SINGAPORE — Former presidential candidate and Progress Singapore Party’s (PSP) chairman Dr Tan Cheng Bock has come out to endorse presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian as they share a “common vision” on the need for an independent candidate.
‘UNHEALTHY TREND’ OF FEWER INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES: DR TAN CHENG BOCK
Dr Tan said one reason he endorses Mr Tan Kin Lian is the need for an independent candidate, adding that a President who “is with the establishment” may feel “uncomfortable” if they choose to take decisions that are contrary to the establishment’s.
When asked about his thoughts on the flak Mr Tan Kin Lian has received around his comments about “pretty girls”, among other things, Dr Tan described it as “gutter politics”.
He also pointed out that the Presidential Elections Committee had already given its approval through the certificate of eligibility and found Mr Tan Kin Lian to be a character of good standing.
In his opening remarks, Dr Tan also expressed his disappointment that Harvey Norman Ossia chairman George Goh was not eligible for the Presidential Election because shareholders’ equity was raised to S$500 million from S$100 million.
Because this limits possible candidates from the private sector, Dr Tan described the adjusted requirements as “not a healthy trend”, and one reason he supported Mr Tan Kin Lian.
Mr Tan Jee Say, who is a member of the Singapore Democratic Party, also voiced his support for Mr Tan Kin Lian on Sunday morning.
“I’m very worried about the integrity of the public service in light of recent public scandals,” he said.
“As a former civil servant myself before, it is not easy for a civil servant to (relay) to a minister if he thinks something is not right. There are many grey areas,” said Mr Tan Jee Say, who served as principal private secretary to Mr Goh Chok Tong when he was Deputy Prime Minister.
These grey areas include understanding if a minister’s request is for the public interest or for personal interest, he added.
“I think clear rules must be set for this… We’ve had the same Government for 64 years, the distinction between civil service and Government becomes blurred.”
He also added that Mr Tan Kin Lian’s thoughts about the reserves — that “not too much should be saved (such) that it burdens the people” — were something that he resonates with.
About the support he is receiving from two of his former rival candidates, Mr Tan Kin Lian said he was “very happy” and described them as a “unity team”, adding that he will rely on “their valuable advice to reach the people”.
Highlighting that they had collectively received a combined 64.8 per cent of votes during the 2011 Presidential Election, Mr Tan said the trio will offer to work with the Government to achieve their common goal of making life better for the people.
“We will help the ruling Government to be a better Government by improving accountability and transparency through independent audit and scrutiny,” said the presidential candidate.
However, when asked if the two men would be nominated by him to be part of the Council of Presidential Advisers, Mr Tan Kin Lian said he has not asked them yet but that they are “excellent candidates”.
“I will ask them after I’m elected on Sept 1,” he said.
Mr Tan Kin Lian was also pressed about whether he can be considered independent considering several opposition politicians have voiced their support for him — such as Peoples’ Voice’s Lim Tean and People’s Power Party’s Goh Meng Seng.
To this, Mr Tan Kin Lian said that he has “always been independent in (his) thinking”.
“If you look at my past history, the last 15 years, I have expressed independent views on government policies as a private citizen,” he said.
He also added that he has not received any funding from political parties.
Mr Tan Kin Lian added: “If you play politics, you spend too much time fighting each other.
“I want to make sure that the views and aspirations of the people are conveyed to the Government so that they are taken into account in the final decision that the Government makes.”