Elected presidency turns into Frankenstein…

…. 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 ūüôĄ

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.‚ÄĚ

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 ūüėÜ


12 thoughts on “Elected presidency turns into Frankenstein…

  1. Pingback: Daily SG: 18 Aug 2011 « The Singapore Daily

  2. Auntie Lucia

    As in all things, the best laid plans of men and mice are subject to God’s plan or for those agnostic, the “Fates”


  3. “Going by CV and breadth and depth of experience alone, Tony Tan should be the unequivocal choice of all thinking Singaporeans”

    – Excuse I am a thinking Sporean, and I certainly don’t think Tony Tan is the unequivocal choice of Sporeans. TT and his crowd are part of an elite. They like to spend lots of money to improve Spore’s garden image. The rest of Singapore however struggle to get along in life and dont have the time to have a picnic in those open spaces and parks in our housing estates. Many of these average Sporeans will grow old and have no universal health care for the aged or for the sick in this Spore.

  4. “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind”
    The PAP made a mistake in trying to fix a future non-PAP government by giving power to the voters to elect the president. But two too many opposition candidates means the PAP should get the president LKY wants.

  5. Haha, Uncle Cynical, at least dis time no typo, eh. It cld be “too, too many candidates” too, u know so that voters like my mum would be absolutely confused!

  6. Uncle Ah Seng: I’m afraid I’ve to edit your comment and only those bits which I subscribe to — at least partially — will see light of day. If u wld rather I remove yr comment altogether, just let me know, TQ!

  7. The way most of us see it, PAP’s only true intent for creating the position of the President was to make use of this position as a political tool to check on the “Govt of the Day” never expecting it would backfire that an independent President may also be elected to check on PAP as the “Govt of the Day.

    The moral of the story is “Don’t unto others as you wouldn’t have others do unto you.

  8. Wow!
    We, Singaporeans are so lucky this time that
    the PEC has been exceedingly generous
    with the approval of the candidates.
    There are many good men for us to choose
    and pick this round.
    I like all of them; however, I am allowed to choose only one. So I will
    pick the One with conscience.

  9. Eh, PapaSim, I’ve to edit yr comment as I won’t allow peeps to make fun of what candidates say. That’s reserved for me, if I so choose to do so. Please understand! ūüėõ

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