They are mindful of their choice but why have they not decided whether to endorse or not to endorse him yet? Are they afraid their endorsement may sabo their preferred EP candidate instead?
Singapore in uncharted territory, says Tony Tan
Wednesday, Aug 03, 2011
By Victoria Barker
Singaporeans must be aware of global economic issues and how they may affect the country, presidential hopeful Tony Tan said yesterday.
Citing the current United States debt crisis as an example, Dr Tan, 71, asked whether uncertainties on a global level would "overwhelm" Singaporeans.
"We are in uncharted territory here. What does it mean for the jobs? How can (workers) keep themselves relevant?...Will prices continue to rise?" he said.
"I see major difficulties that lie ahead of Singapore."
Making sure that workers "have the skills in order to raise their productivity if costs rise", is crucial, he added.
Dr Tan was speaking to reporters at the NTUC Centre in Marina Boulevard, after an hour-long closed-door dialogue session in which he fielded questions from union leaders.
The dialogue, organised by the Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute, aims to engage key personalities on issues affecting the workforce.
The former deputy prime minister - one of five potential candidates vying to contest the upcoming presidential election - described union workers as the "heart" of Singapore's economy.
Explaining his role at the dialogue, Dr Tan said that many of the union leaders are understandably "very worried" about the implications of such a crisis.
"So I wanted to discuss with them all of these issues, give them a better understanding of what is happening, what could happen, and see how we could all work together in order to help them overcome some of these difficulties."
Asked if the labour movement would be endorsing Dr Tan in his presidential bid, Mr John De Payva, president of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), said that it has not formally decided to do so.
"We are mindful of who we think should be president but we have not decided whether to endorse. We may, we may not," he said, adding that a formal decision would come only after discussions with NTUC's Central Committee and its union leaders.
However, Mr De Payva said that Dr Tan "fits the bill" of what NTUC wants in a president: someone with stature, exposure and an understanding of the fundamentals of the role of the president.
Dr Tan - who has had links to the labour movement since 1979, when he became chairman of NTUC's Investment Committee - was invited to the dialogue at the request of union leaders.
NTUC says no decision yet to back any presidential candidate
By Hoe Yeen Nie | Posted: 02 August 2011 2141 hrs
SINGAPORE: The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) said it has not yet decided which of the potential candidates for the Presidential Election it will support.
In the past, the labour movement had openly supported President S R Nathan and his predecessor Mr Ong Teng Cheong when they stood for election, because both men came from within the union ranks.
Mr Ong was a former secretary-general of the NTUC, while Mr Nathan led its first labour research unit.
On Tuesday, 500 union representatives held a closed door dialogue with presidential hopeful and former Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan, who was never part of the union.
The closed door dialogue covered topics such as the economy and Dr Tan's working style if elected as President.
With the Presidential Election expected in the next few weeks, the timing of this event raises questions as to whether Dr Tan has the support of the unions.
But NTUC remained non-committal. It said it invited Dr Tan because it had never invited him before, and its members were curious to know more about the man.
NTUC said it may also invite the other potential candidates for a dialogue, if union leaders request for it.
NTUC president John De Payva said: "We want a person who has got that kind of stature and that kind of exposure, who understands the fundamental role of the President."
While Mr De Payva believes that Dr Tan fits the bill, he added: "We are mindful of who we think should be President, but the decision is not, we have not decided whether to endorse or not to endorse."
As for Dr Tan, he said that as a presidential candidate, he will be very happy if anybody or any organisation wants to endorse him.
For now, it seems at least one union leader has decided to endorse Dr Tan for the Presidential Election.
G E Diran, vice-president of Sembawang Shipyard Employees' Union, said: "My union totally supports Dr Tony Tan for his presidency bid. What we'll do is we'll encourage our members, staff and their families, during the election itself, to support Dr Tony Tan."
Other union leaders said they would like dialogues with other potential candidates so that they can be assessed.
Dr Tan is one of five people who have expressed interest in running for President.
The other four are former NTUC Income chief Tan Kin Lian, former MP Tan Cheng Bock, former Singapore Democratic Party member, Tan Jee Say, and businessman Andrew Kuan.