3 Candidates for Singapore Presidency Approved — 2023

Robin Low
2 min readAug 18, 2023

Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Ng Kok Song, Tan Kin Lian are the 3 candidates eligible for Singapore presidential race so far.

2 candidates have strong ties with the PAP, Former GIC chief investment officer has been endorsed by PM Lee Hsien Loong, and Tharman Shanmugaratnam was a PAP minister.

I have no doubt that these men are capable, but I don’t think they will be a good “second key” for the government and I have doubts of their independence from the PAP party.

The role of the Elected President is not only just ceremonial. It is to be second key to the reserves which will be basically a rubber stamp on government spending. I don’t see the 2 party approved candidates veto any of the PM’s decisions, and what we will get is another 5 years of the same — we might just as well have a potted plant as the president .

The third candidate — Mr Tan Kin Lian was also seen in the past as not-as-independent there to dilute votes. Tan Kin Lian served as the chief executive officer of NTUC Income between 1997 and 2007, as many Singaporeans would think how independent he would be, however, his efforts to participate in democratic events in Singapore and voice out his thoughts which may be unpopular with respect to the government may have bought him some trust.

I’ve met him and followed him on Facebook, and I do not agree with some of the things he posts, I still admire him for his tenacity and activeness in just being present during various events at the speakers corner.

For now, he seems to be the most independent candidate, and I was surprised that Mr George Goh did not qualify as it would have been an easy playbook from a long time ago when Singaporeans were allowed to vote in the past.

Having 4 “Tans” gave the PAP chosen candidate — President Tony Tan a win as the declared president-elect with 35.19% of the votes, leading by a 0.34% margin ahead of Tan Cheng Bock. And I would assume the same situation would happen with 4 candidates.

The choice is a lot clearer with 3 candidates. I just hope Singaporeans would vote right although I do think that the goalposts have shifted again and there would not be any rallies this time.

We shall see in the following days.

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Robin Low

Author, Traveler, Innovator. Focuses on Social Impact and Innovation.