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Outgoing IMDA CEO expected to enter politics as PAP candidate, as GE looms

Analysts are saying that his resignation is an indication that he is gearing up to contest the next election under the ruling People’s Action Party ticket

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Rumours that Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) chief executive Tan Kiat How will be among the ruling party’s slate of candidates for the next election have arisen after the Government announced that Mr Tan will resign from his post on Saturday (20 June).

A senior public servant, Mr Tan previously served in the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), the Finance Ministry, and the Pioneer Generation Office. He was appointed CEO of the IMDA and Commissioner of the Personal Data Protection Commission in Jan 2017 and is also involved with the boards of Government Technology Agency (GovTech) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

MCI said on Monday (15 June) June that Mr Tan is resigning from IMDA and will be succeeded by retired Chief of Navy Lew Chuen Hong. MCI minister S Iswaran also personally thanked Mr Tan for his contributions in the public service, yesterday.

While MCI said that Mr Tan’s departure from the helm of its statutory board is part of leadership renewal, analysts are saying that his resignation is an indication that he is gearing up to contest the next election under the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) ticket.

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The Straits Times said that Mr Tan is expected to enter politics as a PAP candidate in the impending election, pointing out that he has been participating in the Government’s virtual discussions with residents and grassroots leaders in recent months.

Mr Tan’s involvement in online forums on job opportunities, digital skills and digitalisation for East Coast GRC residents have sparked rumours that he will be fielded in the ward. The outgoing public servant, however, remained mum on whether he would enter politics. Revealing that his plans for the future are still being firmed up, Mr Tan told the national broadsheet that “it would be premature to share them now”.

The 43-year-old, who is planning to take a short break to prepare for the arrival of his first child in August, added that he wants to contribute to the efforts in fighting the COVID-19 crisis. Calling the pandemic a crisis and an opportunity, he said: “I will want to continue leveraging my experience, especially in the area of digital technology, to contribute to this effort.”

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