Saturday, June 11, 2011

Listing Singapore's physical assets

Dear Kin Lian,

I would like to share my opinion on an issue with you.

One of the points mentioned by Mr. Ong TC was "That the Accountant-General had informed him it would take 52 man-years to provide him with a list of the Government's physical assets".

Even if this is true, then we should in my opinion just spend the 52 man-years to get it listed. Besides the president, don't the government of the day need to know the list of assets it has in its control so as to deploy them for the maximum benefit to the people?

Furthermore, we have spent many orders of magnitude more than 52 man-years on lesser or even frivolous things. Think of the man-power and resources used for the YOG or building a meandering "river" at Bishan. Do we sincerely think these are more important things for the government to spent resources on?


What is a Plutocracy?

Read this article about what is a plutocracy and see if it also fits Singapore.

Where America now stands she has stood many times before where the forces pitting its citizens against its moneyed elite have clashed in titanic battles that defined what that country was all about; either aPlutocracy giving all political control of the state over to an oligarchy of the wealthy, or a Republic giving supreme control over the government to its citizens.

Song: Born again America
Does the sentiment of this song also apply to Singaporeans?

To dare mighty things

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”
 Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of The United States (1858 - 1919)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Trading in Govt Bonds in SGX

Read the details in

Ministry of Law statement on Elected President

Several journalists have asked for my response to the Ministry of Law's statement:

Please read this statement:

I also like to focus on another matter, namely the investment policy adopted in the investments of our financial assets. Should our two wealth funds (i.e. GIC and Temasek) adopt an active investment approach (to increase the return on our assets) or to adopt a conservative approach (i.e. avoid speculation on market timing and asset selection)?

My personal preference is to adopt a conservative approach in the investment of our assets and to use the influence of the President’s office to achieve this goal. I recognize that there may be limitation in the power of the President on this matter.

I have no further comment.

Tan Kin Lian

Is the President merely a rubber stamp?

Ultimately, I believe that Singaporeans are clear about their expectations of the role of the President. We know that the President has limited powers, but I also believe that we would like the President to be able to counsel the government through a process of engagement with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet and active deliberations of government decisions.
This engagement and deliberation would be predicated on the President having a good feel of the pulse of the ground, which should be the case since the President is after all elected by the people for the people.
And only if he can truly do that, can we honestly say that we have our next people’s president.

Beyond guarding the reserves

Dear Mr Tan,
I live away from Singapore but have been following recent events especially the Elections and also now the Presidential Elections. I have read your statement and see much to be heartened by it. In particular, I entirely agree that there is a need to recover the sense of public service that has been lost in the kind of 'unbridled' meritocracy that has led to frankly quite obscene ministerial salaries especially when the ordinary working citizen is struggling and trying to cope with the cost of housing and generally the cost of living. 

I go back to Singapore for about two months every year and cannot fail to notice that in the last 5 years in particular even hawker centre food prices have risen very noticeably and on the low income of those at the bottom strata of society this is a real struggle as I gather from the taxi drivers who often hold two jobs to keep their families going. For a country that seems so economically successful it is quite shameful that the elderly, the less fortunate and the socially-burdened should have to live the way they do.
I know that you have been active in championing the cause of ordinary people (like those who have lost money in the recent financial scandal) and it certainly appears as if you genuinely do care for the people. I share your principles of honesty and integrity and public service (indeed i think the idea of a 'vocation' or 'calling' is not amiss when thinking about being an MP or being the president of a country; they are 'elected' to REPRESENT the people.
In this regard I would urge you to consider carefully what the 'reserves' of the country is really all about. Whilst I do not disagree about the need to very conservatively 'guard' these reserves I also think that a small proportion of it should be deployed to enhance the wellbeing of the most needy in society and especially the elderly. After all, was it not they who with their thrift, sacrifice and hard work in the 60s, 70s,and 80s especially that has made possible the success that Singapore now is? Should society not now repay them in some small measure for their contribution to its success? 

