Anger in Singapore as first female president is elected without a vote | An establishment stalwart has been named Singapore’s first female president but the milestone was overshadowed by criticism that her selection was undemocratic after she was handed the job without a vote.

Anger in Singapore as first female president is elected without a vote | An establishment stalwar...

Huh, guess nobody else wants to be the president of Singapore.

Oh, wait, one of the requirements is to have 3 years prior experience in being a high-tier goverment official or a big company CEO. How is that democratic and not an oligarchy, again?

Singapore is a one party technocratic state. Not really democratic.

Just FYI for those who are unaware, The "President" role in Singapore is mostly ceremonial. The Prime Minister position is the role with all the power. Not saying there shouldn't be an election for this, but that it wouldn't really matter much anyway in the grand scheme of things. They normally choose a "President" from a different one of the three main different races in Singapore every term.

Edit: I perhaps worded the last part wrongly. I didn't mean that it has always been a law that Singapore choses a president from a different ethnicity (It is a rule since 2016). Just that it has generally been a trend since the first president, Yusuf Ishak to have different ethnicities represent as President and not one ethnic representative continuously across many terms. This because majority of the Presidents of Singapore so far were not elected but chosen by the Parliament.

That's because context is lost for clickbait reasons.

The President of the Republic of Singapore is Singapore's head of state. In a Westminster parliamentary system, as which Singapore governs itself, the prime minister is the head of the government while the president is largely ceremonial, broadly analogous to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_Singapore

Are you outraged that UK does not elect their monarch?

Used to be kinda benevolent dictatorship. Now, not sure anymore.

Listen -- strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

Singapore was established as a one man show, it's never changed.

But...

It works.

I'd take their pretend democracy over whatever the US calls itself any day of the week.

Singapore is basically a perfectly managed technocracy. The current system works. It keeps the peace in a very diverse city-state, where residents enjoy a very high quality of life and a strong, well-managed economy. Everything is clean and safe, the infrastructure is good, its honestly one of the most efficient and well-run governments on the planet.

Almost any other government that you'd think to replace it with, liberal democracy or otherwise, wouldn't work as well as their current system.

The important part is that the President can launch investigations into governmental corruption. One of the other candidates promised to launch an investigation into the recent abuses of power by LHL. Coincidentally this candidate didn't qualify but an establishment stalwart did.

So totalitarian?

It's easy to say there's no corruption when there's no oversight on ministers choosing how much they get paid. It's easy to say there's no poverty when you refuse to implement a poverty line. It's easy to say the ruling party has the full support of the people when you actively punish wards that vote for other parties by slashing their funding. Oh also homosexuality is illegal, criticism of the government gets you sued into bankruptcy, the GINI coefficient is one of the highest/widest in the world, and speech is heavily restricted.

I lived in Singapore for years, it isn't the bed of roses people like to think it is.

The Singapore government write the rules so they can entrench their stooges into key positions without any opposition. It is "their brand" of (almost) democracy. It's fine when it's fine, (sort of...) but it's not fine when the benevolent dictators are out and the other less benevolent dictators are in power.

Not to burst any bubbles because you are right, but they also have extremely high inequality, low mobility, and there's a ton of poor people who can't seem to make it out of poverty. Not to mention the extremely high cost of living.

No it does not work perfectly. Get over yourself.

Source: am from Singapore.

William Gibson called it "Disneyland with the death penalty."

So outraged in fact we made our own country with our own oligarchs

The problem is with leaving the temporary state. Didn't end well for the Roman Republic.

Are you outraged that UK does not elect their monarch?

Yes.

"I am perfectly OK with living in a repressive undemocratic society as long as the economy is doing well."

If she had been elected properly, it would be proof of the tolerance of the people and an achievement she would have reached by her own merits. This just makes her look like another token pawn.

This is not completely true. The president of Singapore is tasked in the constitution to guard our national reserves. The last election had a contender that narrowly lost and wanted to recontest this year. Many new rules were set in place that many citizens perceived to be set in place so that he was blocked from running this year, resulting in a walkover.

The contender made it very clear that he wanted to question the current state of the national reserves and not be a rubberstamper.

It's a country run like a corporation, most people are smart enough to want to keep the current situation going because of how wealthy its made them compared to their neighbors. Something like 90% of Singaporeans could trade in their citizenship for Malaysian/Indonesian/Chinese citizenship no questions asked, but they don't for obvious reasons.

Not to burst any bubbles because you are right, but they also have extremely high inequality, low mobility, and there's a ton of poor people who can't seem to make it out of poverty. Not to mention the extremely high cost of living.

