A simple answer to PM Lee about why there were no Salleh Maricans and Farid Khans in 2011 Presidential Election

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By: Ravi Philemon

PM Lee pointed to the lack of minority candidates in the 2011 Presidential Election to justify the Reserved Presidential Election.

The Straits Times quoted him as saying:

“Where were the Farid Khans and the Salleh Maricans? Why didn’t they come?… Because they knew that in an open election – all things being equal – a non-Chinese candidate would have no chance.”

Having contested an election as a minority candidate, I am disturbed enough by his comments to write this note. Let me explain why.

Simple answer for PM Lee

I declined invitations to contest the 2011 General Election. This was because I was at a different stage of my life. My children were much younger, I had just come back from the USA a few years before and had to re-establish my career here. I did not know if I had the temperament for public life. These were just some of the reasons why I chose to decline those invitations.

Even in 2011, the pool of people who could qualify for the Presidential race was small. It has further shrunk now. There is a reason why we are called the minority. Where the pool of people eligible for a contest is so stringent that it would disqualify the majority, it is no surprise that the pool of minorities within the minority will be even smaller.

I believe there were no Salleh Maricans and Farid Khans at the 2011 Presidential Election, not because they were afraid to go up against the Chinese candidates. They were not there because like me, they were at a different stage in their lives and not ready for public life.

I have a simple answer for PM Lee. More Chinese were at the right stage of their lives to come forward as candidates for the 2011 Presidential Election.

Only 1 opportunist at the 2017 Presidential Election

PM Lee’s comments may also cast doubts on the intentions of minority candidates who step forward – that the minority candidates only step forward when the odds of them winning are higher.

If there was one person who had a distinct advantage at the 2017 Presidential Election, it was Madam Halimah Yacob – not Salleh Marican, not Farid Khan.

These individuals stepped forward, I believe, because of their sense of responsibility to the country. Regardless of the stage of life they were at, I believe these individuals believed that there must be a contest for the highest office of the land – that people should be able to choose.

After publicly thanking Salleh Marican and Farid Khan for offering themselves at the 2017 Presidential Election, I think it is unacceptable for PM Lee to now hurl mud at them.

Pride of being Singaporean

For me, my pride is not in being an Indian. It is in being a Singaporean. This was the reason why I chose not to contest the 2015 General Election as a minority candidate in a GRC, but in an SMC and against a Chinese from the PAP.

I went to the competition knowing that the chances of me losing were high. But I knew that I would lose not because Singaporeans would choose a Chinese over an Indian, but because it is difficult to unseat an incumbent and because of the PAP’s gerrymandering.

 

Of course the PAP has also fielded minorities in SMCs. But the PM’s latest comments suggest that they only field minority candidates in safe wards, in which they are almost assured of victory.

If this was true, it casts a long shadow over the minority candidates that are in the PAP.


Republished with permission from Ravi Philemon’s blog.

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67 comments

  1. If no non-chinese came forward to contest in 2011 then why raise the eligibilty bar so high for a reserved election? LHL must surely have known how many Malays actally run a $500 million company.

  2. Mr Jackson Tan, it is not that the Malays did not do well but because chinese in Singapore are the majority ethnic group therefore, for sure during open PE election, where there are chinese candidates, that person will be voted by chinese voters and eventually the chinese become President.

  3. The reason why there wasn’t such election for the non Chinese was- Mr LKY still around. At then LHL cannot do anything with it. Talking about then 2011 and now since there are 2 Malay candidates and one Indian mix Malay why didn’t LHL let the 3 have a clean fight?

  4. If there was one person who had a distinct advantage at the 2017 Presidential Election, it was Dr Tan Cheng Bock. Steps were taken to eliminate him. Then to be certain, steps were taken to eliminate ALL others except the friend of HoLee Family.

  5. WH Wong says:

    Ravi, well said! Only people of such thinking, mindset and value would see matters and situations in that way and come to such tinted conclusion!

  6. Kelvin Low says:

    He is mimicking his father and trying to outdo him. His biggest desire is 1 million people lining the streets crying at his funeral. There will be two million … but spitting instead.

  7. After you died we sporean will honoured you by erecting 2 statues beside Sir Stamford.
    1. To honour Raffle founder of spore
    2. To honour LKY who built spore.
    3 To honour you who ruined. spore.

    1. Pls dress tus thing in pink.he loves pink so much.and not forgetting to let tis thing wear pink high heel with little bit of sparkling diamonds.i tink tis is wat tis devil wish for when he is dead.