In Britain where I live, people who retire have a small 'state pension' and various allowances (like heating allowance for winter, free healthcare etc.) to help them cope with the cost of living so they can live a modest but dignified life. After all, even those who are not considered 'talent' have still a right to live a dignified and fulfilling life.
So, Mr Tan, should you be elected to the role of President, and I wish you well in this endeavour, would you please consider how to not just safeguard our national reserves but also to wisely deploy it to meaningful use. After all, the accumulation of wealth is not a goal in its own right but a means to fulfilling the average Singaporean dream of living a sufficient, meaningful and fulfilling life in an economically vibrant, gracious, self-confident, well-balanced, and caring society. 
In closing I would like to share with you a quote which has inspired me all these years since living away from home. It reminds us that being successful alone is not enough.
 The motive of success is not enough. It produces a short-sighted world which destroys the sources of its 

own prosperity…A great society is a society in which its men of business think greatly about its function. Low thoughts mean low behaviour, and after a brief orgy of exploitation, low behaviour means a descending standard of life’  (Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas,1933)
Very best regards

Robert Chia
Professor Robert Chia, PhD FRSA
Professor of Management
Strathclyde Business School
University of Strathclyde

Legal and moral role of the President

Land banking in the UK

.....The Financial Services Authority (UK) does not regulate land as an investment, but it does regulate the operation of collective investment schemes (CISs), which is how it is able to pursue landbanking firms........

Justice and the rule of law

A few people have asked for my personal views on the following:

a) Internal Security Act
b) Mandatory death sentence, i.e. the President's power to grant a pardon
c) Operation Spectrum - arrest of the Marxist conspirators

The general principle is - we need laws to be passed for the good of the country and the people. The laws have to be fair and have to be exercised honestly and fairly. 

My view on the first two items are similar to the views set out here. I have discussed these two matters with VSL and he has put them into the appropriate words. My views on Operation Spectrum are set out here and are based on the limited facts that are available to me.

I wish to add that these types of decisions should be debated and decided by Parliament, which is elected by the people to play this role, and should not depend on the personal views of an Elected President (whoever he may be).

Tan Kin Lian

My statements - Presidential Election

I have issued a few statements in connection with my participation in the Presidential Election. They are posted here:

Some people have been misquoting my intentions (often unknowingly) in the social and mainstream media. I urge them to check the facts and read my statements correctly before they pass any opinions about my intentions.

I also urge my well wishers to help me in pointing out the facts to the people who made these opinions based on misunderstanding of the facts.

Tan Kin Lian

Statement in Chinese - Contest the Presidential Election

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Millionaires in Singapore

Dear Mr Tan,

ref your blog post about newspaper articles highlighting the number of "millionaire households" in Singapore, this is the BCG report that claims that 15.5% of S'pore households have assets under management of over US$1mil.

The definition of AuM (see page 6) seems to include properties that are not their own residences.

Therefore I would conclude that its the appreciation of investment properties plus the strong S$ which have contributed to this large percentage. However, this is not a true reflection of wealth as I would expect that the vast majority of these investment properties are also leveraged.

May I also take the opportunity to wish you all the best for the upcoming Presidential Elections!

best regards,

Powers of the Elected President

In the early 1980s, Prof Jayakumar, who was then the law minister, was involved in drafting the White Papers and constitutional amendments on the Elected Presidency.

He said some candidates seem to imply that the president is a separate centre of power, distinct from the government and that he has certain executive powers. But Prof Jayakumar said this is not the case.

He said the president does have some discretionary custodial powers, mainly to do with reserves and key appointments.

He also has some custodial powers over detentions under the Internal Security Act, Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) investigations and the Maintenance of Religious Harmony restraining orders.

Other than these specific areas, the president constitutionally has to act on the advice of the Cabinet and this is the legal position.

Prof Jayakumar said it would be good if Singaporeans, and especially aspiring candidates, are clear about this.

Otherwise, wrong expectations will be created about exactly what the president can and cannot do.


I am aware of the role of the Elected President and the limitation of the President's powers as prescribed in the constitution. My understanding is the same as expressed by Mr. Jayakumar.  I thank the former Senior Minister, who I respect very much, for explaining these facts for the understanding  of the people of Singapore.

Some people have expressed the view that the President who is directly elected by people, hopefully with a clear majority, should have the moral authority to influence the government in reviewing some of its policies that have a significant negative impact on the lives and the future of Singaporeans. 

