Tan Cheng Bock announces return to politics with a party aimed to be “an alternative voice”

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In a Facebook post on Friday morning, January 18, former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock announced his return to the political arena.

Along with eleven other Singaporeans, Tan filed an application with the Registry of Societies for a new political party named the Progress Singapore Party on January 16. Tan and the other eleven citizens, which he described in his post to include “some ex PAP cadres” are currently awaiting approval from the Registry. After which, he wrote, the group will hold a press conference.

In the post wherein he explained his motives for returning to politics, Tan said that he has had the opportunity to speak to Singaporeans “from all walks of life.” Hearing their concerns and fears, and feeling their pains, Tan wrote that he “felt a sense of duty to come forward and represent them in Parliament,” hence the choice to form the Progress Singapore Party “to add another voice in Parliament,” and “an alternative voice in Parliament.”

He was also transparent about the difficulty they had in making this choice and that he and his co-founders discussed different options such as joining or taking over an existing opposition party, running as an independent, and others.

But forming a new party is what he believes is the right course of action.

However, Tan put out the call to opposition members who “are passionate about putting country first – before either party or self.”

Tan also made mention that at his age of 78 he recognizes he has a short time left, and therefore he plans to mentor Parliamentarians for the benefit of Singapore’s future and highlighted the principles he wants to see developed, including “a compassionate and truly democratic Singapore where good values and people matter. Freedom of choice and free speech without fear must be defended.”

Tan added, “In due course, as the party and candidates mature, we intend to be ready to govern the nation. In the mean time, we will work with those who share our political beliefs of country first – before either party or self.”

He ended his post with an opportunity for those who wish to get in touch, through https://goo.gl/forms/iAuouSgTYoiDx9gf2.

Here is the full text of Tan’s post:

Returning to Politics

I have decided to return to politics after a long absence.

Two days ago on the 16th of January 2019, twelve likeminded Singaporeans (including some ex PAP cadres and myself) filed an application to the Registry of Societies to register a new political party. This will be called the Progress Singapore Party.

Over the years, a group of us have been walking the ground, meeting many Singaporeans from all walks of life. In my conversations with them, I listened to their concerns, heard their fears and felt their pain. I felt a sense of duty to come forward and represent them in Parliament. So I decided to form a political party to add another voice in Parliament.

The decision to go on our own was not an easy one. I, together with my team, studied the many options offered, like joining an existing opposition party, taking over an existing opposition party, running as an independent and so on. I want to thank all those who made such generous offers. I considered them all seriously and it was a difficult decision, but I feel it is the right one.

Though we are setting up a new party, we still look forward to working with others in the opposition who are passionate about putting country first – before either party or self.

At 78 years, I have a short window that I intend to use mentoring and developing future Parliamentarians who will work for the good of our nation. We want to build a compassionate and truly democratic Singapore where good values and people matter. Freedom of choice and free speech without fear must be defended.

We hope to be given the opportunity for Progress Singapore Party to be an alternative voice in parliament. In due course, as the party and candidates mature, we intend to be ready to govern the nation. In the mean time, we will work with those who share our political beliefs of country first – before either party or self.

We are awaiting approval from the Registry of Societies and will hold a press conference thereafter.

To get in touch with me, please click on https://goo.gl/forms/iAuouSgTYoiDx9gf2

Read related: Tan Cheng Bock gives his clearest indication yet that he will enter active politics in 2019