Ho-hum: president tony tan’s first year

Except for rare sightings, President Tony had been extraordinarily quiet for the past year since winning the Presidential Election by a whisker.

These rare sightings include being the Guest of Honour at functions, an overseas visit, receiving foreign dignitaries and even popping up at the London Olympics. Both he and PM Lee have one thing in common: both are the highest paid office holders in the world. Naturally people raise their eyebrows over his performance in the past year which can best be described as insipid.

“…very busy, but fulfilling and meaningful” was how he described his first year. Maybe. But people expect more from him than mere platitudes.
After all, he’s earning millions of taxpayers money.

When the government made a loan of 4 billion US dollars to the International Monetary Fund, he kept quiet. He may keep quiet, apparently seeing nothing wrong, but others are unhappy.

In fact, Kenneth Jeyaretnam, leader of the opposition Reform Party, is challenging this in the High Court because the loan wasn’t approved by Parliament and the President. But the authorities argue that the IMF loan does not violate the constitution because it doesn’t apply to government lending.

At his swearing-in ceremony in September 2011 President Tony Tan said: ” I will wield this “second key” with utmost care. Our reserves have been painstakingly built up over decades, and should not be compromised.” Stirring words but he kept quiet over the loan.

To mark his first year in office he also said that his main concern now was on how to help build a caring and compassionate society. At his swearing-in ceremony he said,”I am deeply aware of the challenges faced by Singaporeans who struggle to make ends meet, or feel that they are being left behind. As President, I will work with the Government, community groups, and the entire nation to make Singapore a more caring and gracious society.”Stirring words again.

But In the past one year what has he done to realise these promises? Has he spoken up for the elderly poor and those “who struggle to make ends meet?” Has he spoken up about the ever-rising cost of living, sky-high HDB prices, the influx of immigrants, jobless Singaporeans who lose out to cheaper foreign labour, the erosion of our social fabric and so on?

It’s safe to say not many Singaporeans are impressed with his first year in office.

A ho-hum performance.

President Tony Tan as his swearing-in: I am deeply aware of the challenges faced by Singaporeans who struggle to make ends meet, or feel that they are being left behind.


2 Responses to “Ho-hum: president tony tan’s first year”

  1. Well said! Since the IMF loan case the first Auditor -General’s report for the President has been published. This reveals that MOF issued an illegal promissory note to the World Bank. After part of it had been en-cashed the auditor General declared it invalid and in breach of Article 144. It had to be re-issued and the correct Presidential permission obtained. How can the President be anything other than mediocre, if the MOF don’t notify him of lons issued or take any trouble to comply with our Constitution and the requirement to seek his concurrence.

    • Clearly he had been busy in the wrong direction. Slowly but surely some quarters are gathering up their moral courage to do the right thing. Kudos KJ.

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