I hope that, within the limited constitutional powers, the Elected President can have an influence in these matters and that his or her contribution would be welcomed by the Government. Hopefully, this would benefit the people of Singapore and the improve our system of governance.

I will be giving more thought to what can or cannot be done, and how the objectives can be achieved and may issue a more detailed statement on this matter in a few days time.

Temasek Review Online Poll

Here is the result of a different poll, not connected with Facebook:

The online website tends to have mostly anti-PAP readers, judging from the postings, so the results will not reflect the views of the general population. 

Safeguarding our reserves - investment policy

Dear Mr Tan,
I applaud you for stepping forward to offer your candidacy in the upcoming Presidential Election. I am glad we will likely see a contest. May the best man win for the good of our homeland.

I am an investment manager and wealth manager working for a global financial institution. In the course of my professional career, I have played multiple roles including managing money for institutions and wealthy individuals. For all these investors, there are always varying investment objectives and targets as the funds always have differences in use.

This should be no different when dealing with funds belonging to the nation, hard-earned monies from our forefathers. Just like a patriarch who stores his wealth, hands over to future generations, one would imagine that the purpose (investment objective) of such a fund would be: saving for the future, saving for "rainy days" and enhancing portfolio value to retain and grow future purchasing power.

While I believe that it is beyond to remit of the Elected President to involved himself in the operations of our sovereign wealth funds, I hope the EP will question GIC and Temasek on the basis of their performance and exposure reports which I would imagine is submitted to the EP.

I echo your call to urge GIC and Temasek to adopt a more conservative investment approach instead of going for the "big bang". In lay man's term, the way I would re-phrase the investment objectives I stated above for the SWFs is : "first, don't lose money. Second, retain its value. Third, grow and enhance the value sensibly". Given these objectives, looking back, it is questionable why GIC and Temasek went "big" into investments in Citi, UBS and Merrill Lynch. 

It is not too long ago that you were helping investors with bad investments in Lehman mini-bonds. It was on the back of that episode that we saw the sudden emergence of terms like "suitability check" for investors. My question is: Do the "aggressive" approaches adopted by our SWFs meet the "suitability check" for our reserves? Do our reserves deserve sensible and conservative investment objectives I had stated above? If we stretch our imagination further, it beats me why town councils went into Lehman minibond which were clearly not bonds even though the names implied so.

Another question relates to Temasek. It was set up many years ago as a holding company for our strategic holdings in companies like SIA, Singtel and DBS. This was a good move. As we know, the government divested some of these holdings in the 1990s and Temasek started to use the proceeds of those sale to go regional and invested in companies like the ICICI, the former ABC Learning and others. So, Temasek has deviated from the original "path". While we applaud Temasek for doing their annual reports, I think it is best to segregate the strategic holdings like SIA from other active investment decisions like buying and writing off ABC Learning. The rationale is very simple. I am quite sure Temasek management has no powers to actively trade SIA, DBS and other strategic holdings. So, their value-add to the citizens is in the non-strategic holdings.

We should know how they have performed without the strategic holdings so that they get the rightful credit and blame. Ideally, it would be better for Temasek to retain its original role. They can invest excess cash from sale of strategic assets but it must be properly accounted for. 

A better way is that Temasek can invest those proceeds via a separate vehicle so that that vehicle alone can capture all the active investment decisions taken. Temasek already owns two fund management units, Fullerton Fund Management and Seatown. 
Why don't either or both of these be wholly responsible for those active investments. This will provide full transparency on the real performance of the Temasek management minus the strategic holdings.

During a recent press conference Dr Tony Tan hosted to announce some management changes in the GIC, his Chief Investment Officer categorically stated that the fund has returned to pre-crisis level. What was the reference point? How do we define pre-crisis period? It was publicly reported that the fund has slightly more than half the fund invested in global equities. If we simply look at the MSCI World stock index, the highest level the index attained pre-crisis was in Oct 2007 at 1686.32. Yesterday, the same index was at 1301.84. Assuming half their investments (i.e. in equities), the other half must have done extremely well to claw back return performance back to pre-crisis level. Question is what kind of "turbo-charged" investments did they make that helped so much? Granted it might have performed well to help portfolio returns, were they suitable investments for a fund like the GIC? I have to assume that the claim about the fund being back to pre-crisis levels. Thus, my concern about the type of risks they took to achieve that.

