Photo of Yaacob from Mark Cheong Straits Times

Hinting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s orchestrated schemes to have a ruling party-controlled puppet President, Minister of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim highlighted that there the new Malay President does not need to come from the private sector.

Media reporters were asking if there are enough Malay citizens who qualify for the stringent requirement where one need to have managed a company with at least S$500 million in shareholder equity. The Minister refused to answer the question and merely stated that there are other “pathways”. Only civil servants in CEO positions and former Ministers will qualify for the position.

“There were other pathways to qualify and candidates from the community do not necessarily have to come from the private sector.”

The presidency of SR Nathan and Tony Tan currently leave a tainted image of the President position because the two did next to nothing except to let the ruling party has free access to the national reserves. Many Singaporeans are questioning the need of having a President since Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong effectively controls the Parliament, President and the sovereign wealth fund companies (as Chairman of GIC and husband of the CEO of Temasek Holdings).

Many also criticised the new law as being over-stringent because none of the Presidents elected in history ever qualified for the financial requirement. It is hence obvious that the ruling party does not intend to open up the President position to the private sector.

Speaking at the dialogue yesterday (Sep 22), Minister Yaacob also claimed that Singaporeans who disagree with the government merely “do not understand the policy” and that they require more “discussions to help them understand”.