Former presidential candidate Dr Tan Cheng Bock is the latest target of a group of netizens who have been redirecting mischievious URLs to the pages of prominent groups and figures.
Previously, some netizens redirected the URL NUSrejects.com to Nanyang Technological University’s homepage before redirecting the SMUrejects.com URL to the website of insurance group, Prudential. Another dig at local universities saw the SUSSrejects.com URL redirecting to SUSS’ own website.
As the joke war escalated, the URL SAFrejects.com was redirected to SMRT’s home page – an obvious reference to the fact that several former military men occupy management roles within the public transport organisation. In fact, the rail operator’s last CEO and current CEO both formerly served as Chief of Defence Force during their military career.
Now, those behind the URL redirect campaign have targeted prominent political figure Dr Tan Cheng Bock. Last week, netizens found that typing the URL PAPrejects.com into their browser redirects them to Dr Tan’s Facebook page:
A medical doctor by trade, Dr Tan was formerly a member of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) and a PAP Member of Parliament (MP) representing Ayer Rajah SMC for 26 years, from 1980 to 2006.
Dr Tan was the first ever non-Cabinet minister elected into the PAP Central Executive Committee – the highest ruling committee within the PAP.
During his tenure in Parliament, Dr Tan served as the chairman and member of several Government Parliamentary Committees. He has also served as chairman of the Jurong East Town Council, the West Coast-Ayer Rajah Town Council, the Bukit Timah Community Development Council, and of the Feedback Unit at the Ministry of Community Development.
Dr Tan stepped down as a Member of Parliament before the 2006 general election. He made a return to the socio-political arena in 2011, when he contested that year’s presidential election. Dr Tan lost by a hair (0.34 per cent of the votes) to establishment favourite, Tony Tan – another former PAP politician.
Then, in March 2016, Dr Tan announced his intentions to contest the next Presidential race which was expected to take place in 2017.
Months after Dr Tan made his announcement, the authorities revised the eligibility criteria for the elected Presidency and disqualified Dr Tan from future elections. Dr Tan’s bid for the presidency suffered another setback later that year when the Government “reserved” the Presidential election for Malay candidates.
Dr Tan filed a legal challenge against the “reserved” election, which was rejected by the High Court in July last year. Dr Tan appealed the High Court’s decision in the nation’s apex court but the Supreme Court threw out his constitutional challenge as well.
Following the apex court’s decision, Dr Tan said that he is willing to mentor political parties in Singapore.
Then, 93-year-old former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad returned to politics across the Causeway, banded the opposition together and led the opposition coalition to victory at the Malaysian polls this past May.
The waves of the watershed Malaysian election, which toppled the ruling coalition and saw Malaysia’s first transition of power since independence, reverberated in Singapore. Many called on Dr Tan to “do a Mahathir” here and lead an opposition coalition against the Government in the next general election.
A few months ago, a group of opposition parties gathered to discuss the possibility of a coalition and invited Dr Tan to lead them. Dr Tan has yet to give a firm answer on whether he will do so.