SR Nathan may be Singapore’s longest-serving and unelected President, he was a crony of former dictator Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. According to former state media Today editor P N Balaji, SR Nathan was “a Lee Kuan Yew loyalist” and “for him, Lee Kuan Yew could do no wrong”.
As a reward for his faithfulness to Lee Kuan Yew, SR Nathan was paid with a S$4.2 million/yr Singapore President position over 12 years and his political opponents were disqualified twice to aid his appointment. During SR Nathan’s reign, the Singapore government under Lee Hsien Loong had free access to the National Reserves and full approval were given without a word in all three occasions drawing over S$154 billion from the national reserves.
In 2013, the Istana website was hacked by anonymous users and SR Nathan’s pet name “jiak liao bee” was featured. The term “jiak liao bee” is a hokkien term for useless. Many Singaporeans perceive SR Nathan as useless as he was silent in his 12 years as President, making near-zero speeches or presence.
PAP Ministers and their supporters however have a lot of praises for the former President. Law Minister K Shanmugam called him “a giant”, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung claimed that “SR Nathan excelled in every career he tried” while others poured unworthy praises like “hardworking”, “bond the nation” and “people’s President” – recycled praises used during Lee Kuan Yew’s demise – on SR Nathan. However, response from the people are lukewarm.
A State Funeral will take place on Friday at the NUS University Cultural Centre. The death of SR Nathan may signifies Singapore’s passing away from the cronyism and dictatorship of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore remains troubled by legalised corruptions.
Other former Presidents of Singapore did not have the same good life as SR Nathan enjoyed. President Devan Nair was fired by Lee Kuan Yew in 1985 over alcoholism – a fake charge the dictator came out with when the President disagreed with him. Devan Nair went into exile in Houston United States and died in 2005 without a mention by Singapore’s government controlled-media. President Ong Teng Cheong was denied a state funeral because he demanded the Singapore government to disclose the amount of national reserves.