Former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Calvin Cheng joins several prominent figures who have spoken out after it was announced this week that Halimah Yacob will be Singapore’s next President by walkover.
In a Facebook post, Cheng pointed out that the only Singapore head of state who was elected “through a genuine contest” was President Tony Tan since President Ong Teng Cheong faced a reluctant opponent and since President SR Nathan also became president by walkover.
Cheng also called for more individuals to step up to contest future elections to “preserve the dignity” of the office of President.
We republish his post in full here:
“The PEC is fully independent – this I am confident of. Marican Salleh and Farid Khan did not automatically qualify on the corporate criteria and had to be put through the deliberative track. The PEC made the decision that their mitigating factors were insufficient, and disqualified them. Whether this was right or wrong, it’s subjective; afterall thats what ‘deliberation’ is about.
“What I am disappointed in is that there were clearly other candidates who could automatically qualify but didn’t put themselves forward. There are several other former Malay ex-Ministers, as well as Malay corporate bigwigs who DO helm corporations with at least 500m in shareholder equity.
“Why didn’t they step up? The Presidency is the highest office in the land in protocol, and when duty calls, one would have thought that good men and women will answer.
“It now stands that Dr. Tony Tan is the only President who was ever elected through a genuine contest. Mr. Ong Teng Cheong contested against a reluctant opponent who actually endorsed his rival on national TV; Mr. SR Nathan and now Madam Halimah were both elected in walkovers.
“This cannot be good for the dignity of the office of President.
“This cannot be good for Singapore.
“I do hope that in future, men and women of stature will come forward more readily to contest to be our elected Head of State. The President is the personification of our state, and holds the second key to our reserves.
“There are few calls to duty that are more important to Singapore and Singaporeans.
“Singaporeans deserve to vote for their elected Head of State.
“Please step up.”