Monday, November 24, 2008

Why He Should Not Run

Yesterday, the Strait Times reported about Mr Tan Kin Lian’s political ambitions and that he was mulling a bid presidency of Singapore. This announcement was kind of unexpected mainly because Mr. Tan had never announced any intention to run for public office, and the man was a member of the People’s Action Party for 30 years. Bidding for office means that a PAP stalwart is now going against the party’s leadership.

However what really surprised me when reading the article was that Mr. Tan indicated a sense of disappointment at the current leadership of the PAP. Mr. Tan said that the PAP is now too far from ordinary Singaporeans and no longer in touch with the ground.

Now I think Mr. Tan is somewhat right on this. The current leadership of the PAP is filled with scholars and people who got their education overseas. How much do they know about ordinary Singaporeans? Mr. Tan is also quite popular with Singaporeans nowadays as he was the lone PAP voice who stood up for the investors in the ongoing Lehman minibonds saga.

So why do I think he SHOULDN’T run for presidency?

I think he shouldn’t run because chances are that he would not be ‘qualified’ to run for the presidency. Mr. Tan seems to know this and is trying to offset this by collecting 100,000 signatures from Singaporeans. He is clearly trying to indicate that he has genuine grassroots support to contest the presidency.

I highly doubt that it will matter. If the PAP doesn’t want you to contest the election, then chances are that you are not ‘qualified’ to run for the presidency. So unless Mr. Tan get an okay from the PAP leadership, I think he has no chance to contest for the presidency. If Mr. Tan has any political ambitions, I think it would be more viable for him to join an opposition political party and contest in a General Election. That way at least, he can be certain to be on the ticket.

Considering his popularity nowadays, I believe Mr. Tan can make a big splash on the Singapore political scene but that’s only if he can stand for election. And the chances of Mr. Tan being a candidate for a Presidential Election is low at best.

That’s why I think he should forget about the Singapore presidency and concentrate on the next General Election. The chances for him will be much better there.


Anonymous said...

Of course he won't stand a chance, not with his involvement in the Lehman minibonds saga and his earlier attempt to take the NTUC Income management to task over the bonus issue. If they allowed him to stand for the presidential election and he is elected, they are going to have another Ong Teng Cheong on their hands. Nah, it is too risky for them. He won't even go past the vetting stage. They may move the goalpost.

Anonymous said...

So the Pap will choose their own president,what is the point of having EP then ? waste time and resources, better just appoint one will do, appoint a yes man and just collect 3 over million per annum !!

Anonymous said...

which is why the WP opposes to EP

Anonymous said...

The point of having EP is, well, just hold the second key lor, like a security guard. When the boss say, give me the key, can he not obey? The principle is the same, only the pay is different lah!

Ghost said...

...everyone seems to agree his chances in a Singapore presidency is low. That's why I think Mr. Tan should concentrate on a General Election instead.

Anonymous said...

I think he is just throwing a dummy granade to create some confusion in the PAP camp. Asking for 100,000 people to endorse his bid is a rather tall order, and seriously, I don't think he himself thinks it is attainable.

Donaldson Tan said...

I am actually waiting for the PSC to respond by saying "do not politicise the presidential application process".

However, whether Tan KL enter politics or not, the 100,000 signatures would be a good wake-up call to the PAP as it would be an instrument to indicate public dissent with the PAP.

No rosy image from Straits Times can supercede it, unless people choose to forget it. We all must remain aware of PAP propaganda machinery.

Anonymous said...

It is a propaganda machinery alright, intent on total control of every aspect of Singaporean's lives and what better way than to create a one party system.

The bad part is that they have already change the laws pertaining to the control of most of the important aspects of your life, eg CPF, HDB, voting system and rules etc. The final nail in Singaporean's coffin will be the single party system which will take away even your last remaining right, which is your vote. If that is gone, we better start saying our prayers.

feedmetothefish said...