Wishing you success in the elections.

Can the President speak up?

Lehman decision await UK result - Australia

TODAY - Tan Kin Lian to rely on social media

President's pardon and ISA

Dear Mr Tan Kin Lian,
Please consider the following two issues as part of your Presidential campaign.

President’s Pardon

Currently, the President’s pardon on capital offences is decided by the Cabinet. The President just acts on the advice of the Cabinet. The Judiciary is supposed to be independent of the Cabinet. However many citizens are not comfortable with this approach, especially since the Judges are appointed by members of the Cabinet and/or the relevant ministries. This appears to make the clemency review process biased, as there is no independence and transparency in the deliberation process. Furthermore, calling it the President’s Pardon gives the incorrect impression that the President is deciding on the matter independently, when in fact it is not ie the Cabinet is deciding on the matter.
To bring independence and transparency into this process, may I suggest the President, together with his Council of Presidential Advisers, review clemency cases independently of the Cabinet. The President may seek advice from any other resource as he deems fit to assist in his decision-making process, as long as it is not from the Cabinet/Judiciary. I believe this will be fairer to the convict, as there will be a separate set of minds looking at the matter. This will provide more credence to the clemency process and reflect accurately the term “President’s Pardon”. The constitution may have to be amended to achieve this.

The ISA Act should be reviewed to reduce its scope. It should not be used to detain political opponents and dissidents.
It may be used to detain potential “criminals” who have intent and plans to commit crimes but have not done so yet. Such potential “criminals” may commit crimes if let loose. They may be detained without trial, even though no offence has been committed and no charges have been pressed against them. An example of such cases would be terrorists. Another example would be in the case of suspected “criminals” where the authorities are in the long-drawn process of gathering evidence against him. In the interests of national security, and since the law has no other way of handling such cases, detention without trial may be justified.
The constitution should be amended to limit the scope of the ISA Act to such cases only.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Contest the Presidential Election

Here is my statement on my decision to contest the Presidential Election. It also sets out the issues to be addressed during and after the election.

Statement from Tan Kin Lian

8 June 2011
Contesting the Presidential Election

I have decided to contest the Presidential Election. My main aim in stepping forward is to give Singaporeans a wider choice of candidates to vote as the next President of Singapore.

I will be communicating with the people on my views on several issues that are important to them. Going forward, statements will be issued through my blog and in the media. I hope that the people will get to know me better from these statements.

My views on the many issues affecting the future of Singapore will be guided mainly by my personal values of honesty, fairness, positive approach, courage and public service. I want the people to know me by these values and hope that we can share some or all of these values.

Presidential Candidates
I have high respect for the two other candidates who have expressed their interest to contest the presidential election, namely Dr. Tan Cheng Bock and BG George Yeo. I also have the same regards for Dr. Tony Tan and President Nathan, if they do decide to contest this election. Each candidate has his strong points.

I hope that this contest will be carried out within a positive climate and that the people will focus on the positive points of each candidate, rather than adopt unfair means to smear the reputation of those who are willing to stand up for Singapore.

Hopefully, the outcome of this presidential election will be a win, not only for the successful  candidate, but also for the people of Singapore.

I echo the sentiment expressed by Mr. Ng Ya Ken in Today paper (8 June 2011). He said, “Allow losers in the Presidential Election the opportunity to serve on the Council of Presidential Advisers if they garner, say, 20 per cent of the vote. This might encourage more eligible and capable people to step forward. It would also add diversity to the composition of the council, which in turn would enhance the Elected Presidency institution”.  I had previously discussed a similar idea with my friends, but Mr. Ng has expressed it with the appropriate words.

I share the views of Dr. Tan Cheng Bock that the next President should play a role to unify the country.

Participation of the people
I have benefited from the participation of many people who have relayed their concerns, suggestions, and ideas to me by e-mail and comments in my blog and Facebook. This has helped me to better understand the key issues that have to be addressed and to find the possible approaches to address them. I have stated my views on some of these matters based on the information that is available to me now.

