Writing in his Facebook, a candidate for 2011 Presidential Election, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, said that he “might not qualify under new rules and regulations.”
He added, “Sad,if that happen. I always wanted to represent people’s interest and wanted transparency in the conduct of issues.”
Dr Tan’s comment was in response to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announcement at the National Day Rally 2016 (NDR) that the Singapore’s Constitution may soon be changed to ensure that minorities are elected as President from time to time. Individuals who want to run for president will also have to meet stricter requirements.
PM Lee explained that this is to ensure that the President, who safeguards reserves and senior civil servant appointments, has the right experience.
He further said that the changes to our Constitution may mandate that a president from a minority race must be rotated in from time to time to ensure “fairness” in representation.
This is what ‘Forever Vagabond’, a contributor to this website said about the pending changes:
“He (PM Lee) added that the current minimum criteria of $100 million in paid up capital is out of date, hinting that the forthcoming new rules will mandate that a presidential candidate needs to be a chairman or CEO of an incorporated company with a paid-up capital of a lot more than $100 million.
Mr Lee disclosed that the Constitutional Commission has already submitted its report to the government last week. The government will be publishing its White Paper to elaborate in detail how changes to the electoral rules of the elected presidency will be made.
Subsequently, it will introduce a Bill in Parliament to change the Constitution to include the changes to the elected presidency.
The details of these changes will be debated fully in Parliament after that, and at least two-thirds of the 89 elected MPs must vote for the amendment before it can be passed. Presently, the PAP already has more than two-thirds of MPs in Parliament.
Dr Tan Cheng Bock was Chairman of Chuan Hup Holdings with paid up of $177 million
If the elected presidency criteria of the minimum $100 million paid-up is increased, the person most likely to be affected would be former presidential candidate Dr Tan Cheng Bock.
According to Law Prof Eugene Tan, Dr Tan Cheng Bock fulfilled the elected presidency criteria in 2011 because he was the Chairman of Chuan Hup Holdings for 20 years. Prof Tan calculated that the paid-up capital of Chuan Hup was about $177 million when Dr Tan retired in 2011, exceeding the $100 million minimum.
If, say, the new rules are updated to require a person to be Chairman or CEO of a company now with more than $200 million, Dr Tan will then be no longer eligible.
Also, the new rules may mandate that a president from a minority race needs to be rotated in from time to time to ensure “fairness” in representation. If this is the case, Dr Tan may have to push back his running for the presidency till after 2020, which he may not want to do so, because of his advanced age.
Dr Tan was very popular with a large segment of Singaporeans, wanting to see him become the President of Singapore. In 2011 PE, Dr Tan was only beaten by Tony Tan by 0.34% of the votes.”
Dr Tan acknowledges ex-President Mr S R Nathan’s contributions to Singapore
In another Facebook post, Dr Tan paid tribute to Singapore’s former President, the late Mr S R Nathan, as a ‘tough but kind-hearted’ person. He expressed his deepest condolences to Mr Nathan’s family.