Saturday, July 09, 2011
The Certificates of Eligibility have been issued to the Four Tans and now it seems that there is a high possibility of a Four Corner fight.
The approval of Mr. Tan Jee Say has put up quite a bit of interesting points. With due respect to Jee Say, his ability to get the Certificate of Eligibility has opened up a whole new dimension to the Elected Presidency, not only for this one but for future President Elections, i.e. if there are still any in future. According to some information, the paid up capital of Jee Say's company was $1million, far shortfall of the expected $100million. This would mean that many bosses of fund management companies would be able to qualify for Presidency in future.
The Four Corner fight scenario we are having right now may be the worst case scenario but not totally unexpected. As an Opposition Member, many of my friends would expect me to support fellow opposition member who has quit from his party to run for Presidency. However, I still prefer Mr. Tan Kin Lian as our President but this is nothing personal towards Mr. Tan Jee Say. It is just a matter of perspective.
All four candidates have been qualified by the "three wise men" to be men of good character and integrity. However, there are still major differences between them.
The Elected Presidency system was set up by PAP back in the late 1980s when there was perceived massive anti-PAP sentiment. PAP has lost two seats by 1984 and they were planning for the eventuality of what will happen if PAP suffers a "freak election result" and lost power. As explained earlier, they have thought of having a Elected President, supposedly "Pro-PAP", as the last line of defence and platform to handicap the non-PAP government. PAP has been talking about Presidency is not the second power centre... yes, it is not supposed to be when PAP is in power. But if PAP loses power, it will become PAP's second power centre and base for retaking power!
I do not want to see that happening. Political Neutrality is the fundamental pre-requisite for a Truly Independent President. It is not coincident that the most remembered and loved Presidents of the past are all politically neutral in many ways, be it President Sheares or President Wee. President Ong was an unexpected one who acted very independently inspite of his close ties with PAP.
If I do not want to see PAP making use of the Elected Presidency as the platform to enhance their political agenda of retaking power, I would not want to see opposition linked Presidency to do likewise. At this moment, only Tan Kin Lian could be considered as the most Independent candidate in terms of Political Neutrality.
All other three candidates have just quit their party membership just before their announcement of contesting for Presidential Elections. (Tan Kin Lian has quit years ago.) All the other candidates have contested in General Elections before and two of them have political appointments as MP or Minister.
With due respect to Tan Jee Say, if he becomes the President, all his moves would be viewed with contempt by core PAP supporters. If he criticise the PAP government, rightfully or wrongfully, there will always be lingering doubts on whether his criticism is embedded with political agenda or not. This will be the setting for endless political bickering. The same criticism that comes from Tan Kin Lian would not suffer such perceptions.
Some of the candidates have talked about the Presidency as the figure head of unifying Singaporeans. But I really doubt they truly understand what that means.
If either Tony Tan or Tan Jee Say wins and become President, would the core anti-PAP voters and core PAP supporters be happy with the corresponding results? Would they really willing to unite under either of them? But if Tan Kin Lian is the President, even though these opposition supporters or pap supporters may not have voted him, they would find him an acceptable person to become the President.
This is why, in the interest of the Nation, I would rather support Tan Kin Lian instead of Tan Jee Say. Both may perform the same role of checks and balances but Tan Jee Say has the political baggage which may turn the Elected Presidency into the platform which PAP would want to use for politicking in future if they lost power. On top of that, Tan Kin Lian would be in the better position of performing the role of unifying Singaporeans due his political neutrality.
Goh Meng Seng