Elected presidency will only work well in long term if not politicised: Tharman

He was responding to a question on whether the current set-up for the president is sufficient to tackle today’s domestic and international challenges, and if there are any tweaks required to the system.

Mr Tharman was participating in a dialogue with about 120 members and guests of Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan, held at the clan association’s premises in Tank Road on Saturday. He was accompanied by his wife Jane Ittogi.

He added that if the system of the elected presidency becomes so politicised, then Singapore will eventually need a new system.

He said: “Singaporeans are still very fair. And they understand that this must not be a political election… For politics, please wait for the general election. That’s the way the system is meant to operate.”

Responding to another question on what his approach would be towards safeguarding the reserves, he said being the holder of the second key to the nation’s reserves is much more complex than most people realise.

He said: “It’s not simple, where you wait in the office and one day the Finance Minister comes and asks ‘Can we please draw?’”

The situations where the country will need to draw on its reserves will arise either because of a crisis or a long-term challenge.

The president must then have a deep understanding of the nature of the crisis and how the country will respond to it, said Mr Tharman.


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