Like how we predicted! Halimah Yacob, our 3rd Indian President and 2nd from the Malay Community

Raced based politics is problematic as it highlights our differences. What we need is to foster unity and togetherness. In all probability, Halimah is very likely to be our next President, only because she is Malay and anointed by PAP. A bad precedent for a young nation like ours.

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Halimah-Yacob PAP endorsed candidate for the 2017 presidential elections.

By Kumaran Pillai

Like how we predicted!

Even a good striker like Tan Cheng Bock can miss the net with the ever shifting of the presidential goalposts. Make no mistake, our next president is Mdm Halimah Yacob, she is of mixed Indian-Malay descent and is slated to represent the establishment in the upcoming presidential elections.

This has got little to do with affirmative action to create a level playing field for the minorities, especially the Malays in Singapore. One journalist from the Malay community has dubbed this as the “Trojan Horse.”

He is not wrong in saying that, both Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Abdullah Badawi, the former prime ministers of Malaysia have said that race politics has only set their country behind in terms of economic progress. I am sure that our ruling elite knows that race politics is an affront to our meritocratic and democratic principles. But for now, it seems like they care little about it.

There is plenty to gain for the ruling elite from this political manoeuvring – the person holding the second key is a staunch party loyalist, is popular with her grassroots and in the unlikely event that the PAP loses the next general election (it doesn’t seem so), the economic structures that support their clientelist style (or crony capitalism) can be safeguarded while the PAP is spending time in wilderness.

You need to give it to them for protecting their turf with total impunity. This is beyond authoritarianism.

There is also another purpose in doing this – it also serves as an important lesson for any PAP backbenchers who have any design of abandoning the PAP later in their careers. The only place that they can go from the backbench is the side-line as an onlooker.

That’s all, don’t nurse any lofty ideals, Cheng Bock. Besides you have already milked the PAP goodwill and became a Chairman of a listed company in Singapore. That was above your pay-grade, the PAP folks say.

And to aim any higher is “self-serving and selfish,” according to another former PAP backbencher and current Deputy Attorney General, Mr Hri Kumar.

Halimah Yacob was also a PAP backbencher, not too long ago. Thanks to a sex vixen Laura Ong, who brought down Michael Palmer in a scandal in 2012, Halimah was chosen as the Speaker of the House.

Sadly, most people don’t see her meteoric rise as the head of state as meritocratic. And her appointment as the next president of Singapore will be plagued by how she benefited from the race politics of PAP.

Clientelism is all about rewarding loyalty. It has nothing to do with meritocracy. And we knew this all along, anyways.

So, let’s just move on…

Reserved Election is a Can of Worms

So, we’re having a hiatus-triggered-reserved-election for the Malay community because we didn’t have any Malay President elected into office in the previous five elections leading up to the current presidential elections. How nice!

But, we’re not sure who was our first elected president – Was it Wee Kim Wee or Ong Teng Cheong? If the parliament says it’s Wee Kim Wee, then it is Wee Kim Wee. What you and I think, doesn’t really matter!

The real bone of contention, in some circles, is about the Malayness of the potential candidates. It seems odd that that three of the four candidates that have stepped forward are of mixed heritage and not ethnically Malay. This is hotly debated and discussed in social media.

I only learnt this a few days ago that the colonial government introduced the Malay Land Reservation Enactment in 1913 and needed a definition for “Malay.” A Malay is anyone who speaks the Malay language, follows the Malay customs and is a Muslim.

What’s even more interesting about this is, while there is a debate raging on the Internet about Halimah not being Malay enough, the UMNO, a political party in Malaysia, is thinking of co-opting Indian Muslims as part of the Malay community in Malaysia. Hmm…

Apparently, Muslims of Indian decent have contributed immensely for the welfare of the Malay community since the Gujarati traders of India brought Islam to South East Asia.

The Indians were also founding members of the Penang’s first Malay Association in 1927 and were involved in the establishment of UMNO in Penang.

Dr M, the former prime minister of Malaysia is not pure Malay, Zainal Abidin Rasheed, the former Mayor of North-East CDC is not pure Malay and the list goes on and on. It is safe to say that there is no such thing as a “pure” Malay race. Their “Malayness” is based on the culture that they have adopted and the language that they speak at home.

