SINGAPORE: The leader of Singapore’s Democratic Party, Dr Chee Soon Juan, shared unbiased opinions on his selection of former NTUC Income CEO Tan Kin Lian as President, despite his reservations, through a Facebook post on Wednesday (30 Aug).
Dr Chee highlighted several facts of why he agreed with the presidential candidate, despite having his support for Mr Tan’s candidacy for this Presidential Election swayed after hearing utterances on his issues over the past week.
Dr. Chee said, “For all that he has expressed, much of which as I pointed out I vehemently disagree with, Mr Tan Kin Lian is a good man. I share his views on CPF, high salaries of elected officials, and National Service.”
“I am not enthusiastic, for different reasons, about all three candidates,” he remarked, “and yet, come Friday, I have to make a decision.”
He decided to adopt the “lesser of two evil” mindset and choose who he thinks is the best for Singapore’s sake.
He quoted an important life lesson: “ Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
Tan Kin Lian on CPF and NS
Mr Tan had previously mentioned that he would bring up concerns pertaining to the withdrawal age for Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings and the length of national service (NS) with the Government if he becomes head of the state.
He told The Straits Times that he had received feedback from “many people (to) do something about the CPF (as they) need to get the money out earlier,” due to the high cost of living.
As the former chief executive of NTUC income, he stated that he is “quite clear what a good way is, (and) it’s not the current way,” when speaking about the CPF’s rules.
Similarly, he stated that the feedback he has received calling for NS obligations to be shortened “echoes the views of tens of thousands of Singaporeans every year.”
“We should let our young people serve the country, but they don’t need to serve for two years, and the country can afford to pay them better allowance,” he said. “I (have held) this opinion for 20 years.”
Voting “to build a democratic society, based on justice and equality”
Dr Chee explained the real reason why he found himself advocating for Mr. Tan during this late phase of the election:
“All of Mr Tan’s transgressions pale in comparison to the damage that Mr Tharman’s (former) party has done to democracy in Singapore and, more importantly, the harm it will continue to inflict on our nation’s future development,” he said.
He added by saying that, Mr. Tan’s views are not immutable, and “he can be educated through debate and discussion to see things differently (as with his apology about women.)”
“for all his foibles, carries with him the hope that, if elected, we can start to pry open, one finger at a time, the PAP’s suffocating grip on our country and start the arduous but exciting process of building democracy for our nation,” Dr. Chee said.
In his post, he expressed that despite the imperfections of the choice to be made on Friday, the decision should be evident if it contributes to constructing a democratic society grounded in principles of justice and equality.
“I choose Singapore,” Dr Chee said.
Additionally, Dr. Chee acknowledges Mr Tharman to be the most cerebral of the three candidates.
However, he pointed out that it’s impossible to disregard the fact that for more than two decades, “he was part of the ruling clique that systematically stripped Singaporeans of their voice and ability to choose their own leaders.”
In light of this, he outlined a few of the aspects he had objected to:
- Mr Tharman was in the party that changed the rules of the Elected Presidency so that Madam Halimah Yacob walked into the Istana without challenge,
- enacted yet more changes to the PE so that previously eligible candidates are now disqualified,
- introduced the GRC system that has enabled his party’s overwhelming hold on parliamentary power,
- legislated Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) which further curtailed free speech in Singapore, and
- allowed ministers to rent enormous state-owned bungalows while herding Singaporeans into tiny flats – the list rolls on
He further commented by stating that “to believe now that he is independent running for president is to believe that water flows upwards.”
As for Mr Ng Kok Song, Dr. Chee stated that “he and Mr Tharman are but two different shades of grey.”