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There's a difference between the establishment & the ruling part': Ng Kok Song on being non-partisan

The 75-year-old presidential hopeful, who is the former chief investment officer of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, said that as a “politically neutral person”, he is in a better position to help unify Singapore.

Ng Kok Song is guided around the Central Sikh Temple by Sikhi lecturer Satvinder Singh (left) and temple manager Rajinder Singh (right) on Jul 23, 2023. (Photo: CNA/Try Sutrisno Foo)

SINGAPORE: As a “politically neutral person” who has never belonged to any political party, presidential hopeful Ng Kok Song said on Sunday (Jul 23) that he is in a better position to help unify Singapore.

“I hope that the people of Singapore will see that (and) my political neutrality will raise their confidence in me,” he told the media at his first public appearance after announcing his intention to run for the presidency.

This neutrality will enable him to “rise above politics”, he said.

When asked about Singaporeans who may perceive him as an establishment candidate because of his long career in public service, the former GIC chief investment officer said: “I’m not worried that people will perceive me as an establishment candidate.

“I’m very proud of my public service. But we must make a difference between establishment and the ruling party.”

Mr Ng announced his intention to run for the Singapore presidency on Jul 19. The 75-year-old is the third presidential hopeful to throw his hat into the ring.

He retired from GIC - Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund - in 2013 after 27 years with the organisation. He was appointed GIC’s first group chief investment officer in 2007, a post he held until he retired.

Mr Ng started his career as an investment analyst in the Ministry of Finance in 1970, before moving to the Monetary Authority of Singapore when it was formed in 1971 and took over the function of managing Singapore’s reserves.

There are many people in the public service who serve at very high levels and interact with ministers, he said, speaking to journalists during a visit to the Central Sikh Temple along Towner Road.

“Especially because we have had only one ruling party all these years... there’s this perception that if you are in the public service, you’re part of the ruling party. But that’s wrong,” he said.

“There’s a difference between the establishment and the ruling party. I have never belonged to any political party. I have never belonged to the People’s Action Party.”


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