SWEEPING STATEMENTS MADE
Mr Tharman expressed worry about increasingly sweeping statements.
“The latest being the idea that the elected presidents who have been members of political parties have been serving the political agenda of a political party. I saw Mr Ng’s latest statement and that’s effectively what he’s saying.”
Candidates should move past simple labels and sweeping statements and instead position themselves based on what they can contribute to Singapore instead of politicising the debate, he added.
Mr Ng’s statement, which suggested that a former member of a political party might continue to serve the agenda of that party as an elected president, was “absurd”, Mr Tharman said.
“That’s the most sweeping statement. Does that mean that all the presidents so far, including Mr Ong Teng Cheong onwards, who have been members of political parties, were serving the agenda of the party they used to belong to? I mean, that’s absurd.”
Mr Tharman said another “sweeping statement” was referring to his experience as Finance Minister as a disadvantage.
Mr Ng had said there was “danger” when someone who had been involved in shaping the rules of Singapore’s reserves now aspired to be the President.
Mr Tharman responded: “I think that’s a real advantage. I was involved in shaping the rules for the whole new system of drawing income from reserves … That’s a major advantage in Singapore that we have that system.”
Knowing the system inside out was clearly an advantage, he added.
“Is it an advantage or disadvantage to have knowledge and experience? I think that’s a commonsensical question.”
When asked about people who have claimed that they will spoil their votes to express displeasure toward the government, Mr Tharman urged everyone to take the polls seriously.
“I think that will be very unfortunate. Again, it’s because of this whole atmosphere around the elected presidency that has been politicised too much.”
He added: “This is about our future. There will be a general election coming along where people will have a chance to decide on which political party they support … They should focus on that when it comes to political views.
“I’m just here to serve every Singaporean and if I’m fortunate enough to be elected that includes those who vote against me.”