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Madam Halimah Yacob and the ‘People’s President’ title: Is it earned or appropriated?

Questioning the title ‘People’s President’: Does Madam Halimah Yacob stand in the same legacy as Ong Teng Cheong?



I was watching the live broadcast of Singapore’s National Day parade on Channel News Asia (CNA), commemorating the 58th anniversary of its independence, from the comfort of my computer.

One thing that struck me hard about the live stream’s narration by the national broadcaster was the way she referred to Singapore’s President, Madam Halimah Yacob, as the “People’s President.”

A quick search on Google revealed that this term of hers was coined towards the end of Mdm Halimah’s six-year term.

CNA wrote in one article in late May, “President Halimah Yacob was a people’s President who was a strong advocate for social issues long before she was elected, advocates said…”

It’s puzzling why CNA began referring to Mdm Halimah in this manner. Historically, only Ong Teng Cheong has been referred to as “The People’s President.”

As Singapore’s first elected President from 1993 to 1999, the late Mr Ong was fondly referred to as The People’s President” for his non-partisan stance against the PAP-led government.

Apart from his approach towards his appointment, Mr Ong is the only President Singapore has had since the inception of the presidential election to be appointed with a majority vote.

After Mr Ong’s tenure, the late S. R. Nathan had walkovers in both his presidential elections. Mr Tony Tan narrowly won in 2011 with 35.20% of the vote, surpassing his competitor Tan Cheng Bock by a mere 7,382 votes (0.35%).

Mdm Halimah was sworn in as President following a walkover in the first reserved race election in 2017 after the Presidential Election Committee disqualified two potential candidates from the minority race.

Ong Teng Cheong: “I had a job to do”

Ong Teng Cheong is often remembered for his approachable and down-to-earth style, earning him the moniker of the “people’s president” due to his close connection with the citizens of Singapore.

That is why many Singaporeans find it so sad and disturbing when he was only given a state-assisted funeral instead of a full state funeral and all its honours by the PAP-led government.

For younger Singaporeans who may not know Ong, he was the one who went against powerful opponents in the government, including the likes of Tony Tan, who were against our investment in the Mass Rapid Transit “MRT” system, and together with other pro-rail advocates, they eventually got the MRT “green-lighted” in May 1982.

In an interview with Asiaweek in 2000, after he stepped down as our fifth President, Ong felt that the strike was necessary and viewed it as a success when he told Asiaweek that “I had a job to do… (the strike) only lasted two days. All the issues were settled. It showed the management was trying to pull a fast one.”

Being grounded in Confucius’s values, he finds it compelling to do what is right for Singapore and Singaporeans by calling for a strike and holding the management “socially responsible” for their action.

Ong Teng Cheong passed away on 8 February 2002, at the age of 66, after a prolonged battle with lymphoma.

His contributions to Singapore’s political landscape and society are still remembered and respected because he dared to stand against the political party with which he had aligned for years, simply because he had to do the job he was entrusted with.

In comparison, Mdm Halimah does not appear to have taken any positions during her six-year term that Ong might have taken.

As Singaporeans reflect on the legacies of their past presidents, it becomes imperative to ask: In the evolving tapestry of our nation’s leadership, how should the title ‘People’s President’ be conferred?

Should it be based on popular endorsement, a track record of genuine connection to the citizenry, or an unyielding commitment to the nation’s values? Where does Madam Halimah Yacob truly stand in this discourse?

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CNA is gahmen mouthpiece so what do you expect? They write and publish what they’re told to and garland dress the ones they’re told to. All media outlets that are or were independent were phased or bought out as a strategy of the ruling party taking precautions againt the ‘truth agents’. So naturally HY could even be a warrior and a crime fighter in her spare time if the media wills it. But everyone knows she can’t even walk without being told where to step. The only ‘People’s President’ was OTC. The people voted for him, he stood up and… Read more »

It was selected 🙂

To us opposition, people’s president is the one that check and go against the government.

Since they and their cronies will be bestowing her with pleasantry / honour from now on like the People’s President, may I add my additional honour to be conferred to her, our very own Singapore People’s Kelong Pricksident (SPKP). She can add that salutation to her name card. Maybe this bestowing is a prelude to her eulogy soon?

What had she achieved in her term?

If she is the People’s President, why wouldn’t she offer herself for re-erection? Was she sick? Or she had no confident to stand independently? Pappy had no confidence in her?


Don’t you just ‘love’ the MSM of Fantasy Island?
Very creative and obedient!

She is not my president.

She should be named the unelected President of LHL who will be remembered for removing our right to vote and for participating in a $9m heist of taxpayers’ monies. Completely Shameless to want to share the same title as OTC. The greed of PAP members is never ending.

Only the moon, shooting stars and the deep blue sea will be able to offer a half decent explanation as to why, … there are even supporters and fans of this Joke of a President !!!

I’d much rather the biased and banal media on the island refer to this woman as Pap’s President, … which she is !!!

Suka Suka No Vote

Suka Suka Vote

Wasting 39% Time

mee siam seller. haha