Who will be the candidate establishment for PE2023? Maybe Khaw Boon Wan
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It is not too early to talk about the next presidential election scheduled for 2025, which is not that far away. Will Dr. Tan Cheng Bock enter the contest again? And who will be the establishment’s candidate?
Dr Tan, founder of the Progress Singapore Party and former PAP MP for Ayer Rajah, will be 83 by then. Will he be too old? Regardless of whether he intends to run again and whether he will be eligible under new constitutional requirements etc., he should not be considered too old, provided he is still in good health. . There would be a good number of sympathy votes which could make him a serious contender, as he was considered to have been ‘deprived’ of a second shot in 2017 after his near-election in 2011.
For now, though, let’s focus on the establishment favorites. Of course, as they say, in politics, two years is an eternity. But, in this transitional period of Singapore’s political history, with younger leaders taking over and older ones stepping down, certain pieces are falling into place. The image becomes clearer.
We are experiencing our version of Japanese amakudari – “descending from heaven”, the institutionalized practice where senior Japanese officials retire to senior positions in the private and public sectors. In this case, we are looking for one to occupy the top of the pyramid.
The pool of potential candidates for the next presidential election is not limited. Former senior officials? Why not Lim Siong Guan, the former head of the civil service? Why not, indeed ? He is currently an advisor to the Group Executive Committee of GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. He was group president of GIC from 2007 until his retirement at the end of 2016. Eminently eligible. Former Cabinet Ministers? A lot. Ex-ministers – George Yeo, Lee Boon Yang. Current ministers who could resign – Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Teo Chee Hean. Also, a number of members of the Council of Presidential Advisors would be appropriate, if they were willing to step out of the shadows into the public spotlight.
The two factors that I believe are critical in the selection of candidates are impeccable public service and completely closed lips when it comes to the actual amount of Singapore’s reserves or sovereign wealth funds.
Tharman and Teo cannot be ruled out.
Teo should be a good president. He even looks presidential. But does he want it?
Tharman is best placed where his expertise as an economist can be put to greater use. The World Bank Group/International Monetary Fund nods. It can continue to serve Singapore’s interests outside the country.
I limit the top potential presidential candidates to three.
Lim Siong Guan is a strong possibility.
Ho ChingPrime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, coming with her Temasek experience, will be another potential candidate – if not 2025, then 2030.
But the person who caught my eye recently is Khaw Boon Wan.
I see him as a national and public official par excellence.
He did a good job of containing SARS. He saved the MRT from a massive mess created and left behind by incompetent incumbents. He was sent to oversee the transition of SPH.
And, unexpectedly, the public learned that he was even tasked with overseeing the selection of Finance Minister Lawrence Wong as Prime Minister-designate.
He seems to be someone whom the national senior leadership trusts completely and is always ready to serve.
No reason why he can’t be the establishment’s next candidate for EP2025. Not at all.
It’s time to change the MRT seats to face forward
A train ride, Singaporeans are discovering, may not be such a good way to get to work. There are too many people and, as a study has shown, this may be a reason why people prefer to work from home. I am okay.
People are more likely to want to return to their workplace rather than continuing to log in from home if MRT trains are, on the one hand, less crowded and, on the other hand, the journey times are shorter. That’s the conclusion of a study by Nanyang Technological University published in Travel Behavior and Society – a journal of the Hong Kong Society for Transportation Studies – in January, according to a report by the Straits Times.
For longer journeys, I often prefer to take the bus. Our buses are getting better and if you can find a quiet corner on a double decker bus they offer a much better ride than being locked up and thrown right and left on MRT trains with their seats facing each other rather than before. face-to-face seats found on trains in other developed countries.
Tan Bah Bah, Consulting Editor of TheIndependent.Sg, is a former senior editor of the Straits Times. He was also the editor of a local magazine publishing house.
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