By LM — Singapore’s ruling party PAP has recently announced its candidate for Presidency. The nominee is their Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. While considered the most popular PAP member, this decision raises eyebrows because Tharman has a criminal record. Shouldn’t his criminal record disqualify him from the role?
In 1994, Tharman was convicted under the Official Secrets Act during his tenure as Director of the Economics Department. He was convicted of “Fraud” and “Negligence” for allowing journalists to see advanced figures for GDP growth, inadvertently.
If he could not perform his duty as Director of Economics properly, how can we be sure that he will protect Singaporean interests globally?
The irony of the situation cannot be ignored. Tharman, as the former Director of the Economics Department, was entrusted with sensitive data and should have exercised utmost caution. However, he ends up revealing important figures to journalists. This raises questions about his ability to safeguard vital state information in his potential role as president, whose primary responsibility is to safeguard state assets.
The President of Singapore is the head of state and has a duty to protect the country’s interests. Tharman’s track record, however, reflects otherwise. Tharman’s negligence could very well make him unfit for the bigger role and responsibility.
Political Expediency Trumps Integrity?
It is perplexing that the PAP would approve the nomination of someone with a criminal conviction. Did the party run out of suitable candidates? Or is this a move that signifies a desperate attempt to maintain their dominance? The PAP has been in power for over 60 years, and its popularity has been declining in recent years. The nomination of a seasoned politician could be the PAP’s way of trying to secure their vote bank.
The criticism stemming from Tharman’s nomination is growing. With this controversial decision, the party risks alienating the public by sending the message that political expertise overtakes uprightness.
Only time will tell whether the controversy surrounding Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s nomination will have a lasting impact on the PAP’s standing and the political landscape of Singapore.