Singapore’s presidential candidates may all share the same name — the common Chinese surname of Tan — but with four candidates now officially in the race, this presidential election is the most contested in Singapore’s history.
Singapore is a nation that’s been ruled by one party since its independence in 1965. But the recent general election showed a growing interest by Singaporeans in politics and some point to a growing willingness of Singaporeans to speak out.
According to presidential candidate Tan Jee Say, “People are more open now in expressing their views against the government. In the past they were a bit apprehensive about being open. But now I think the election showed they are prepared to share their anger” he said, over the government’s economic policies. He said the Internet, and movements in other countries like the “Arab spring” has had an effect on Singaporeans too.
… While Singapore’s presidency is a largely ceremonial role, the job has several important functions including the power to veto key government positions and to tap the government’s financial reserves. The latter role came into the spotlight in early 2009 when current President SR Nathan gave approval for the government to draw S$4.9 billion ($4.1 billion USD) to combat the global downturn.
Singapore’s president also commands an eye popping salary — now more than S$4 million (Singapore dollars) or $3.3 million USD. Singapore’s top officials all draw some of the highest government salaries in the world, attributed by the government as a draw for top talent and considered by some a strategy to keep out corruption.
The four candidates are Tan Kin Lian, a former executive of insurer NTUC Income, Tan Cheng Bock, a medical doctor, former member of Parliament and former chairman of a marine transport company, Tony Tan, a former deputy prime minister, a former defense minister and deputy chair of the government’s sovereign investment fund, and Tan Jee Say, an investment adviser and former senior civil servant.
Full Article: Singaporeans will vote for Tan, but which one? – CNN.com.