Presidential candidates live broadcast - All the things they said...

...running through my head...this is NOT enough?!

Yeah, that's a not-so-subtle reference to the previous post, "t.A.T.u.: Ya Soshla S Uma - All The Things She Said - We Are Lesbians (No, they are NOT!)".

By the way I'd definitely vote for the Presidential candidate who thinks that mixing politics with some YouTube songs in the same blog post is not a blasphemy.


Okay, despite this, "Schedule of Presidential candidate TV and radio 1st and 2nd broadcast", I still missed out the TV broadcast. Argh. I hate working late at night. I hate working late at night.

Anyway it's impressive how fast the speeches of the 4 Presidential candidates are made available online. Here they are:

Presidential Candidate Broadcast Pt1/4: Dr Tan Cheng Bock

My Fellow Singaporeans,

I am Dr. Tan Cheng Bock.

I am here as your candidate for the Elected President.

I began my career as a medical doctor in Ama Keng, a poor village in Lim Chu Kang. The people I cared for were ordinary Singaporeans. They were simple people who despite their hard work, had barely enough for themselves.

To this day, I have fond memories of the times when these friends confided in me their dreams for the future.

They shared with me their hope that every man or woman, young or old, regardless of race or religion, had equal access to education, housing, and a good job. They hoped by working hard they would be able to provide for their loved ones.

They shared with me their hope for a country where every citizen supported one another in their pursuit of peace and prosperity.

I voiced these dreams of the people in Parliament for 26 years. Today, the same dreams are still harboured in the hearts of many Singaporeans, including mine:- Singaporeans want fairness in life, they also want fairness in their leaders.

They want their leaders to be accountable, transparent, and independent.

They also want the President to bring unity to the nation, and these are the reasons why I decided to run for the Presidency.

The President must be above politics.

He must not be a proxy to any political party. His interest must be national, not with a political agenda in mind.

In recent times, there is a growing desire for a clear distinction between the Government and the Office of the President. This is because the President has to check on the reserves, and key civil service appointments.

I agree with these sentiments. Familiarity breeds the potential for compromise, and this will only work against the interests of all citizens.

Let me explain. Currently, the President and Prime Minister share the Istana Premise.

To strengthen the independence of the Presidency, one of my proposals will be to ask the Government to shift its operations from the Istana grounds to another location.

The PMO and Cabinet offices should not be housed in the same compound as the President, as this familiarity attracts unwanted suspicion of undue influence.

It may sound drastic but I believe this is the correct thing to do for Singaporeans.

I believe Singaporeans are politically mature enough to see the merits.

This is not unusual. For example, China and India have separate Head of State and Government premises.

This separation between the President and Government is critical to public confidence. This physical separation will further assure the people that the two institutions are independent of each other.

The Office of the President and the Government must not be seen as the same. Under the Constitution, their powers are separate. Let’s keep them separate.

I foresee this will require planning and cooperation from the two offices.

Next, I want to enhance the transparency of the Presidency.

For greater transparency, I will introduce an Annual Statement to let Singaporeans know whether the President is doing his job in safeguarding your reserves, your CPF, the appointment of civil servants, charitable activities, and national identity programmes in the arts, sports and culture.

For example, the people should have yearly assurance, on whether the Special Singapore Government Bonds backing their CPF deposits are safe or not. This statement will contain non-secret information.

This is your country. The reserves are your money. The Government and President are serving you. So you deserve to know how things work.

“Do I Deserve Your Vote?”, you may ask.

I understand that every Presidential candidate will be greeted with some scepticism, and rightly so.

You are after all, deciding on the best person to be your Head of State.

I believe that having held positions of leadership in the public and private sectors, I will be able to stand up to this scrutiny and gain your vote of confidence.

During my government tenure, I have served as Leader of the Singapore European Parliamentary Group and the Singapore South East Asia Parliamentary Group for over 15 years. I have represented Singapore at home and abroad.

I have had the even greater honour of interacting with Singaporeans like yourself and listening to your concerns as Feedback Chief and as Member of Parliament for Ayer Rajah Constituency.

Throughout my 26 years in office, I have never shied away from standing up for you, and challenging inappropriate policies.

In Parliament, I hotly debated the prevailing Foreign Talent Policy and emphasised the need to “Think Singaporeans First”.

This was in 1999, when many Singaporeans were losing their jobs.

I’ve also voted against the Nominated MP Scheme, as these MPs were not elected by you, the people of Singapore.

Over the years, I stood up for you: for more C Class beds for the poor in restructured hospitals, for the use of CPF monies to fund your children’s tertiary education, for free parking on Sundays and Public Holidays for better social and family interaction.

More recently, I resigned from Jurong General Hospital in protest against the naming of a public institution after a businessman whose family contributed just over one-tenth of the overall building costs, when a majority of the building costs were funded from your taxes. In my view, this in principle is wrong.

