Sunday, August 07, 2011

Presidential Economic & Financial Views Redundant

[Note: This is a third party perspective.]

The Presidential Election is heating up. Candidates have started “soft campaigns” to bring their message out and to let voters get to know them.

One in particular caught my interest. Dr Tony Tan has voiced that the president must be someone in a position to share expertise with the government and aid, guide or advise the government where needed.

More specifically, he argues that Singapore’s economic stability will be hurt by a global downturn and that his understanding of the financial markets and role in GIC (Government Investment Corporation of Singapore) make him a suitable candidate. He goes on to say that “GIC is not a government agency, it is a private sector company owned by the Ministry of Finance” (quoted at the sidelines of an event) and because of this, he would be in a better position to share his expertise with the government if he was a president, as opposed to being part of the GIC.

I find this line of argument somewhat strange.

Wouldn’t he have had significant influence and timber for the government to listen to him as the Deputy Chairman of the GIC? After all, the GIC is owned by the Ministry of Finance (MOF), so wouldn’t the MOF take the feedback of the Deputy Chairman of a company they owned seriously? I would think so.

As the Deputy Chairman of the GIC, he would have access to valuable insights into the financial markets given to him from very talented researchers, analysts and portfolio managers within the GIC. Giving up this access to vital information might limit him in his ability to give insights. I find it curious why he is seeking voter acceptance and support just because he claims he might be able to add value and advise the Government in the event of an economic downturn.

Frankly, I don’t think we need a president to give insights to the government on how best to protect Singapore’s economic interests. We are blessed with a very talented Finance Minister. He has steered our economy superbly through the 2008/9 economic slowdown. Over the years, he has put in place sound economic policies that aided many segments of the business community and society at large. In fact, I would think that it is the minister who is more qualified to give the in-coming president insights into the economic situation and what are the best courses of action to take.

I don’t agree with Dr Tony Tan (or any of the other presidential hopeful for that matter), that we should vote for a presidential candidate because of his ability to give insights to the government on economic matters.

Great Expectations

Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this?
Feel free to react below or leave a comment.


Anonymous said...

You are so right. Anybody who is discerning enough could see through TT's hollow statements. In spite of his considerable experience as a minister he is no stateman. He is what I (and the BBC) would called one of those highly educated 'idiots' who for mysterious reasons has chosen to support maleficent regimes perpetuate their dictatorship and control over the population.

TT belongs to an elitist group that pays scant respect to fundamental human rights nor the need to provide opportunities and help to the less fortunate. Some say he has eugenics tendencies and ideas based on his lack of compassion and responsibility for the education of the disabled and handicapped in our midst during his tenure as the Education minster. In fact, up to this very day, such unfortunate members of our society are educationally neglected by the govt which concentrates on hot housing the normal students for largely economic reasons.

To my mind, his aspiration for EP is wholly motivated out of self interest to protect his actions and decisions as dy chairman and exe dir of GIC, made during the financial crisis.
His tendency to abuse his powers can be gleaned from the controversy surrounding the issue of prima facie prevential treatment accord his son's NS. It is as yet unresolved, anf TT had the cheek to ignore it. That is a dishonourable stance to take.

Anonymous said...

Who is he trying to kid here?

If PM & cabinet wants an all-rounded advice, he can get it from his past mentors.LKY, ESM Goh, Nathan, Council of Advisors (to the EP since they are all so wise-&-all-knowing), Jayakumar etc etc..

We don't need another PAP stooge to get in the way of real progress. We also don't need a EP that is confrontational for confrontational sake. The people understand it. What we are asking for is direct Communications with our PResident and more transparency for his on the job performance/achievement. The only people that are trying to confuse everybody is the Party. Because their ears are deaf!