Spotted at NewSintercom. A contest that was being billed as a non-starter and merely a matter of returning the presidency to Nathan is suddenly starting to get interesting.
Ever since Andrew Kuan announced his intention to seek the presidency, Singaporeans have been treated to an unaccustomed spectacle – the PAP coming out with all guns blazing, almost as if they're in panic.
Daily since Andrew Kuan was first mentioned by the Straits Times on Friday 5 August, PAP politicians and the media have been badmouthing him. He has been described as arrogant, too full of himself, and now dirt is being dug up by the New Paper about something that might or might not have happened at a condominium.
Minister Lim Swee Say today was quoted by the Sunday Times as saying that Singaporeans should not hope for a contest in the presidential election just for the sake of it.
What matters more is whether those who want to run for president have the qualities to perform the duties of the highest post in the land, the Sunday Times reported him to have said.
Lim was reacting no doubt to a heightened interest on the part of the public, in the presidential contest that had just days before looked like it would be another walk-over.
Of course, the rejoinder is: who is going to decide whether someone is qualified? Shouldn't it be the electorate? Isn't that what elections are for?
But not in Singapore though. Like in Ayatollah-ruled Iran, interested candidates must first be prequalified by unelected guardians of the faith (the PAP faith in Singapore's case). Only safe candidates can be presented to voters.
Was Lim preparing the public for a disqualification?
Andrew Kuan has to obtain a COE – not a certificate of entitlement to buy a car, but a certificate of eligibility – before he can stand for election. Two issues now appear to possibly stand in his way.
The committee determining eligibility has to decide firstly, whether his job (2001 - 2004) as the Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Jurong Town Corporation (JTC), which Kuan says has $11 billion in assets, is equivalent to management experience leading a company with at least $100 million in paid-up capital – one of the statutory requirements for eligibility.
Secondly, whether he is a person of "good character and standing" – the other statutory condition.
It is possibly difficult to persuade the public that a CFO of JTC is not sufficiently experienced, and thus to disqualify him on this ground would create a credibility nightmare for the PAP and for future presidential elections. Having said that, we should remember that the PAP has often enough undermined electoral systems and state institutions whenever their party fortunes were at risk, so if they're not confident that Nathan can win reelection, I won't be at all surprised if Kuan's CFO experience is ruled as insufficient, never mind what people in the street think, never mind the damage it does to already low public respect for the electoral system.
The less nightmarish course would be to disqualify Kuan on the ground that he is not of good character. Hence, the determined effort you see now to dig up dirt on him.
to continue reading click here.