Dear All Singapore Stuff,

Some Singaporeans have set up a facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/BoycottRiggedPE2017/) to protest against what they see as the selection of Halimah Yacob to become our next president. They feel that her presidency is being forced on them. It is still unknown if the PAP’s preferred presidential candidate will indeed be her, but these people seem to think it will be her.

They feel that the presidential election has been rigged to prevent Dr Tan
Cheng Bock from contesting and their votes no longer matter. They are unhappy
that the presidential election has become a contest for who can best offer a
Malay translation of the PAP’s policies. According to their facebook page “A
PAP Puppet cannot check on the PAP Government and safeguard the national
reserves. Spoil your vote to reject the PAP’s manipulation of the

Even if the PAP’s presidential candidate is not Halimah, I still think that
the people behind the page have a valid cause. I agree with their
unhappiness. I agree that the next presidential election is very undemocratic
and biased towards one race. It is sad that the PAP is promoting bumiputra
policy when their own founder had always espoused meritocracy over race.
Furthermore, the next presidential election has become the equivalent of a
primary election in the US where only supporters of one party can vote. Why
should opposition supporters be forced to vote for PAP candidates in a PAP
primary? It is tempting to go there and write “Tan Cheng Bock” on the ballot
paper. Many netizens are already saying that the PAP’s preferred candidate is
going to win anyway, so our votes don’t matter.

The PAP has hailed the new criteria for presidential elections as a step
towards race blind politics. That is absolute nonsense. If all choices are
Malays, many non-Malays including myself will only vote for the least
religious Malay because we want the best chance of a secular state with less
religious issues in our politics. So you see, we will think of a person’s
race and religion even more as a result of this presidential election. The
PAP’s ‘new’ presidential election is self-defeating and only entrenches race
in our political system.

There were multiple suggestions offered during the feedback sessions such as
having a president and vice president team, either one of whom must be a
minority race, but the PAP rejected all these suggestions. Obviously it is
because Dr Tan Cheng Bock would still be able to contest if all these
suggestions were implemented. Party must always come first before
Singaporeans, so naturally they rejected all these suggestions. The PAP had
decades to choose a Malay president but they did not and now they expect us
to believe that they suddenly care a lot about how Malays may feel about not
having a president of their race. Any Malay president installed as a result
of a rigged presidential election in which qualified candidates from other
races are barred from contesting does not represent an achievement for the
Malay community. It merely perpetuates the notion that minority races succeed
only when the majority race allows them to. It is thus a disservice to the
minority races not a boon. If I were a Malay, I would not be happy if that is
how my race gets a president. Why isn’t there a fair contest? We all like to
see a fair contest. Was the US presidential election of 2008 a African
Americans-only election? President Obama won against a majority race
candidate on his own merits. The same cannot be said of our next president.
It would be embarrassing if our next president became president only because
of his/her skin.

Why must we have a Malay president and not a Malay prime minister? It is an
irony that the PAP is promoting reserved presidential elections to ‘help
Malays get a chance’ but at the same time the newspaper advertises the
frontrunners to be the next prime minister and they are all Chinese men.

Dr Tan Cheng Bock would have been a real president who represented all
Singaporeans, regardless of race or religion. He would not have caused
divides. He would have unified Singaporeans and made Singapore stronger and
better. However, the government of the day does not want that and is
unwilling to entertain the idea of him being in that office. Sadly it is a
loss for all of us. We have been deprived of a good man and instead we get a
farce of an election with only PAP candidates.

A.S.S. Contributor

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