SINGAPORE: On Sunday (13 Aug), Presidential hopeful Ng Kok Song in an interview highlighted his extensive 45-year experience in shaping Singapore’s past reserves through public service roles, positioning himself as uniquely advantageous among competitors.
He pointedly emphasized that comprehending the intricacies of safeguarding Singapore’s past reserves is “not easy to understand”.
While Ng acknowledged that former Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam is well-versed in the complexities of this task, he expressed his belief that the remaining potential candidates, Entrepreneur George Goh and former CEO of NTUC Income Tan Kin Lian, have yet to exhibit a comprehensive understanding.
Both Tan Kin Lian and George Goh refuted Ng’s statement, asserting their aptitude to protect Singapore’s past reserves.
Tan Kin Lian cited NTUC Income’s asset growth from $28 million in 1977 to $17 billion in 2007 during his three-decade tenure as CEO.
He stated, “I manage NTUC income, and in my last year before I left, the total assets was s$17 billion, it’s quite big, it’s more than sufficient.”
“Over 30 years managing the assets has been very important, and I have certain principles about investing for the long term, investing in the secure Investments to give a good long-term return.”
Hence, Mr Tan believed that his experience is probably as good as GIC, maybe better as he does know how to grow the assets.
the two-time contender for Singapore’s presidency was responding to media query on Monday (14 Aug) on the sidelines of a visit to Kopitiam Square food centre in Sengkang.
Tan Kin Lian emphasized his careful stewardship of NTUC Income due to the significance of the savings for over a million Singaporeans.
He acknowledged that the asset growth wasn’t solely attributed to his efforts, as Singapore’s economy also contributed.
“but you need to be managing it prudently in order to get good results,” Mr Tan added.
Cultivating well-rounded policy-making as an Independent President
On the other hand, Mr Tan expressed his aspiration to maintain independence from the government while fostering collaboration to cultivate well-rounded policy-making, amplifying diverse viewpoints including those of non-PAP politicians and PAP supporters.
” I want to be independent of the government, but I want to work with the government.”
“Because to make a change, you cannot be in confrontation, it doesn’t produce a result. Even the government side must also recognize that you need to hear the voices of other sites you cannot just be on one voice.”
He endeavors to amplify the collective voice of Singapore’s populace, encompassing the perspectives of both non-PAP politicians and PAP supporters.
“Because they are also affected by the cost of living, the cost of housing, they are also affected, ” Mr Tan said.
Mr Tan underlined his intent to resonate with the broader public sentiment, thus fostering more balance in the formulation of policies.
He said this can only be done cordially between the president and the prime minister.
“I don’t intend to be involved in politics because politics does not solve problems. Even the government must also not play politics, we just want to see what is the best solution to the problem that the people face. ”
Addressing another matter, Mr Tan expressed confusion over the campaigning guidelines provided by the Elections Department (ELD). A particular point of uncertainty involved the permissibility of activities such as walkabouts prior to Nomination Day.
Initially announcing his intention to conduct daily walkabouts starting last Saturday, he subsequently rescinded his Sunday plans following the issuance of ELD guidelines. However, he ultimately reinstated the walkabouts on Monday.
He lamented the ambiguity surrounding the allowance of walkabouts, sharing, “There’s some uncertainty about (whether) walkabouts are allowed or not, whether I have to cancel my walkabouts, because I thought it’s not allowed.”
“Then I’m told, ‘oh, it’s allowed’, so I’m here to walk around. So these are not fair to people.”
Furthermore, Mr Tan reiterated his concerns regarding the tight schedule preceding the presidential election, scheduled for Nomination Day on 22 August, and Polling Day on 1 September, if a contest arises.
Highlighting the mere 10-day window separating Nomination Day and Polling Day, a period that excludes the campaign-restricted Cooling-off Day, Mr Tan emphasized that this duration is inadequate for effectively conveying his message to the electorate.
“I want to tell the people of Singapore it is quite a difficult task for me so they must give me the support,” Mr Tan said.