Some information may surface later that may change some of my views. I hope that my friends  will understand this limitation, but I also want them to know that all my future decisions will continue to be made on the values of honesty, fairness, positive approach, courage and public

If I am elected into the office of the President, I intend to build a platform for the people of Singapore to continue to communicate with my office, using modern communication tools. I want to make it easy for the people to express their aspirations and to offer their feedback on issues that need to be addressed.

This should be on the big issues affecting the country and the people as a whole, and not the personal issues that can be addressed by the elected members of Parliament. Naturally, I would not be able to manage the interactions personally, and should be able to get the appropriate people to assist me in managing this process. My friend has suggested that this should be named as the president’s personal council.

I will give further thought to this idea, especially on its practical implementation. I believe that it will be a good channel to maintain close contact with the people.

Tan Kin Lian
Mobile: 81685845

Annual report from the President

Hi Kin Lian,
I read your post on publishing the government financial reserves at book and market value. This might not be a prudent move as could possibly allow other govts to eye "financial aid" from SG. How can you protect the reserves when you have to face the political pressures of external govts who require "financial aid"?

In the normal world, when an individual strikes toto/4D, they will start seeing many new friends and relatives start becoming closer to them in the hopes of gaining financial aid. I do not deem it prudent to reveal your bank account to anyone.

Most of your other comment's I would agree with you. However, just the point of revealing your country's bank account is, in my opinion, already not protecting the reserves.

The other way is to first gain the trust of the population, then issue a statement from the SG President that all the reserves are properly accounted for and leave it at that. But then again, that would depend on the trust of the population on the word of the SG President.
i believe that the financial affairs of most governments around the world are quite transparent.

President has to work within the Constitution

President Nathan said that he has been doing his work in his own quite way and within the limits of his powers in the Constitution. I agree with that statement.

I have also studied the powers of the president within the constitution in framing my ideas. So far, nobody has told me that my suggestions are out of the scope of the President's powers.

Many people have asked me to state what I would do in exercise the powers of the President, so I am giving my honest and personal view. It is not made out of enthusiasm but my frank assessment of the issue (i.e. the unease of the people) and the need to better communicate the position in an annual report.

There will be limitations on what can be disclosed in the annual report (e.g. state secrets) but without creating  

any negative impact in the national interest, it should be possible to allay the concerns of the people.

On a personal note, I have high respect for President Nathan. He is a fatherly figure, friendly and helpful and gives dignity to the office of the President. 

Tan Kin Lian

Review committee - TKL submission

This is my submission to the Review Committee on Minister's Salaries.

CNA report - TKL to run for Presidency

Make Singaporeans important

Dear Mr Tan,

I am very very happy that you are running for President.

I am a middle aged Singaporean of Indian descent, but a Singaporean first. Having grown up here, I have deep feelings and concern for my country. I feel that there has been a rapid degeneration of our social and moral fabric, especially in the last 10 years. The PAP led government has lost its moral high ground and all its decisions seem to be driven purely by the priority to make money. This drive has led to a huge influx of the so called "foreign talent" and foreign labor, at the cost of damage to our social fabric. In short, they have sold us out.

I do understand the need to bring talented people to Singapore, but the government did not strive for a balance - they went for a "greedy" solution. So today,  the bond I felt as a Singaporean is no longer there. I did my NS and I studied in NUS. When I had the option to leave, I stayed. So I feel very disappointed in the current state of affairs. My faith in the government and the PAP has largely faded, like so many other Singaporeans. I do not trust them anymore, and I am very worried about where we are headed as a country and a society. I worry about the Singapore where my children will grow up.

So I really hope that you will hold the government to task, once you are elected, and you will work towards making Singaporeans important to Singapore again. Your suggestion of producing an annual report showing the reserves of Singapore is something that most Singaporeans will want. I hope you will make that happen as never in our history has the need for transparency been greater.

The truth of the matter is, for all the good the PAP has done in getting Singapore to where it is, it is in decline (and has been for some time). While the actions of our Prime Minister, post election, are encouraging, they will only serve to slow down the decline of the PAP, not stop it. We are headed for a transitional period  where the PAP led government will no longer have the moral authority to dictate things anymore, and Singaporeans will not take things lying down. So we need a President who will hold the PAP government to task and who will work towards unifying Singaporeans.

