TKL’s election manifesto in action

In Uncategorized on 27/07/2011 at 6:43 am

When TKL talks abt being the  “VOICE of the PEOPLE to carry their views, concerns and aspirations to the Government”, we now know what he means. He will issue a statement on a topical issue, like this  statement on public transport fares.

He publicly called on the transport minister Lui Tuck Yew and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to “take urgent steps to revamp the public transport system in Singapore by increasing the capacity and encouraging more effective competition among the public transport operators” and to give “urgent consideration” to his earlier proposals, including greater regulation.

As to the bit: “Apply my knowledge and expertise to SAFEGUARD their CPF savings and the RESERVES of Singapore”, he will do what he did here, issue a statement querying the S$10.9bn loss at MAS, and then issue this

He certainly is showing that he  is: “INDEPENDENT of the PAP government”. But on “work[ing] with it to find solutions that are best for the people”, I have my doubts.

His very public posturing on “hot” topics comes across as indicating that he believes that the presidency is a “separate political centre” that operates as a check on the cabinet. It’s the in-house Opposition, as opposed to the parliamentary Opposition. TKL has specifically denied that he views the presidency as “a separate political centre”: “I accept that the President’s office is NOT a separate political centre and does not have any executive power.”

But methinks the very public statements (couched in very populist language) on public tpt, the loss at MAS, and the issue of the reserves and the CPF, speak louder than his protestations abt his understanding of  the powers of the presidency. His statements imply that the presidency is a bully pulpit for him to articulate the “people’s” views, “The elected president can play a useful role in being an additional channel for the people to bring legitimate issues to the attention of the Government”.

US presidents routinely use the presidency as a bully pulpit. Note the US president has executive powers and is a  “separate political centre”, and the use of the presidency as a bully pulpit is a natural development of his powers and role as a “separate political centre”.

TKL’s attempts to straddle the PAP’s views of the role of the presidency and the even more activist role championed by Goh Meng Seng, his adviser, and the anonymous voices on the internet seems flakey by comparison to Tan Jee Say’s more robust views, ”the office of President is what the President makes it out to be. He can be as quiet and inactive as he chooses to be. Or he can be active. I want to be an active President, engaging the nation on issues of conscience and promoting worthy causes”.

In short, TKL’s manifesto is rojak. If voters want rojak, that’s fine with me (BTW I like rojak as a dish). But they should know it is rojak and not “mee siam with hum” or steak.

  1. […] Election – Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: TKL’s election manifesto in action – Andrew Loh: The presidency is not a feedback channel – flâneurose: What a Non-PAP elected […]

  2. I am pretty sure that if Tan Kin Lian is elected, he will learn fast on the job on how to work with the government (rather than against it). At least his attitude is better than acknowledging defeat before you even try.

    • I’d rather not risk it. If he doesn’t learn, S’pore will be laughing stock of this region. President feeding back coffee shop chatter to the govmin.

      And worse, RI will be laughed at. Even though he not true blue RI boy — 6yrs, not 4.

  3. I did an article on the double standards being applied.

    If you say nice things about the PAP, it is not politicizing..
    If you offer an alterantive view, it is politicizing.

    If you are game, let’s do another debate.

    • Na, I agree with yr “politizing” point.

      I don’t like TKL’s attempts to openly agree with PAP while “opposing” it.

      And I certainly don’t like a “feedback” president. So many channels already, but if frogs are deaf, no pt. Winning more GRCs is the way to go, not a wayanging president.

  4. I think most Singaporeans would rather have a “feedback” president than a president that continuously sing praises of how good the PAP is.

    Also I don’t think Singaporeans want a President who sees them suffer, shrug his shoulders and say “Sorry …. not my job to say or do anything for you.”

  5. Aren’t you reading a little too much into the tea leaves for the opportunity to justify your bias? TKL isn’t the EP yet, so why are you so ready to decide what he would or would not be when he is one. Maybe you care to share also your conclusions on the others like TT and TCB. Otherwise, your pre-formed bias ie prejudice, against TKL is only too apparent to others.

  6. We need someone strong and eloqent that could nuggle the current PM Lee government. A outspoken president that hear and speak for the people is a president i want. Nathan is a president that i think don’t deserve the millions he is making, i maybe wrong but let us see his soon to be released memoir to judge his worth. i rest my case.