The Malays are a set intersection of Indians, Arabs, Javanese, Chinese and Parkistanis. So, there is little to quarrel about the “Malayness” of the otherwise Malay candidates. This matter will come to pass.

So, like all debates in Singapore, let’s move on….

The Malay candidates can change this

The so-called Malay candidates can do one thing to reverse this and only they can do this. They can choose not to participate in this charade and not be manipulated by the powers that be.

They are doing the Malay community no favours by stepping forward – not that the average income of the Malays is going to rise because of their term in office.

There is already disquiet in the Malay community and their voice will get louder. The minorities are capable of producing the next president of Singapore. No need to go down this path of race politics – it only highlights the differences in us. We need to foster togetherness, our similarities and what binds us as a society.

If no Malay steps forward, we’ll be forcing the government to call for an open election. We welcome anybody – Chinese, Indian, Malay or Others to contest in an open election and Singaporeans are capable of voting based on their talents and not because of their ethnicity.

And if Halimah wins in a fair-open-election, we can then proudly introduce her as having attained the highest office of this land because of merit.

Kumaran Pillai is the publisher and editor-in-chief of this publication

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150 comments

  1. It doesn’t matter whether she represents the Malays which the Government says she is, by reserving it for a Malay, or Indians which she would be by birth, in actual fact, by being a President elected by the people of Singapore, she should be representing everybody in Singapore, irrespective of race or religion which seems to be a big factor here, but in reality she would be answering to a boss who is Chinese. It is all very complicated and convoluted but this is the way politics is conducted in Singapore.

  2. Facebook Profile photo
    Alan Wong ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Every election, PAP always remind us no racial politics . But for this coming Presidential Election, suddenly racial politics has become very important. Now which is which, can our PAP elites don’t be so hypocrite can or not ? I am now confused, not amused.

  3. Facebook Profile photo
    Lester Kok ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Mr. Pillai…a well-penned piece, giving credit where credit is due. But I shall go out on a limb here with this prognostication for September: Halimah will not be elected in a contest, but only through default. I have opined to Pikachoo a while back that in general I’m in favor of some affirmative action for the highest symbolic office in the land, but the criteria and the rush to implement it are simply insane. The only issue I have with Dr. Tan C B’s challenge to the status quo is that it was too little too late. I have faith in the maturity of the voters in September to see to it that presidential exclusion by constitutional diktat is not acceptable.

    1. Facebook Profile photo
      Kumaran Pillai ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      It is difficult to draw a meaningful conclusion to a piece like this, because there isnt a single right answer. In my first draft, I made a personal appeal to Halima not to contest and to force an open election. But after discussing with my editors, we felt that appealing to all candidates would be better.
      We will certainly reflect your point in our other pieces. Thank you.

  4. Honestly one who forgets their roots should never represent us the Singaporeans. If she had come out clean we would have respected her more. She will never be my President in my books. I rather vote Fandi Ahmed.

  5. Govt prefer to have an incapable million dollar president. Our million dollars. If it’s a few thousand dollar salary president doing nothing, we don’t bother that much. But using our money to pay a worthless person doing shit? This govt is a joke, why don’t PM use HIS PAY TO PAY THAT PRESIDENT. Don’t touch the publics money

  6. James See says:

    Pls use your brain instead PK Ang, the last EP Tony Tan got how many % votes vs Dr. Tan? If including opp TJS votes I think KFC can go eat grass liao? This is why LHL is so worried for losing control of power under a rightful person to safeguard our national funding. So to appoint all by himself & avoid elected by local citizens! Tell me then is this call democracy regardless of race? U r typically balls licker brainless idiot!

  7. Sas Karma says:

    Sorry to say, this Pappets will never gain my respect! I love my country, but I hate this present pap government. This government is the greatest embrassement in all of Singapore’s history!!! Totally shameful!!!!

  8. Lhl fears TCB but apart from race TCB doesn’t meet the other criteria. So the rules are aimed at preventing another potential candidate -his brother LHY

  9. Hey 70 percent , u don’t have to vote PAP this elections, cos simply it won’t cause instability. Actually this is the best time to vote a non establishment candidate.