Besides the public service, I have held leadership positions in major local and multi-national companies.

Although a medical doctor by training, I have 20 years of corporate experience. I have been the Chairman of the Board of publicly listed investment holding company Chuan Hup Holdings since 1991, and am Chairman of DIAP, a subsidiary of one of Europe’s biggest dredging companies since 1997. I have also served as an independent director of ING Asia Private Bank, a subsidiary of one of Europe’s largest banks.

With the skills and experience gleaned from these corporate appointments, I am confident of safeguarding your hard-earned savings, irrespective of whether they had been anchored in your CPF accounts, or used for investment purposes through Temasek Holdings and GIC.

I will also ensure that only capable and publicly spirited persons are recruited into key appointments. I will hold them to stringent scrutiny and standards.

Finally, I hope to use the Presidency as a Unifying Figure to bring together all Singaporeans with different political affiliations, race, language, and religions. I will do this not through political means, but by championing community causes like charities, sports, culture and the arts.

One of my key areas of unification is to champion multiracialism. Multiracialism is vital to unity.

We must never forget that Singapore is home for all races and this harmonious relationship must not be taken for granted.

Trust is important and it must be earned. The residents of Ayer Rajah trusted me, by giving me an 88% support in 2001 General Elections.

Similarly, I hope you will trust me with your vote so that I may serve all Singaporeans as your President.

It will be a privilege and honour.

If you believe in Independence, Accountability, and a United Singapore, then vote for me to be your President.

I have been a part of you. I felt for you and now you can trust me to safeguard your reserves without fear or favour.

I will not disappoint you.

Let’s Think Singaporeans First.

Vote for Change!

Vote for me as your President!

Thank you.

From Asiaone, "Presidential Broadcast Aug 18: Dr Tan Cheng Bock".

Presidential Candidate Broadcast Pt2/4: Tan Jee Say

My Fellow Singaporeans,

This Presidential Election is a historic opportunity for all our citizens to fulfil the mission of the Office of President.

In the past, the President was appointed by the Prime Minister. But about 20 years ago, the Constitution was changed to enable the people to elect the President directly. This was a fundamental change.

The purpose of direct election is to give moral authority to the President to provide checks and balances on the Government.

Remember the key words "provide checks and balances on the Government". This is the over-riding objective of having an elected President.

It is a very important and timely objective in the light of the recent General Elections. Most of us can still remember that only 3 months ago, Singaporeans from all walks of life openly expressed their unhappiness with Government policies.

A substantial 40% did not vote for this Government. Yet the PAP Government still has 81 out of a total of 87 Members of Parliament. With their overwhelming majority in Parliament, the Government can implement whatever policies they want or even change the Constitution.

Do you want this to happen? Can you prevent it? Yes you can. But only if you elect a President who has the moral courage to stand up for you and to speak up whenever the Government crosses the line.

You have before you a choice of 4 candidates. All of us want your vote. You have to decide who among us can best perform the duty of providing checks and balances on the PAP Government.

The importance of independence

To do the job effectively, the President must be independent of the ruling party. This independence must be clear, obvious and cannot be in doubt. Only such an independent person can have the moral authority to check on the Government. He must not be influenced or hampered by past ties with the ruling party. If his ties with the ruling party had been long and strong, it will be difficult for the person to shake off the emotional ties he has with the party.

My three opponents are honourable men but they were members of PAP for 20 to 30 years until they resigned from the party with two of them having quit only very recently. During this period, they ate, slept, walked and breathed PAP. Do you now expect them to have a breath of fresh air? Mentally and emotionally, it will be very difficult for them to think differently from the ruling party and challenge their former colleagues and friends.

Unlike them, I do not have the same emotional baggage that they carry because I have never been a member of the PAP. Because of this, I can provide checks and balances on the Government without restraint. I can and will remind them of their lapses without feeling embarrassed. I shall be their conscience, as well as yours.

The economy

The economy faces an uncertain future with a difficult global environment. The President will likely be called upon to help meet the economic challenges. This will require the President to stay on top of the economy.

I am equal to the task. I studied economics in university and worked in the Ministry of Trade and Industry where I headed economic and manpower planning. In addition, I had worked in international banks and investment houses, so I understand global finance.

The coming global financial crisis will put domestic economic issues into greater focus. The open expression of widespread anger during the recent General Elections has shown how divided the nation has become. Job losses and the widening income gap will become more pronounced as the global economy worsens. They will divide society further and deeper. To prevent such deep division, bold measures are needed.

The Prime Minister has acknowledged that there is great unhappiness among the people. But the recent measures he announced during the National Day Rally Speech do not address the people's concerns adequately. They represent the same piece-meal approach of recent years.

A new and more comprehensive approach is needed to address the issues that trouble Singaporeans such as influx of foreign workers, over-crowding and high cost of living. We should not just be obsessed with high GDP growth with little regard for the resultant adverse consequences on society and Singaporeans.