  8. Tito Hsiao says:

    If Singaporeans continue to return the PAP to power in the next GE with a strong majority of say 70% again, this country is doomed. Such conduct from a government that had garnered a majority in the last GE is certainly disturbing. It’s condescending to those who supported them based on perhaps the sentiments regarding the passing of LKY…

    We need to stop reminiscing those good old days when there was a group of old guard PAP cadres and ministers who were genuinely trying to gave the citizens of Singapore opportunities of improving our lives and well-beings; the PAP government of today is certainly not, and do not possess the kind of mission and commitment like their pioneers.

    Better late than never.

  9. PM LHL maybe you forgotten that at the Parliament sitting in February, your cronies already addressed her as Madam President even before the Constitution is approved and date of PE was announced, so don’t think we are stupid.

  10. Facebook Profile photo
    Sam Ham ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Proud to be Singaporean , hope in Singapore Pools, trust in Government, grateful to the Public Servants service, invest in yr CPF retirement , etc

    Everyone born with nothing and die with nothing.
    Everyone is created by A Creator and judged fairly.

    Priorities, focus , goals, values over deceptions.

  11. Ah Soh says:

    We really appreciate that a Malay must be given a chance to be an EP since a few decades had gond by since late Yusoff Ishak. But the burniing issue is did we get one?

    1. Thomas Teo says:

      Simple answer is “NO”, instead, is an Indian selected to walk in thru backdoor to take up the seat. Shameful President can never be recognized and respected by the people.

  12. Lim LG says:

    NONE OF THE MIW CAN BE TRUSTED AT ALL.

    PLS READ THIS

    HIS FT CRONY MINISTER HAD LEAKED IMPORTANT INFORMATION WHEN HE WAS IN MONETARY AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE, WHO WAS CHARGED FOR VIOLATING THE OFFICIAL SECRET ACT.

    AND YET THARMAN STILL CLAIMS THAT “IT DEFINES THAT PAP IS INSISTENCE ON HONESTY, INTEGRITY AND TRUE TO THE SINGAPOREANS”???????

    https://books.google.com.sg/books?id=TwKhBwAAQBAJ&pg=PA109&lpg=PA109&dq=tharman+leaked+important+information+when+he+was+in+mas&source=bl&ots=i6eVwhAWn-&sig=xwqW944j2Ix1D1dLp0_2dZg3gkU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjOgpjPgM7WAhWL6Y8KHXHQBAgQ6AEIGjAE#v=onepage&q=tharman%20leaked%20important%20information%20when%20he%20was%20in%20mas&f=false

    ALL OF THE MIW ONLY CARE FOR THEIR MILLION $ SALARIES AND HIGHEST PAID POLITICIAN SALARIES IN THE WORLD.

    THEY WOULDN’T DARE TO SPEAK AGAINST THEIR CONSCIENCE FOR FEAR OF BREAKING THEIR IRON RICE BOWLS $$$, $$$, $$$

  13. They should have reserved elections for the PM for minority race than it’s only fair. This reserved election is totally unfair as we didn’t get a chance to vote. All the wayang can win an Oscar award.

    1. Jarol Lo says:

      Already there is a loud voce for Mr Tharman to be the next PM. But LHL choose to ignore us. And now talk about Chinese doesn’t want a minority leader. He is really a crook politician.

  14. PM Lee should just keep his mouth shut than keep slapping on own face.
    There’s a Chinese saying 越描越黑..
    Then why 2 outstanding individual Salleh Marican and Faris Khan steps forward in this PE, you didn’t tweak to allow them to contest in election???

    1. See.. we are multi-racial, multi-religion.. ☺️
      basically they mean abt the same..
      When you out of nowhere stir shit, no matter how u clarify, it’s still

  15. Ace Chew says:

    Pinkie’s perm sec should step down giving pinkie such a lame excuse for the PE and pinkie should also step down for telling it’s voters that minority race cannot win the PE of it is not reserved for them, that is racism at the highest form. After passing the legislation, they install a Indian as the president when it is clearly a PE reserved for Malay. 2 outstanding minority step forward and was being rejected. No a single vote casted and the Indian became the president in a reserved PE for Malay. Pinkie has divided the nation. So stop the crap talk and step down lah.

  16. if no malays win in an open election, that only means malays aren’t doing as well as what PM Lee claims at every NDP rally and in this case more help should be rendered to them INSTEAD of tweaking the rules of elections.

    1. Mat Noor says:

      They only raised it to 500m this time. 2011 it was 100m. Obviously this is to make it even more difficult. How many humans in Singapore can make it? Those he highlighted, are not success stories controlling 500m. So it is not relevant in this case.

  17. NEW PAP’s Indian woman qualified for a “restricted-to-Malay” election by NEW PAP-selected Prez Election Council…. I bet if Kong Hee cld select his judges, he prolly can get a “not guilty” verdict too.

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