  10. Jairus Lau says:

    WOW! Kill two birds with one stone. Unlike, Barak Obama, black, President (2009-2017), USA, or Manmohan Singh, sikh, Prime Minister (2004-2014), India. Black 12% USA, Sikh 2% India. Singapore, 100 female for every 96 male. Women majority. WOW! WOW! Kill three birds with one stone!

  11. 康妮洪 says:

    Already President without election?if not, why is the subject matter referred her as “our 3rd Indian President “? She used to be my law lecturer and I never enjoyed her lessons because her lectures were very boring!

  12. We all know the real purpose behind this race-based candidacy. It’s just nobody really cares who gets “elected”. They just want business as usual and their property “value” to keep going up.

  13. What the public here don’t realise the challenge the country faces as we had it good the past few decades. We use words like equality and meritocracy like its some kind of perfection that the country has attained. As much as we like to think that but Singapore still is a Chinese run country, dominating in most key positions in politics and economy. As Singapore is located in the heart and surrounded by Malay/ Muslim countries and that with recent rise in nationalistic and Islamic sentiments within the region, it is vital that Singapore is not seen as a “Chinese” country. The government is trying hard to manage the situation to ensure peace and prosperity will continue with its immediate neighbours.
    Though the elected Presidency is a load of bullshit. It is just a figurehead post with no political weight whatsoever.
    However with the Malay position in the country enshrined in the Constitution and that the government wanting the occasional Malay President personally I think it is better just to appoint rather than all the wayang of an election. And that the Malay person appointed has to be a Malay as stated in their BC and IC. Not just because an idiot like Zainal Sapari declaring that a person is a Malay. For if we allow it next the government might even choose to make a Filipino a Malay.

  14. Look! The Chinese opera wayang white monkey ! How could I vote her when in the parliament she is very unfair !
    She gave extra time to her white monkeys but each the blue bird start to chirp, she will quickly shoot “time out !” Double standards in her duty as civil servant !
    Singaporeans must not give her any votes especially she did not honour her Indian papa, how to expect her to honour our very own country fellowmen ???
    Halimah Tak boleh, Tak patu!

  15. Jack Foo says:

    Yes, Raced based politics when PAP at advantage, how about non-Chinese PM? once in 40 years? Cannot meh, air to AL races? TCSS!!!!!!

  16. It is clear that LHL fears that TCB as President will not be so meek and pliable as S.R. Nathan or Tony Tan.
    The best person to expose the flaws in the PAP is a former insider.

  17. That’s why the PAP government amended the Constitution to suit their cause, raised the bar and races to block other eligible candidates to come forward, if it is a Elected President, then it is up to the people to decide now the PAP government already decided for the people where is democracy. No need to have the President elections just tell the people and declared her as the next President.

  18. Embarrassed by the PM and ashamed of the government and to have those 83 clowns in deciding who they want crown as the next EP by simply making a fool out of everyone of us, what a mockery. Still got chenghu meh, chay.

  19. Recently in Parliament , someone said we are sons of ….. so can I count myself part Chinese, part Malay, part Indian , part anything else under the sun !

  20. Diana Wong says:

    Correction !
    Neither 3rd Indian President nor 2nd from the Malay Committee but Mdm Halimah will be Singapore’s first Indian/Malay President.
    A newly added ethnic President ?

  21. The solutions of today are the problems of tomorrow. Senge clearly explained how ill-thought out and manipulative methods can significantly destroy and severely impact the thinking and actions of the future. IMHO, this nonsensical zeal and introduction of race-based politics goes against the grain of what our constitution and national pledge has stood for. The embedded culture has already been tampered with for the last few months, a significant idiot in Parliament thinking he was clever in addressing Hal as ‘President’. Fool he is in making a joke out of it that shows his insensitivity, stupidity and immaturity as a politician (well, after all, he is one of the many introduced losers from the military). The end of race equality is fast approaching us as this EP event has been turned into national turmoil just to prevent a true presidential candidate from emerging. What else is there left for the state of the nation and its people after this race-based scheme of politics. Nothing. The moral ground has been shamelessly surrendered and as Singaporeans, I feel we have ALL lost. It takes decades to build greatness. It takes a fool and a few blind buffoons to tear it up in a few hours. GSS (not Great Singapore Sale; its God Save Singapore).

