception,” wrote Mr Yee.
The ex-NCMP noted that due to high living costs, partly due to the GST increase, “scandals, controversies, and a much-delayed 4G transition,” the PAP is facing trying times.
“Tharman has said that he is entering the race because things are changing, and that the next phase of Singapore’s development is going to require a different character to the presidency. I hope when he gets that position, he will indeed change the nature of the presidency to provide more independence in thinking. And I hope that one day, we will take a critical look at this institution and replace it with something like a senate to provide the safeguard, rather than to have this theatre every 6 years.”