Singapore First (SingFirst) party leader Tan Jee Say has revealed that Dr Tan Cheng Bock is still welcome to lead a new opposition alliance that is in the works.
SingFirst, the Reform Party (RP), People’s Power Party (PPP) and the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) revealed plans to register a political alliance ahead of the next General Election, this week. The parties are reportedly set to register their alliance by the end of January.
The national broadsheet reported that the alliance is set to be led by Mr Tan Jee Say but Mr Tan has since shared on Facebook that the “there is no formal leader” for the proposed alliance since it is “only an idea at this stage.”
Mr Tan, who represented the alliance as he approached the various opposition parties to join the coalition, added that Dr Tan Cheng Bock is still welcome to lead this proposed coalition of opposition parties.
Dr Tan Cheng Bock, the leader of the Progress Singapore Party, is a veteran politician and is the only former ruling party parliamentarian to have founded an opposition party in the history of Singapore.
In July 2018, Dr Tan was invited to help lead the effort in building an opposition coalition at a closed-door working luncheon among opposition party members.
The event, which was organised by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), was also attended by members of SingFirst, RP, PPP, DPP, the National Solidarity Party and the People’s Voice Party. The Workers’ Party and the Singapore People’s Party were absent from the meeting. The SDP said that all the opposition parties present at the meeting welcomed the initiation of an opposition coalition.
Dr Tan, a 5-term former People’s Action Party (PAP) Member of Parliament, responded to the invitation by saying he is open to leading an alliance against his former party which has governed the country since independence. He said: “If you want me to lead, then we must think of (the) country first. If we go in, we must go in as a team.”
In January last year, Dr Tan announced that he is returning to politics and that he has decided to form his own opposition political party due to a sense of duty he felt towards Singapore, after hearing their concerns and fears during his interactions with ordinary Singaporeans on the ground.
Explaining that he chose to form his own party instead of joining an established opposition banner, leading an opposition coalition, or running as an independent since he felt that this was the “right” route for him, Dr Tan said that he looks forward to “working with others in the opposition who are passionate about putting country first – before either party or self.”
In September last year, Dr Tan indicated his openness to working with other parties. Declining to rule out the possibility of a coalition, Dr Tan said that the opposition parties should first maintain a relationship of understanding.
Advising opposition politicians to “keep it open and never close all your options,” Dr Tan called on party leaders to be “flexible” in their relations with their counterparts from other opposition parties.
Mr Tan Jee Say told The Independent that Dr Tan Cheng Bock was invited to lead an opposition coalition once again in November 2019. He said: “As GE is getting closer, we are thinking of going ahead with registering the proposed alliance and then invite Tan Cheng Bock to lead this formal alliance after we have registered it.” /TISG
I don’t know how ST got this story about a potential alliance. ST did not speak to me. But the idea has been known to…