  22. Pap doesn’t want unity of people as it means strength against the Govt. LHL policies are designed to divide the people and also to discriminate the citizens against foreigners in many areas such as education, job opportunities, support of talents etc, so as to dilute any opposing and dissenting voices. So this EP reserved for Malay race I see as a classic move to serve his objective.

  23. Such stupid election. Don’t even bother to vote. It’s a mockery of true democracy. Further more president do nothing except suck our money for there disgusting salary.

    1. Yohann Cha says:

      spoiling the vote (properly!) would convey your disgust better and if many others do likewise can send a message to not take us all for fools.

  24. 何维珊 says:

    Please don’t “malign and misinterpret” her action la.

    Her Indian father passed away when she was eight so did her ethnicity when her father dies.

    Please be “understanding” can?

  25. “We, the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people. Regardless of race, language or religion….. ”

    Dammit I can’t say it anymore.

  26. Gary Ng says:

    If you are a President who stand by the people of your country, I don’t care which race you are, but you are a just a puppet of the government, you let down the whole country

  27. Adrian Lim says:

    Halimah jin adaptable like eevee sia, damn can evolve into some many different forms lol. Sometimes malay sometimes indian, can even smuggle in for a Chinese RVSP PE by getting CDAC or some Chinese association to “endorse” her Chineseness. (Y)

  28. Shamed on her to forget her own root. If she can forget her root and just to get to the objective. I seriously doubt her integrity in running this PE. We know the result even before this PE. One side down. I will never respect her as president.

    1. Exactly. Killing next generation. For people like him.. his root is in PAP already…

      For us youths, struggling to earn a living, worrying jobs security being replaced with FT. Earned $10, give back to government $8. And furthermore increasing prices for basic needs for our daily use. And i havnt even talk about the cost of housing which price is sky rocket up there.

      Our lives will just be working zombies and paying debts after debts on just basic needs and shelter, even at our grave we still have to pay.. While they sit on their ivory chairs and smoke us each time they present in the press media. I applause not because their ideals are presentable, but i applause of how they smoke us with such First Class World Standard creativity.

    2. Nice comment Gabriel. Unfortunately nowadays the party supporters only know how to diehard support only. Even their leaders fart they also say nice smell. This is very sad. We are not yes men. They are not angels. We are all humans. Leaders do make mistakes and errors. We should point it out to wake them out. LKY and his teams are the best at least they put Singaporeans at heart. Now this pm and his team are really a letdown. Only goes for money making opportunities. All about money talking.

    3. Aiya look at PK Ang profile. He is a die heart PAP fan.

      Not saying PAP isnt a strong party. They are good. During PK Ang era, PAP is a by far the strongest party and most respected party, especially under strict control of LKY.

      Now, PAP and the crew, they are just bringing more unhappiness to the people day by day. In other countries, government fear the people because of votes, thus they have to do something to make people’s lives better. Here, government fear they lose their golden rice bowl and enforce a rule which corner us citizens to vote for something which is not democratic. Then for what should i waste my bloody time going to queue up and cast my vote when we already knew the answer?

      Like what was said, fight in the open fair and square in front of press media between this indian or malay, whatever you call her.. vs TCB in this PE2017.

      Whatever the result is, everyone has to accept the fact who becomes the next President.

    4. Howe Peek says:

      PK Ang If your father is Indian, does that make you a Malay? Clearly, she is a lady of no principle. If you are so sure, it is a majority endorsement, why does not she fight openly with Dr Tan Cheng Bock on fair and open election instead of using unscrupulous mean to achieve its end.

    5. Pk Ang I can see you are in such a dilemma. On one hand you said TCB and KFC share the votes on last PE as pap votes. And likewise TJS and TKL for opposition. I do not understand what you talking about. What makes you think so TCB is sharing pap votes for last PE.

      For your info those like myself voted TCB is because we need a voice not a yes men following and saying yes. TCB is a voice with his fighting spirits. He is ex pap and he knows what is inside to be address and looking out for Singaporeans. Unlike KFC other than being yes I didn’t see what he did for Singapore. It is a show face president for SG. Waste gas.

