SINGAPORE: Some netizens have welcomed the possibility that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, Ho Ching, may throw her hat into the presidential race that is set to take place later this year.
Mdm Ho, the former longstanding chief executive of Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek, surely has her fans but some netizens are saying that Mdm Ho may be the best potential candidate from a purely meritocratic standpoint.
Facebook user Harry Lim is one such voice. He said on Sunday (19 Feb), “If go strictly by meritocracy, I think Mdm Ho Ching is the most qualified candidate. Besides PM Lee, I think no one has her in depth knowledge of how Singapore is run, how our Reserves is being managed and how the various govt Ministries function.”
While Mr Lim is concerned over an “obvious issue of checks and balances if PM Lee remains in the Cabinet as Senior Minister,” he said: “Ideal situation for her to be the President would be when the PAP is not in power. I believe that was the intent and purpose of EP as envisaged by our late Lee Kuan Yew.”
As for votes, Mr Lim imagines that those on social media and hardcore opposition supporters will “flame” Mdm Ho but he believes she has a good chance as “the grassroots organisations and many heartlanders will support her.”
He added, “As a keen observer of local politics since the 80s, I find it very interesting to watch the percentage of votes Ho Chin can garner if she did contest in the coming EP.”
Contest with Lee Hsien Yang?
If rumours are to be believed, Mdm Ho may see tough competition from a family member if she does choose to run for president. According to sources that spoke to the Asia Sentinel, the Prime Minister’s estranged younger brother, Lee Hsien Yang, may join the race.
The younger Mr Lee is a member of the Progress Singapore Party, an opposition party led by former PAP backbenchers. He did not contest the last general election in 2020 but publicly supported the opposition in their campaigning efforts.
One source told the Asia Sentinel, “Lee Hsien Loong was hugely upset by Ong Teng Cheong asking questions on the reserves. It must be Lee Hsien Loong’s nightmare if Hsien Yang were to be in a position to do the same. Hsien Yang has the profile and independent-mindedness that would make him a very persuasive candidate to the population who wants a check and balance on the PAP.”
Another source who also declined to be named told the same publication, “As Singapore is doing so badly under Lee Hsien Loong and is adrift, many Singaporeans yearn for the good times under Lee Kuan Yew. Hsien Yang represents that, so he is very popular on the ground. That is what Lee Hsien Loong is fearful of.”
The independent news platform said, “…if Hsien Yang were to become president, he would have the power to frustrate the government in some respects. He was reached by email at an undisclosed location overseas but declined to comment.”
If Mr Lee were to throw his hat into the ring, it would effectively turn his longstanding feud with his elder brother political.
As for Mdm Ho, the Asia Sentinel reported: “Rumors that Ho Ching may run have been making the rounds for weeks, but there is no confirmation of this. An Asia Sentinel email query to the prime minister’s office remains unanswered.”
Will Lee Hsien Yang and Ho Ching face off at the next presidential race?
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