The Time Is Coming
Can you feel the winds of change? The time has almost come for us to elect our new president. And it’s ever-so important that we make the right decision.
After all, haven’t we witnessed enough of the recent US presidential election to know that who we vote for is important?
As MP Yaacob Ibrahim recently declined his participation in the election, we’re left wondering who the other contenders are and how capable they are to take on the duty of being the second Malay President of Singapore. Who will be our next minority representative after Yusof Ishak and S R Nathan?
Potential Presidential Candidates
1. Masagos Zulkifli bin Masagos Mohamad
Current Position: Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Member of Parliament for Tampines Group Representation Constituency (GRC)
Education: Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the National University of Singapore, Master of Business Administration from University of Southern California
Mr Masagos Zulkifli took the initiative to launch the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint in 2015, which aimed to create a “green economy” and promote environmental awareness. Have you noticed how cycling paths have been expanded? Or how there are more car-free zones? Yes, that was part of his plan!
Not only that, he even introduced the hashtag #myMEWRkakis on his Facebook page, which he uses highlight a series that he launched to show appreciation to his staff members that he’s had the ‘privilege to meet and interact with’. MEWR refers to the Ministry for the Environment and Water Resources.
2. Halimah Yacob
Current Position: Speaker of Parliament, Member of Parliament for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC
Education: Bachelor of Laws with Honours from the University of Singapore, Master of Laws from the National University of Singapore
Mdm Halimah Yacob needs little introduction, as those who have read our illuminating article on her will attest to.
Being actively involved in fighting for women’s and Muslim rights, Mdm Halimah is no doubt a strong advocate for minority rights, with awards like the Berita Harian/McDonalds Achiever of the Year Award and the Her World Woman of the Year Award, duly lauding her contributions.
She’s already made history as the first female speaker of parliament. It’s very possible that she may make history as the first female president of Singapore, too.
3. Abdullah Tarmugi
Current Position: Member of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights
Education: Bachelor of Social Sciences from the University of Singapore, post-graduate diploma in urban studies from University of London
Mr Abdullah Tarmugi’s current position is one of utmost importance, and is especially useful to his campaign if he were to run for president. He was even reappointed by President Tony Tan himself, so if you want a president to passionately champion minority rights, Mr Tarmugi’s the one you’re looking for.
He followed his father in marrying a Chinese woman, a fact that may endear him to society, Dr Mustafa Izzuddin from the Iseas-Yusof Ishak Institute told The New Paper:
But because of his mixed heritage, Abdullah Tarmugi might not make it past the Community Committee. Here’s our story on Singaporean high-profiles who may get blocked by The Community Committee from running for president.
4. Po’ad Mattar
Current Position: Council of Presidential Advisers, Pro-Chancellor of the National University of Singapore
Education: Bachelor of Accountancy from the University of Singapore, Master in Management from the Asian Institute of Management
He has received multiple awards such as the Public Service Medal in 2002, the Public Service Star in 2007, Muis Distinguished Service Award in 2010 and the Meritorious Service Medal in 2014, so it is pretty obvious that Mr Po’ad Mattar is one to look out for.
His resume is varied – Not only was he a director at the PUB, he was even a director at MediaCorp TV from 1994 to 1999.
He was reappointed by President Tony Tan to the Council of Presidential Advisers on Jan 3.
5. Bahren Shaari
Current Position: Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Singapore, Non-Executive and Independent Director at Singapore Press Holdings
Education: Bachelor of Accountancy from National University of Singapore.
Mr Shaari is rather well-known within the Muslim community – he is the first Malay person to lead a local bank, tripling its assets in Malaysia and Indonesia within 5 years of heading it.
It’s worth nothing that one of the roles of the president of Singapore is to safeguard the nation’s financial reserves. As such, experience in banking would be invaluable.
Also, President Tony Tan used to be chairman of Singapore Press Holdings before he became president.
With Mr Shaari’s accolades and experience in banking and the media, it’s important that we pay attention to him.
6. Zainul Abidin Rasheed
Current Position: Singapore’s Ambassador to the State of Kuwait and Minister for Foreign Affairs to the Middle East
Education: Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Economics and Malay Studies from the National University of Singapore
Having won the Gold Outstanding Young Singaporean Award back in 1974, when he was just 26 years old, it is no surprise that he continued to succeed throughout his political career, becoming a member of parliament for Aljunied GRC for 10 years.
A true-blue politician whose experience and knowledge is undoubtedly an asset.
Making The Right Decision
Although the upcoming presidential election still seems pretty distant, we should never take the privilege to vote for the future of this country for granted.
As such, let’s work together in making the right decision, not just for our own interests but also for the people around us from other walks of life, especially minorities.
As to what some Singaporeans think of the election being reserved for Malay candidates, that’s a whole different story.