      And this coming PE I would just throw away my vote. Because the standard for harimau she has in her. I don’t want to have jokes and laughter from the world.

      Lastly, pk ang you mark your words today you commented here- I quoted what you said- you said the ge 2015 people voted 70% because of the current jokers. You are very wrong. Do you not know the votes for 70% votes are mainly of Mr LKY. I can openly tell you stay on and wait till next GE let us see if it is still 70%. I am here to see that. I hope you will still able to see the next GE results together with me. We then debate on what you have commented here.

    6. PK Ang says:

      “Smart” James See,
      Why TCB, TSJ n TKL votes didn’t go to the opposition parties in GE 2015 if your logic is correct ?

    7. PK Ang says:

      TJS n TKL won the opposition parties votes, TCB share the PAP votes with Tony Tan, got brain or not..

      Following GE in 2015 .. TCB n Tony Tan votes go to PAP n that’s is 70%.. … TJS n TKL votes go to opposition parties n that’s 30%.. can see or not ?

    8. James See says:

      Pls use your brain instead PK Ang, the last EP Tony Tan got how many % votes vs Dr. Tan? If including opp TJS votes I think KFC can go eat grass liao? This is why LHL is so worried for losing control of power under a rightful person to safeguard our national funding. So to appoint all by himself & avoid elected by local citizens! Tell me then is this call democracy regardless of race? U r typically balls licker brainless idiot!

    9. 何维珊 says:

      By your own logic if you, yourself and ownself voted you eat shit, you would eat shit and say the whole world voted to for you to eat shit.

    10. PK Ang says:

      Use your brain my Friend, what make 70% voted for PAP ?
      Same country, same Ruling Party n same policies apply to all, 70% given approval by votes, we are stupid n you’re smart ?
      Oh please ! if some of you need help, raise the issue n ask your opposition party to bring it up in Parliament with alternative views to help solve the problem..
      Have you heard any constructive alternative proposal so far in Parliament to deal with policies trade off ?

      Please take note, no policy pleases all, not even God pleases all, let alone government !!!

    11. PK Ang says:

      Majority is feeling now ? Who are they ? We will find out on Election Day.. be reminded.. respect the choice n don’t be a bad loser..

      Who don’t represent the majority ?
      You the loser represent the majority ?

    12. 何维珊 says:

      Karlson Yap Guorong with supporter like this pk ang you think PAP need to display “high level” of integrity meh? A little bit only pk ang eats out of their hands liao

      Where else do you think LSW gotten the analogy of associating blind supporters and followers as dogs?

    13. I am saying one with integrity should not forget her own family roots. If she can change her bios on her page and said she is Malay. Where she is Indian. You telling me you still accept such candidate?

    14. PK Ang says:

      So you don’t respect the majority choice ?
      Voters are not voting with a gun pointing at them !
      And who are you to decide which candidate is more Malay, are you one of the Malay community leaders ?

  29. I’m born a Chinese, my Dad is a Cantonese. I was brought up in a Peranakan family. How man like dat. What am I? I tell people I’m a Singaporean.

  30. It is not so much about her being a President, nor her as a President from a minority race. But it’s the way the whole EP is orchestrated that’s repulsive and dividing. The shift in the constitutional amendment, the counting of who’s the first Elected President etc.. All these point to wayang that identify with manipulation of some kind, no?! And nobody likes to be manipulated!

    1. Facebook Profile photo
      FL ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Yes, agree with u. This country is going backwards. No wonder some countries leaders don’t respect SG due to our leaders’ altitude.

  31. André Tan says:

    sounds more and more like an affirmative action hire at the highest office of the land … sad day for democracy when candidates are not freely presented, as a hedge by a select few …

  32. WH Wong says:

    Pinkie will go to any distance just to preserve his unlimited power and also to ensure the survival of his dynasty even at the expense of the nation and people….

    1. @Larry
      If Halimah has serious genes DNA mutations that change her to a Malay man then I confirm that she is suffering from the disease of cancer due to mutations of her genes !
      President’s job is too stressful for her, then she will say goodbye very soon

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