…. for the PAP?
I can’t help being prompted to think this way by the turn of today’s events: four candidates vying for the one post of president
Some two decades ago, the presidency was turned into an elected entity by the People’s Action Party in anticipation of “freak” election results bringing in a rogue government bent on raiding the country’s reserves built up by past (read PAP) government.
Some two decades later, the drama doesn’t seem to be unfolding quite according to script.
We haven’t had “freak” election results as far as I can tell and the last time I checked, I won’t in my wildest dream describe the Government now in charge as a “rogue” government.
So why do we have at least one presidential candidate — who is openly endorsed by the anti-PAP website, Temasek Review Emeritius , and failed Opposition candidate Nicole Seah — declaring: “Now is your opportunity to elect a president to ensure that the government does not abuse its position for their own benefit, but to carry out what it has promised to Singaporeans. The president must have the moral courage and conviction to stand up and speak up for you.”
The candidate who made this declaration is Tan Jee Say who also reiterated his belief that the primary purpose of the Elected President is to provide checks and balances on the government.
While none of the competition is as openly combative, all are careful to distance themselves from the PAP which forms the government, never mind if in fact all of Tan Jee Say’s rivals were closer linked to the PAP than the average Singaporean or even rank and file PAP faithfuls!
Now if this turn of events doesn’t go according to script, the outcome of the Aug 27 election may turn out to be an even more surprising ending — at least for the architects of the Elected Presidency!
It could go like this.
Years ago, Chiam See Tong or someone in the Opposition camp coined the by-election-effect strategy. Which in effect was to allow the PAP to form the government on nomination day so that Singapore voters who wanted political stability could then become more adventurous with their votes and give them to the Opposition.
The Aug 27 election offers the perfect opportunity for Singaporeans who want to have more checks on the PAP, be adventurous with their votes or both. They could treat the presidential election as a by-election!
After all, hasn’t continuity of stability been assured with the PAP already returned to power three months ago?
Going by CV and breadth and depth of experience alone, Tony Tan should be the unequivocal choice of all thinking Singaporeans.
The devil is that there is a significant section of Singaporeans who want to show the PAP two fingers (in return for grievances perceived or real) despite not being hard-core Opposition. So CV and experience be damned. This is over and above the traditional anti-PAP crowd.
If these should intuitively coalesce around one of the other three Tans instead of diluting their voting power by going with their heart, then Singaporeans could indeed wake up on the morning of Aug 28 with a “freak” election result.
Still, Prime Minister Lee Hsieng Loong did say he could work with any of the candidates, didn’t he? And whomever it might be, it’ll still be a President Tan