He mentioned that it would have been a great pity if past candidates such as Mr Ong Teng Cheong and Dr Tan Cheng Bock were excluded from previous elections.
Tharman’s comments were in response to statements made by fellow candidate Ng Kok Song, who suggested that candidates with recent political party affiliations were not in line with the Constitution.
Tharman denied being endorsed by any party and argued that past affiliations should not be the sole focus when considering candidates.
He also mentioned that it would be a pity to exclude people from the public sector track who were not ministers but held positions appointed by ministers.
Tharman emphasized that past affiliations should not be simplified and that candidates have more affiliations beyond mere membership of a political party.
Presidential candidate Ng Kok Song also wants to gain the trust of voters by connecting with them on a personal level. He hopes to do this by sharing his life story of growing up poor and taking care of his late wife when she had cancer.
Ng participated in a dialogue with about 200 people organized by the National University of Singapore Society. He answered questions about his message to voters who may not understand abstract concepts like protecting reserves and voting with their hearts.
Ng recalled a conversation with founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who said that even though people may not fully understand his concerns about the global economy, he was able to win their trust and many elections.
Ng also acknowledged that his lack of fluency in Mandarin is a disadvantage, but he plans to start learning after the election.
He explained that he did not stand down after another candidate announced his bid because he wanted to ensure there was no walkover and believed he had the expertise to handle the country’s reserves.
Ng’s reasons for running for president include his experience in building up reserves and being inspired by Lee to do something to thank the people of Singapore.