Here's a scary thought ...
Tony Tan resigns from GIC to become Elected President.
GIC and Temasek merge to become a single corporate entity to enjoy cost savings, economies of scale and a larger global footprint to project Singapore's soft power overseas.
And Ho Ching is the new CEO.
Part I is now in play, so are the rumours about the CEO of Temasek stepping down in August heralding the script for Part II?
Tony Tan was always Lee Kuan Yew's favorite choice as successor when latter decided to "step down" in 1988. "Chok Tong was not a natural politician. He was tall, gangling and awkward, and spoke English with a Hokkien accent." (LKY, "From Third World To First", page 744)
Son of a businessman, Tan was born with a silver spoon. He's the rare bird that does not need to be dignified by a minister's hefty salary package. Tony Tan is the nephew of Mr Tan Chin Tuan, philanthropist and banking pioneer who founded OCBC bank. Same guy who made DPM Teo Chee Hean's father CEO of OCBC (1989-1991).
The only hiccup in Tan's 27 year PAP political career was when he threatened to resign on the spot, upon witnessing the 1990 horror of Dhanabalan at the receiving end of an outstretched hand (read the torrid account in Ross Worthington's "Governance in Singapore", page 150). Unlike Richard Hu, whose pilfered files were the subject of the fracas, Tan left after the August 1991 election, to become the chairman and CEO of OCBC Bank. When Lee Hsien Loong was subsequently stricken with cancer, he was asked to return as Deputy Prime Minister in 1995 to "strengthen the cabinet".
Astute Singaporeans will remember Tan for citing the dubious PERC (Political and Economic Risk Consultancy) survey that said Singaporeans are more highly paid than their United States or Australian counterparts "to show why the Central Provident Fund (CPF) rates must be cut swiftly and substantially." Tan told reporters in August 1993,"We have priced our labour out of the market." That may be true of the ministers' compensation, but even the daft man in the street could easily see through the lie. In defence, PERC's CEO Robert Broadfoot (some say Bigmouth) claimed their findings were based on businessmen's perceptions, not statistical reality.
"I am running as an independent candidate," declared the former Deputy Prime Minister. "My candidacy does not have the backing of any political party." He did emphasise that he informed the chairman of GIC, which happens to be the Prime Minister, of "my intentions to contest the elections and to resign from GIC as a matter of protocol." The PM presumably valued the candidacy of the president more highly than the chairmanship of GIC, the entity charged with getting a good return for the people's money. This has to be the odd instance when the custodian outranks the chief honcho.