I will be voting for you and I will tell my friends and family to do the same.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Tranparency and Political Salary

CV of Tan Kin Lian up to 2007

Here is my CV up to 2007 - the time that I retired from NTUC Income.

Safeguarding the reserves

Many people have asked me, "Mr. Tan, if you were the Elected President, what would you do to follow the steps taken by President Ong Teng Cheong to safeguard our reserves"?

I have written this paper to explain the issues involved in performing this role and the new approach that I intend to take, if I were elected as President.

I have now decided to contest the Presidential Election (if I am given the Certificate of Eligibility). I shall issue a full statement today or tomorrow.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Transparency of reserves

Dear Mr. Tan
I like the part which you said as a President, you will improve the transparency of our reserves. That's a mammoth task and a huge undertaking in terms of responsibility and duty to the people. But I am confident that you will be able to deliver it, given your experience in finance.

I will writing on this matter soon - what is the challenge and how to approach it.

Ask Tuition

Dear Mr. Tan,
Inspired by your actions, I would like to recommend to your readers a website:
My son has been using it for his academic studies. This website helps to clarifies and provides solutions for students without any charges. I think it will greatly benefit needy students whose parents who cannot afford the expensive tuition fees.
Roger Lim

I have posted a link in my Blog Roll. All the best.

Shares the same values

There is a difference between people who work together because they share the same values and those who work as "yes" men.

An ex-colleague has given his views about my management style and being surrounded by "yes" men. I do not mind his observation, but it is unfair to my former colleagues who are tainted by his statement. I have posted this reply in his blog. Read here.

The meaning of public service

I wish to explain my concept of public service and to introduce an idea for a new charity to help poor families to pay the school fees of their children and hospital bills of the elderly people. 

It will be funded by a significant portion of the salary of the President, if I were to be elected into this office, and will seek  the support of many kind hearted and wealthy people in Singapore. Read here.

Posting in Yahoo website

Like to read comments about Tan Kin Lian, former CEO of insurance company INCOME.
He was prepared to act independently in 2008, duing the financial cirisis, to support those who had been mis-sold structured financial product. He did not wait till 2011 when it became clearer that many people were disenchanted with the PAP style of ruling the nation.

In INCOME, he was always advocating that the investment gains should go to customers rather than to pay fat commissions. Inspired by Dr Goh, He pushed INCOME to never forget the low wage customer while foreign insurance companies preferred to chase the more well-off customers.

Now he says he will donate a large part of the EP salary to charitable purposes.
Some say he is not a very sociable guy -- but actually, if you put your heart into the job, its not very hard to fulfill the ceremonial functions and to go around making small talk, shaking hands, holding babies and posing for pictures with the public. This is not the hardest part of the job -- the really hard part is to have enough understanding of the complex financial world to ensure our reserves are well managed (decent returns with minimum risk) and guarded.

Anthony Chia

Lehman investors get $100 million surprise - Australia

Deposit Insurance Scheme

The Government guarantee, given during the 2008  financial crisis, on all bank deposits in Singapore will expire soon (or has expired). In the future, bank deposits will be covered under the Deposit Insurance Scheme. This FAQ explains how the deposit insurance scheme works. It will also be the agency for the Policyholder Protection Fund (which comes into operation when an insurance company becomes insolvent).

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Operation Spectrum 1988

Here is an article of Operation Spectrum, which was used to arrest 22 social activists and professionals on the accusation that they were "Marxist conspirators". They were detained under the Internal Securities Act, without trial.  See

Recently, I met Vincent Cheng and Teo Soh Lung, who were alleged to be the ring-leaders. They told me about his activities at that time (mainly as social workers to help people with difficulties) and their treatment under detention. Both are mild mannered and soft spoken and can hardly be considered as people capable of conspiring to overthrow the Government.

When the operation occurred in 1988, I did not follow the event closely. I was not active in the grass-roots or political work and not connected to the church. I did not have any source of information apart from the newspapers and was quite skeptical about what was being reported. There was no Internet at that time.

This kind of abuse of the Internal Securities Act is less likely to happen today, due to the availability of alternative media, such as the Internet, blogs and facebooks.