Huh??? Have you lived in Singapore before? You seem to have it confused with US or something.

Most of the people live in HDB flats which are government subsidized (i.e., cheap). Normally, when you tell that to Americans, they associate these flats with dirty, dilapidated projects, ghettos, etc., but actually, HDB is housing done right. It's very affordable, comfortable, safe, clean, maintained, located in convenient locations, and you're not going to find the usual American crackheads, thieves, rapists, drug dealers, and other filth dwelling or congregating there. The new blocks they're building around Singapore are like condos.

Food is ridiculously cheap, abundant, and in large variety from all the diversity in here. In fact, Singapore is known for this.

Public transportation is modern (makes NYC subway look 3rd world), available EVERYWHERE, and is dirt cheap.

Taxes are very, very low. There are mandatory employee+employer CPF contributions but at least that's something that belongs to you and you can use the account for things like mortage, medical, etc..

When you get a kid, government gives you all kinds of bonuses, tax deductions, etc..

It's not a paradise here but you painted a very bleak picture of a very nice, little country.

Singapore wonder starting to look more and more like one man show

The thing with one man shows is that they end shortly after the one man ends, after the initiated inertia passes too

> high quality of life

> one of the most unequal countries in the world, reliant on exploited foreign labour

Pick one.

Please tell me you aren't seriously arguing for an authoritarian regime where someone was once locked up in solitary confinement without trial for 31 years and political opponents, such as the country's first opposition MP, are imprisoned and sued until bankrupt.

They normally choose a "President" from a different one of the three main different races in Singapore every term.

No they don't. It's been a Chinese-ethnic for the past 5 presidencies. The rotation system was put in place as a means to block a popular opposition candidate and was done with no discussion with the representatives of the minority groups.

edit: I stand corrected. Wikipedia says "In November 2016, further amendments provide for "reserved elections" for a particular racial group (Chinese, Malay and Indian/other minority) — if that community has not been represented for five presidential terms." I had understood that the past five had been ethnically Chinese; in fact, at least one of them was Indian, it's just the Malay community that had never had representation.

The main point still stands however: this is a new rule designed at blocking a particular candidate. The rules were already insanely strict so as to prevent anyone getting the office without PAP approval; LKY states outright in his interview/memoir Hard Truths that the position is designed to deny access to the Treasury to the PM should the opposition or a populist manage to briefly take the position.

Most of the people live in HDB flats which are government subsidized (i.e., cheap). Normally, when you tell that to Americans, they associate these flats with dirty, dilapidated projects, ghettos, etc., but actually, HDB is housing done right. It's very affordable, comfortable, safe, clean, maintained, located in convenient locations, and you're not going to find the usual American crackheads, thieves, rapists, drug dealers, and other filth dwelling or congregating there. The new blocks they're building around Singapore are like condos.

Live in Singapore. HDB flats are hardly cheap. They WERE, 20-30 years ago, until a politician decided to peg TAXPAYER FUNDED flats to market rates (same politician who introduced our COE system for car ownership).

For a flat that is basically paid for with tax payer money, built on government land, and then sold to the tax payer at a price that is pegged to the prevailing property market rate is absolutely criminal. They even started letting private developers build and sell HDB flats. Expect to pay 350,000 SGD for a 95 Sqm flat in an area that is hardly considered convenient aside from the fact that there is a bus stop and a metro 10 minutes away.

And if you're not married you can forget about buying a flat until you're 35, because you're just not allowed to.

You've also neglected to mentioned that the only thing these "condo-like" buildings have in common with condos is that they are getting smaller and smaller with every new development.

Public transportation is modern (makes NYC subway look 3rd world), available EVERYWHERE, and is dirt cheap.

NYC Subway IS 3rd world. Let's get this out of the way. Comparing our public transport system to NYC is like comparing American democracy to Zimbabwe. The whole thing was built with tax payer money in Singapore, then privatized to disastrous results. If anything, the Singapore public transport system is exhibit A in why the "free market" should never be allowed to get it's hands on a public utility. Years of skimping on maintenance and upgrades to fatten the wallets for shareholders led to constant breakdowns and delays in our "modern" metro system, the scale of which is unheard of in true "modern" metro systems like Seoul, Hong Kong and Japan. Even the Government realised this and re-nationalized all public transport assets and giving a huge golden parachute to the same companies that got our transport system into the sorry state that it's in.

When you get a kid, government gives you all kinds of bonuses, tax deductions, etc..

Not if you're a single parent.

