[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.
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