The benefits of economic growth have not been shared by all, rather some have benefitted greatly at the expense of others and this has divided the nation. To play a unifying role, the President need to engage the Government in coming up with an economic philosophy that puts the happiness of all Singaporeans at the heart of its policies.

My Promise as President

This is what I promise to Singaporeans if I am elected President. I will encourage the Government not to pursue high GDP growth at the expense of ordinary Singaporeans.

I will not hold back resources including the national reserves from the Government

........if they need to use them to achieve stable economic growth with a fair distribution of benefits for all Singaporeans,

........and to pursue measures that will ensure that Singaporeans are competing on an equal footing with foreigners,

.......that adequate resources are put aside to meet the educational and career aspirations of young Singaporeans,

.......that families are helped to cope with rising costs in all areas,

.......that enough is done for the healthcare needs of all particularly the elderly,

.......that generous assistance is given to families to bring up their children particularly those with special needs, and

........last but not least, that your CPF savings are well-protected so that you have enough to live a happy retirement.

The Heart of the Nation

These matters should rightly be left to the Government to deal with but the input of a caring President will help the Government come out with more compassionate solutions. We have reached a point where the President needs to help heal the social division and unify the nation.

If elected President, I will step in with good intention and a good heart. I will work with the Government to achieve a better society for all.

My fellow Singaporeans, this is my mission. But I can only do it with your help. Let us set our hearts to do it. Together we can. I shall be your voice and the heart of the nation.

Thank you.

From Asiaone, "Presidential Broadcast Aug 18: Tan Jee Say".

Presidential Candidate Broadcast Pt3/4: Dr Tony Tan

My fellow Singaporeans, my name is Tony Tan Keng Yam. I have been given the chance to speak with you today as one of the candidates in the coming Presidential Election. Please let me tell you about myself and share my hopes for our nation.

I was born in 1940, when Singapore was a British colony. We experienced the traumatic Japanese occupation a year later.

My wife is Mary. We met at university and were married in 1964. But we couldn't hold our wedding dinner because of curfews imposed after the deadly race riots that year. Our first child was born a year later in 1965 - just two weeks before Singapore became independent. It has been 46 years since.

We live in such a different Singapore today. We are one of the few countries in the world that has built substantial financial reserves not through natural resources, but through our dreams and hard work. Singapore has earned a global reputation for industry and integrity.

Mary and I celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary this month with our four children, their spouses and five grandchildren. We are proud to share Singapore's 46th birthday. Singaporeans have achieved a lot as a nation and as individuals. But I believe that Singapore's best days are still ahead of us.

We will be electing a President for Singapore on August 27 - the first time in 18 years. In recent weeks, there has been much talk about what a President can and cannot do. Some people argue that the President must take a public stand on current issues. I hear and share the concerns of Singaporeans. But policies are debated in Parliament and implemented by the Government.

Others have said that the President must oppose the Government. That is a job for the opposition. People interested in such roles should run for Parliament in the next General Election.

Today, we must focus on the true responsibilities of Singapore's President. Now, more than ever, Europe is in turmoil and America is in crisis. We cannot afford to confuse matters just to score political points. There is simply too much at stake now for political games. I ask you to consider the two most important roles of the President.

The first role of the President is to be the Head of State. At home, the President stands for all Singaporeans. He has to be independent and above politics. He must be fair, knowledgeable and balanced, especially when called on to resolve disputes between different organs of the state. Abroad, the President is Singapore's face to the world. He has to carry our flag with confidence and dignity. He must have the stature to stand with world leaders and represent our country.

The second important role of the president is to protect our nation's financial reserves - which is our country's savings. This responsibility is what makes our Presidency special and is why we are having an election.

With the present economic uncertainties, it is very likely that the next President will be involved in decisions about Singapore's financial health. These decisions will affect the future of all Singaporeans.

Today, I ask you to put your trust in my years of experience. I ask for your vote. I will represent our nation with confidence, dignity and a steady hand to protect our reserves.

My life has mirrored the story of Singapore in many ways. I have been privileged to serve you in many capacities over 30 years. I started my career as a mathematics teacher. I was called to public service in 1979 and represented the constituency of Sembawang. I served as a Member of Parliament for 27 years and as a Cabinet member for 23 years. I have led 5 ministries - Education, Defence, Health, Finance and Trade and Industry. As a former teacher, I believe strongly in education. I helped expand educational opportunities for Singaporeans. I created new spaces at ITEs, Polytechnics, and Universities. My chief concern as the Minister for Defence was the safety of our families and our homes. I ensured that as a nation we were ready to respond to the ever-changing threats posed by terrorists. I did not always agree with my Cabinet colleagues. I fought against the Graduate Mothers Scheme. I persuaded my colleagues that it was unfair to put the children of mothers without university degrees at a disadvantage. I got the policy changed. I worked with grassroots leaders in my Sembawang constituency to stop one of Singapore's oldest mosques from being torn down.