TL;DR Singapore is a nice little country, only if you're straight, married and make >$100,000 per annum.

Depends what you mean by succeeded. Cuba is doing significantly better than most of it's neighbors despite being under a massive embargo for the last half century. It might have done better as a capitalist country but it also might have done way better if it was never embargoed.

That said, it's also a dictatorship and is not exactly Marxist.

You also have places like revolutionary Catalonia that were anarchist for a short period of time and by all accounts worked remarkably well during that time-frame, but they were eventually beaten down by both Republicans and Fascists.

He or she must have for a period of not less than three years held office —

as Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker, Attorney-General, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Auditor-General, Accountant-General or Permanent Secretary;

as chief executive officer (CEO) of a key statutory board or government company: the Central Provident Fund Board, the Housing and Development Board, the Jurong Town Corporation, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Temasek Holdings, or GIC Private Limited (formerly known as the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation);

as the most senior executive of a company with an average of $500 million in shareholders' equity for the most recent three years in that office, and which is profitable after taxes; or

in any other similar or comparable position of seniority and responsibility in any other organisation or department of equivalent size or complexity in the public or private sector which has given him such experience and ability in administering and managing financial affairs as to enable him to carry out effectively the functions and duties of the office of President.

Basically it's just a way of screening to make sure you have experience with managing large successful organizations as a private citizen, or holding a senior position in public office. It's part of making sure some joker with no ability to manage or lead doesn't get to run, and ties into Singapore's long tradition of meritocracy.

Let's ignore the fact that they fiddled some of the numbers of the minimum requirements just for this election.

The Romans really had a great idea when they made dictatorship a temporary state.

Singaporean here. The anger isn't over the fact that our president was elected without a vote (she likely would have gotten it anyway) but the election process as a whole.

While conceding that Singapore does have a system of illiberal democracy, this is the first time that the incumbent party has undermined the elections process so as to block off a presidential candidate.

The fact that the elections process was reserved only for the Malay race limited the number of potential candidates significantly and is contrary to the spirit of meritocracy.

Anything could happen with any government in a generation. Right now, they seem to do a better job at looking after the interests of their citizens than certain European governments do.

You know how in the American system, 3rd party candidates are technically possible, but don't stand a chance? Singapore is like that for 2nd parties. They have the dual problems of rules that add challenges breaking into the system, and the fact that the main party is still very popular, and has generally done a good job (ok, not that similar to US politics)

It's not a totalitarian system, people can and do complain and campaign against the establishment. Democratic elections are held, and the constitutional rules are followed. It is just a system that has very successfully led to a single party dominance. There are a couple other parties that win seats in elections around the country, and they are no joke, but they don't have the critical mass to win the big prize.

It's also a country that does not tolerate corruption. However, being so dominantly in one party, and that party having a leadership that has been dominated by the family of the country's founding leader, and given the country's majority ownership of most of its biggest companies (Not a nationalization per se, but through a huge sovereign wealth investment fund), there are times when the government has cracked down on individuals in ways that would seem unethical or unconstitutional in other countries. But not like rounding up the opposition and jailing them (though something kinda like that happened once, on the constitutional basis of political parties not being allowed to have strong ties to foreign parties)

Source: I just lived and worked there a handful of years, and listened to people talk about it all, but am no expert so take with a grain of salt.

most brightest and most able? More like ex-military generals and those who are related to the people in the ruling gov. Singapore is a veiled of democracy-technocracy-junta.

It's all up to the people running it. Any kind of government works if executed well.

Octavian was smart enough to not call himself dictator.

There was no rotation system. It was only implemented this time which many see as a 'cock-block' to a Chinese presidential candidate that the ruling party see as dangerous to their agenda and views.

Malays are the largest minority group in Singapore. Only 3 Malay candidates applied for the job. One of the main requirements for candidacy was having assets holdings of $500 million. The closest candidate that was any way close to that number was $250 million. The other candidate was unknown but disqualified too. The last candidate was fielded by the Government ruling party so she was exempt from that rule hence being the only candidate and winning the 'election'.

Absolutely nothing. The president has no meaningful powers nor is the head of state.

B-b-but the HDI...

Wrong as well. President before this election : Chinese. President before this Chinese president's 1 term: Indian.

There was no president reserved by race before this election - constitution was amended and passed by ruling party with supermajority.

Hence, milestone of first elected Malay & female president was greatly diminished, not exactly a milestone. There was a favourite (ex ruling party), but constitution amendments meant he was not eligible.