I'm hope that they don't do a Mr JB Jeyaratnam or a Mr Chee Soon Juan on him.

With the "vindictiveness" as mentioned by Mr Said Zahari in "Zahari's 17 Years", Mr Tan Kin Lian could end up like Mr Francis Seow in USA or Mr Tang Liang Hong in Australia.

Let's wish Mr Tan Kin LIan a safe political journey.

Anonymous said...

So you are actually saying like all of us have been thinking, that
the Presential election is STAGED!
I wonder why they bother to amend from an appointed to election one or in the case of the present incumbent, selected one

Anonymous said...


If they can fake democratic, what else they cannot fake?


Joseph said...

I am tempted to start an online collection of signatories to the tune of 200,000 AGAINST the idea of Mr Tan Kin Lian running for the Singapore Presidency or MP in the next GE, but I am afraid the success of this and the attention to this "stunt" of his, would be too much of a flattery to a man, whom, in my personal opinion, is merely out to claim the limelight, now that he is in his twillight years.

2 main reasons I will never vote in favour of this man:

1. I do not think that he is articulate enough, nor possess have the presence and charisma to fill the role as Singapore's President.

2. In my personal opinion, this man's actions, are at times, bordering on contradictions and hypocracy. Why I say so?

(A) Wasn't he the man at the helm of NTUC Income for 30 years, but did nothing, and in fact, allowed the provisions embedded into NTUC Income Insurance policies, which was later invoked by the Insurer (NTUC Income), to make unilateral changes to the Bonus payment schemes? He seemed to only protest AFTER he left NTUC Income (under much publicised and unhappy circumstances - if my memory serves me well) and some of his own Insurance Policies were affected by the changes. If he was so against such practises, why did he not remove these embedded provisions when he was the CEO for the past 30 years?

(B) Till this day, he still insists that his idea for IDAC was a brilliant idea that should be forced down everyone's throat. My personal experience with the IDAC scheme was that it made matters worse for Policyholders. The reason was simple: IDAC uses a reverse-auction system to bid for the repair jobs. "Quality workshops" get the repair jobs by bidding at ridiculously low costs, then cut corners in the course of the repairs so that they can still turn a profit. Non "Quality Workshops" can only handle 3rd party claims repairs - this means that their market share is less than 50% since at the peak, NTUC Income accounted for more than 50% of all insured vehicles - so the only way to still survive, was to increase (or rather, inflate) the cost of the claims they file on In my case, the IDAC scheme resulted in a repair bill of $800 by NTUC Income's "Quality Wokshop" for my repairs vs. a bill for $8,000+ in third-party claims even though the collision occurred at a speed of 30 km/h and the damage to other party's car was limited to the rear bumper (of a 13 year-old Toyota Corona). Worst of all, the "repairs" done by the "Quality Workshop" resulted in more problems to my car, which took more than a year to rectify eventually, while NTUc Income very happily paid the inflated claims by the third-party claimant even though I sent well researched evidence to NTUC Income to prove that the $8,000+ claims were inflated. Why? The reason was simple - as Mr Tan Kin Lian rightly pointed out in his Blog (AFTER he is no longer CEO of NTUC Income) - insurers pay up to avoid costly litigation costs. Furthermore, such costs are recovered the following year in the increased insurance premiums. I had written numerous times directly to Mr Tan Kin Lian when he was the CEO of NTUC Income, but never once addressed my concerns, nor sort to improve on an obviuosly flawed idea. So why does he still champion such an obviously flawed system? Perhaps "None Are So Blind As Those Who Will Not See The Truth" (to lift a line off Mr Tan KL himself).

Anonymous said...

'If they can fake democracy, what else they cannot fake?'

Spot on!

Ghost said...

The PAP might be more careful about maintaining power than they ought to be but there's nothing fake about our democracy. The last election they had aboout 70% of the vote. And that's after the opposition did not contest in about half of the seats because they have no chance in them. Nothing fake about having 70% of the vote