After I retired from the government in 2005, I led Singapore's sovereign wealth fund. I successfully pressed for greater transparency so that you know how our nation's savings are invested. Now, I have resigned from jobs that I loved to step forward to run for the presidency. My family supports my decision and I hope I have your support as well.

Singapore needs a President with a steady hand, a broad perspective and a long term view - to sail through rough seas. This is what I can deliver to you with my years of experience with complex financial systems in the public and private sector.

Markets across the world are jittery. The United States and Europe are battling to shore up fragile economies. Singapore will be affected, but we must not lose heart. Our fundamentals are strong, and I know that our best days are ahead of us.

I am offering myself to you today as a fellow Singaporean who deeply wants a better future for our families. I do not know if I will win. But I know I must try. Because Singapore is our home. Singapore is where I have served for three decades. And Singapore is where my heart is.

You will have a choice of candidates on polling day. Over the coming days, ask yourself: which candidate has the experience to carry out the functions of the President? Who can represent Singaporeans at home and abroad with confidence, dignity and stature? Who should watch over our national reserves? Ensuring our country's hard earned savings from the past are used with utmost care in the present, so that there is enough for the future? From the bottom of my heart, I ask for your support to serve as your President. I ask you for your help in building a better tomorrow, a tomorrow we can all greet with confidence for the future.

My fellow Singaporeans, thank you!

From Asiaone, "Presidential Broadcast Aug 18: Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam".

Presidential Candidate Broadcast Pt4/4: Tan Kin Lian

My name is Tan Kin Lian. I am standing for election as President of Singapore.

Many Singaporeans have told me they want a President who can:

- Be a voice of the people

- Be independent of the PAP Government

- Safeguard their CPF money and Singapore's reserves

Give me your support and I promise you I will do my best as President.

I come from a humble background. When I was a child, my family lived in a rented room and had to move house many times. I started work when I was 18, and after working for eight years, I was able to afford my own HDB flat where I lived for seven years.

Like many Singaporeans, I travel regularly on the bus and MRT and visit the food centers. I know what life is like for most ordinary Singaporeans.

These days, many Singaporeans find it hard to make a living - the tough competition for jobs, working late, travelling in crowded public transport and just paying off the bills.

I know what it's like for you and I want to be your voice to convey your concerns and aspirations to the Government.

As I have never been a minister or Member of Parliament, I will be able to think outside the box and take a different perspective from the Government on the issues that are faced by Singaporeans.

I will act independently of the Government in carrying out the duties of the President, especially as a check and balance to prevent abuse of power and corruption.

Being qualified and with the relevant financial knowledge, I can play an effective role to safeguard your CPF money and the national reserves. This is a key role of the President and is one of concern to many Singaporeans.

I had nurtured an insurance company for thirty years, looking after the savings of over one million people and managing assets of 17 billion dollars. This experience had taught me on the need to be prudent in our investments, to avoid speculation and to invest for the long term.

Many of you or your parents may recognise me as the former chief executive officer of NTUC Income.

I am able to carry out the duties of the President as set out in the constitution and to represent our country well.

I was a board member of a large international organisation called the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation, for more than 15 years and was elected to be its chairman for five years. The members of this international body managed assets that are several times of the Singapore reserves.

My role in the board required me to travel at least twice each year for meetings held in many countries. I had met with people from many countries and cultures.

I was the first and only Asian to be elected as chairman of this international body.

In carrying out the duties of the President, I will be guided by my personal values of honesty, fairness, positive attitude, courage and public service. I will also continue to seek the views of the people your views on the issues that are important to you.

To help me keep in touch with the people, I will form a President's Personal Council comprising of people from many segments of our society. They will help me to identify the important issues that affect many Singaporeans.

I will adopt a constructive and cooperative approach in working with the Government to understand these issues and help to find the appropriate solutions. This will include the inputs and views of the civil servants and the ministers.

After the general election, the Government has taken steps to review and change some of their past policies. I hope to be able to get the views of the ordinary people towards this review.

By adopting a consultative approach and engaging the citizens, this process can help to re-build trust in the Government and pride in our country. I pledge to do my best to achieve these goals.

I wish to run for President as a public duty. I do not wish to receive a large salary and will donate at least half of the salary to charity and other worthy causes. I hope that this example will encourage other Singaporeans, who are well off, to step forward and contribute to this goal.

There are many people in our society that need financial and other assistance. This charity can be an additional channel to meet the needs of these people.

I hope that you will give me your support and together we can build a better future for all Singaporeans.

Thank you.

From Asiaone, "Presidential Broadcast Aug 18: Mr Tan Kin Lian".


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