It is still probably healthy at the moment, but it could turn into a nepotistic vakhanalia in a generation

Key sections from the article (all emphasis is mine):

Halimah Yacob, a former speaker of parliament from the Muslim Malay minority, did not have to face an election for the largely ceremonial post after authorities decided her rivals did not meet strict eligibility criteria.

It was not the first time in the affluent city-state – which is tightly controlled and has been ruled by the same party for decades – that the government has disqualified candidates for the presidency, making an election unnecessary.

But there had already been criticism of the process as it was the first time the presidency had been reserved for a particular ethnic group – in this case the Malay community – and the decision to hand her the job without a vote added to anger.

It works.

Dictatorships are always great as long as the dictator is benevolent.

Also, how are you so sure it does work? Are you an expert on the dark side of the Singapore government and what bad things happen? Do the people living there think it works?

Ah, the Theresa May approach

Singapore is great if you want nothing more from life than work. It's the sort of world that would be birthed after Jeff Bezos jerked off onto a cosmic egg while reading efficiency studies.

Singapore is a great place, but your assumption that OP was 'confusing Singapore with the US' and then bashing the country was uncalled for. In fact, in this thread of the comment thread, the US wasn't mentioned even once, yet you still went on.

Damn, this subreddit is toxic.

Saint Seya

"I am Shura of the capricorn, in my arm reside excalibur." "Does that makes you the heir of the kingdom of England ?" "Yes, but I've lost the papers to prove it"

Not surprised. In South Korea, the locals here sometimes call Singapore "jal saneun Bukhan" (잘 사는 북한) or "North Korea with a high standard of living" in Korean.

the rotation system among the ethnic groups is only implemented earlier this year...

again, the selected president, is technically an Indian (in Singapore, the race of the child is determined by her father's race), but she did get married to a Malay man, which means she will be a Muslim.

That makes her an Indian Muslim, rather than a Malay, but somehow she still qualifies and 'win the election'

To olde Rome, kingdoms and absolute monarchies were incredibly distasteful. Temporary dictatorships worked for hundreds of years before someone decided they liked being big fish.

I was joking mate. Why would I want my own oligarchs? Oligarchs suck. I'm not outraged over Singapore, I'm indifferent to Singapore and it's president.

Who gives a shit if there is no corruption in police state?

You have a fucked up sense of priorities.

Singapore is a small country, they reason, so it can't afford to split talent. The PAP is essentially a corporation running the country, filling its ranks with its most brightest and most able. Whatever works I guess.

It's been a Chinese-ethnic for the past 5 presidencies.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_Singapore#List_of_presidents_of_the_Republic_of_Singapore

Not according to this. But correct me if I've been mistaken (I'm not singaporean).

yeah, well, since when is Singapore a democracy.

Singapore is ranked 132nd of 167 by the Polity iv project, ranked 126 on the Freedom House Index, and ranked 153 by reporters without borders.

This is really not that surprising

It doesn't work for those trapped in poverty, prison, or indentured servitude. But fuck them I guess as long as the system is stable and I'm doing well.

the beginning of animal farm was pretty swell?

Singapore is an efficiently run country so they must be doing something right.

Singapore isn't a democracy.

The most ironic thing is that this completely goes against the national pledge where citizens pledge for meritocracy regardless of race or religion.

Nope. Drop by /sub/singapore to get a better look.

Non democratic brought Singapore from a slum dump to one of the most developed countries in the world.

Hm I prefer if my politicians aren't lobbied by rich people to do their bidding. I prefer when my tax payer dollars don't get wasted away in government efficiency. I prefer living in a country with the top economic freedom in the world where you can easily start your own small business without having to hand over your life savings to a cop. You prefer the freedom to bitch about the government on your blog that no one reads. Different priorities I guess.

TIL you have to be wealthy to be president of Singapore.

You know, like what happened in the US when Trump's massive win in the popular vote was overturned in the electoral college because of merfeminazism

They normally choose a "President" from a different one of the three main different races in Singapore every term.

No we don't.

This racial selection was only recently written into the constitution to prevent a more popular candidate from standing who was likely to win this election.

It was so hastily written that they even got simple counting wrong and had to use our "independent" judiciary to interpret "elected president" to include an un-elected president.

https://www.wired.com/1993/04/gibson-2/?1

You will need to migrate to another dimension to find that

if executed well.

I'd rather live freely with a little money than under a dictatorship with bread and circuses.

The government of Singapore haven't invaded anywhere, or started a campaign to exterminate a certain race or people.

Prior to $500m it was only 100m as well.