Former presidential candidate, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, offered to groom political candidates from any political party, at a forum organised by Future of Singapore yesterday, entitled ‘Post-PE 2017 Singapore Moving Forward’.
Speaking to a crowd of over 100 participants, the 77-year-old added that “quite a few” individuals have already approached him and that he will be meeting these individuals soon:
“I’m prepared to mentor any political group, even PAP chaps can come to me, I’ll still mentor them. Because the objective must be very clear: you want to train people who will be good MPs. MPs who will think of Singapore first.”
Referring to his past comments that Singapore’s political system has created an atmosphere where people are “very obedient, insecure and many a time, fearful of authority,” Dr Tan asserted that he will encourage the people he grooms to not think like that.
He added that he believes the mentees he grooms will carry some of his views if they enter the political sphere:
“If you come under my fold, I’ll tell them not to think like that. So if they do enter into the political arena, even into the PAP, I think they will carry some of my views.”
Dr Tan, who was the key speaker at the event, made several observations during the dialogue. Among other remarks, he noted that more people were moving away from mainstream media to alternative media for their news consumption.
The veteran politician also shared his views on the contentious Presidential Election this year. Dr Tan had expressed his desire to contest this year’s presidential election but was disbarred from doing so after the Government’s reserved the elections for Malay candidates.
The former PAP parliamentarian, who lost the 2011 Presidential Election by just 0.34% of votes, had launched a legal challenge against the reserved election which was rejected by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal. Former Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob subsequently won the election by means of a walkover.
Pointing to the voters’ lingering dissatisfaction over their inability to choose their President at the ballot box, Dr Tan predicted that this would impact votes at the next General Election.
As to whether he would join an opposition party in the next General Election, which must be held by 15 Jan 2021, Dr Tan said:
“To be a unifying person, I think first you must have acceptance. I cannot just say well, I want to be a unifying figure…let me think more…options will not be closed off just yet.”
He added that he does not intend to start his own political party as there are already too many political parties in Singapore.