SINGAPORE: After days of silence, Progress Singapore Party (PSP) chairman Tan Cheng Bock finally confirmed today (27 Aug) that he is backing ex-NTUC Income chief Tan Kin Lian for the looming Presidential election.
Both Dr Tan Cheng Bock and Mr Tan Kin Lian were rivals in the last open presidential election back in 2011. Appearing at one of Mr Tan’s walkabouts at People’s Park Food Centre today, Dr Tan said that he is endorsing his former opponent in his personal capacity and not as the leader of an opposition party.
Another 2011 presidential election candidate, Mr Tan Jee Say, was also present at the food centre. Mr Tan Jee Say is Mr Tan Kin Lian’s proposer for this election.
Calling his former rivals “comrades,” Dr Tan said: “Singaporeans want transparency and accountability. Having another establishment endorsed candidate as president will not provide this. Only a truly independent president can.”
Dr Tan also indicated that he initially may have had his hopes pinned on entrepreneur George Goh Ching Wah, who was disqualified by the Presidential Elections Committee. Asserting that the President must be independent from the Government in order to safeguard the reserves and impartially appoint key public appointment holders, he said:
“I’m very sad. I’m sad that the political landscape is in such turmoil. I’m sad that a highly qualified candidate like George Goh was not eligible. They raised the bar for private candidates by increasing the shareholders’ equity 5 times to $500M and certain management experience conditions.
“However no equivalent conditions are required for public sector candidates. And, it only resulted in all past Elected Presidents being endorsed by the establishment. This is not a healthy trend for Singapore. The government must give the people the choice to vote in a President who is independent.”
Dr Tan appealed: “Today, I Tan Cheng Bock want to plead with you to stand for what is right. Love your country by supporting the cause for an independent president. Your one vote counts make it worth it.”