  7. There is a posting entitled “A Gauge of Singaporeans’ Political Maturity & Sophistication” in my humble blog Your readers may wish to take a look and give some comments.


  8. As I see it, the presidential elections are nothing more than a sideshow, since the reins of power remain in the hands of the PAP in Parliament. Its not even an accurate barometer of public sentiment, since there are plenty of Singaporeans who are so dislocated from their true selves that they will keep on voting PAP despite openly declaring they hate them.

    As atans1 mentioned, the best hope for political change for this country is to get the deaf frogs to keep shooting themselves in the foot, which I have no doubt they will keep doing if Chan Chun Sing is the best they can dig out from their tiny pool of candidates.

  9. @”I don’t like TKL’s attempts to openly agree with PAP while “opposing” it.”

    Have you not heard of what is “agreeing to disagree” ?

    @”And I certainly don’t like a “feedback” president. So many channels already, but if frogs are deaf, no pt. Winning more GRCs is the way to go, not a wayanging president.”

    What is your yardstick to measure TKL at this point of time, when he is only a candidate? Are you suggesting he is one?

    For roles and responsibilities of the EP, these could be and are defined by the Constitution.

    When its “Voice of the People” … The Constitution would not be able to define this, or rather dictate the “scope” of what people want to say freely.

    Obviously, the EP will be intelligent enough to reflect the “Voice of the People” only relating to his “Roles and responsibilities”. Certainly, this should not be a “minority” voice. Whether or not the EP will “go wrong” whilst speaking up, it is a performance issue. Choose one who is logically with the right “values”.

    Due to “structural issues” with governance as pointed out by Mr Tan KL, is it then necessary to see where the thin line falls between the role and responsibilities of the Govt with “executive powers” and those of the EP with “custodial powers”? Our Govt now wants to keep them separate and distinct.

    So if MPs and the Govt., given the “executive” powers; chose to “ignore” or “keep quiet”, should the EP then speaks up as “”Voice of the People”, while representing the majority (both technically, as empowered by the people’s votes; and practically, as collecting and representing people’s views)

    Next is whether the Constitution should give the EP a “leeway” to say more outside his “authorised” roles and responsibilities which are defined by the Constitution. Again, if the Govt refuses to amend the Constitution in this respect, can the EP raise this up openly?

    • It is precisely because of the pts that you raise that I think that TKL should have contested the GE, not use PE to effect change. All attempts to define, change or modify the role of PE should be via the Parly. But as he said he “bo chap” to run constituency, even though he talks the talk on responsibility.

      Furthermore Tan Jee Say, TT and TCB are very open abt what kind of president they intend to be. For that I respect all three of them, even though I disagree with two of them. But I do not respect TKL’s attempt to openly agree with the PAP version of PE while sending a coded message to voters abt being the “people’s voice”. Trying to be too clever by half.

      Sounds too LKYish for me.

      • I am quite puzzled by what you are trying to say. How is TKL not ‘open’ as compared to the others? You seems to be the one that’s complicating what TKL is trying to say. It seems to me it’s your mind and thinking and how you choose to interpret his statements, that’s the problem! You shouldn’t be projecting your interpretation on others. If you don’t understand, why not seek his clarification instead of making your sweeping statements about his intention, etc. That’s the proper way to engage, anyone, instead of jumping to your own conclusions, or is it delusion/

      • I judge him by what he says, not what he thinks he is saying.

  10. @”It seems to me it’s your mind and thinking and how you choose to interpret his statements, that’s the problem! You shouldn’t be projecting your interpretation on others.”

    I strongly agree with Anon. 29 July 12am.

    You are not “open” too…as some posting of comments are also “guarded” by you. What are the reasons you hold back these comments on your postings and comments? You have your own expectations and interpretation. There are alternative views … whether or not more superior than yours. So be “open” yourself.

    • What talk you? Very serious allegation.

      If I have blocked any responses that you know of, give me the evidence.

      Anyway if yr heloo TKL can block emails, why can’t I. Double standards. Not that I have done so.

      So you resorting to name calling? If you disagree with my analysis, you got yr blog, blog on it.

      Don’t resort to TKL/ PAP tactics of name calling and making allegations.

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