Tan Kin Lian

Follow TKL blog

You can register to follow this blog. Click on the icon on the right. Each morning, you will receive an e-mail showing a summary of the new postings in this blog. I have registered as a follower only recently, and I now get a daily e-mail. It is a useful summary.

Denise Phua and Ministers' Salaries

Hi Mr Tan Kin Lian,
I have followed your blog since 2007. Find that most of the posted issues are factual and objective. These are the reasons that your blog is so popular and has a record of about 3 millions visitors record till date. In fact, some of my friends read your blog first in every morning.

It is my sincere hope that you can post the attached Denise Phua's speech on your blog. This can be a good reference for the Salary Review Committee.

As regard to your decision to run for the presidency, it is a noble thought that you do not want any walkovers. The only thing is to participate in the race. LET THE BEST MAN BE THE WINNER.

The toxic investments saga in 2008

Powers of the President of Singapore

Create the Singapore we used to love

I really hope Tan Kin Lian will become Singapore's next President and help recreate the Singapore we used to love. A Singapore where people are friendly to each other, a Singapore where money does not divide or dictate the status of a person, a Singapore where Singaporeans can feel home, can feel the true quality of life, and not via measure of how much a person earns.

Mr Tan, would really hope you can be our President of Singapore and bring enlightenment to our Singapore Society which is now lost due to money.

Misplaced trust in the system

Dear Mr. Tan,

May I know if you were elected president, would you be able to set up a board of inquiry into the many different cases where innocent consumers lost money because they trusted the system too much?

- true spa subtle senses wax in the city wellness village naughty by nature etc
- land banking
- minibonds
- teachers who have to pay liquidated damages for failing their practicums

I hope you will expose the many injustices in Singapore.


I do not know if this is possible, but I will give it some thought.

Encouragement from a student of SMU

Hi Prof. Tan

I was a staunch believer of the Singapore government and their way of doing things. But as time passes and at this present time, I finally begin to understand the simmering unhappiness among many of our citizens. I begin to see and acknowledge that there is a wide group of people that have fallen through the cracks and our country is no more what it used to be in the 1990s, a melting pot of diverse cultures but one where people who were born here cannot really call home anymore. The familiar feeling of being unfamiliar is ever present.

But alas, the elections has indeed brought about change. Today’s Straits Times mentioned about how a mother used to write to MOE but fail to get a response in the past, but now she gets a response on her feedback. This can only be good for Singapore in the long run and I believe you would act as a good check and balance on the PAP government. I have attended numerous opposition rallies and have learnt a lot from those.

I trust you would make a good president. Regarding the prospect of smear campaign, I think it is inevitable given this day and age of the Internet but I feel that as long as you are answerable to yourself and believe what you are doing is right, everything is justifiable.

Hope this personal encouragement message reaches you well and all the best!:)

Student of SMU

Questions for Tan Kin Lian

Samantha Anne Wimala4:44pm Jun 5th
Dear Mr Tan

As a concerned citizen of this country and first time voter, I would like to ask two possibly very difficult questions:

1) If elected, how do you propose to look after the reserves of our country? I do know that you have a wealth of experience and would be more than qualified to handle the task at hand, but it would be most helpful if you could give an insight as to whether you would do anything similar or different from the past presidents.

2) Secondly, a question has emerged among netizens as to the involvement of Dr Tan Cheng Bock in Operation Spectrum. In the interest of fairness, I would have to ask you, most respectfully of course, if you agree with the manner in which the operation was handled? Also, in keeping with the theme of this question, I wish to ask (since I did ask Dr Tan the same question), if elected, would you work towards the phasing out of the Internal Security Act or do you feel that the Act is still relevant today?

I would be most grateful if you could answer my questions. It would be most helpful for us voters to have a clear insight into who we wish to see in the Istana.

I would like to end off by thanking you for wishing to run for president, and to speak up for the common man.

Many Thanks and Best Regards,

I will give my reply to your issues in due course.

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Service to the country

Dear Kin Lian. 
Back in the early eighties, I used to be a part-time insurance organiser under you. We like your management style. Very clear and pro-people. To be an EP is a service to the country. You are not that old? You see Dr Tan already 71 yo and he is so keen to run. I think in the best of my knowledge you are the most suitable. Second would be George Yeo. 
K Wong

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