SINGAPORE: Ex-NTUC Income CEO and 2011 Presidential Election candidate Tan Kin Lian has become the first presidential hopeful for the upcoming 2023 race to release his campaign manifesto, weeks after he became the first to submit his eligibility application forms to the Elections Department (ELD).
Mr Tan could potentially face off with ex-Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, entrepreneur George Goh Ching Wah and ex-GIC chief economist Ng Kok Song if all four are declared eligible for the polls by the ELD.
All four hopefuls have pledged their independence from the government, but Mr Tan is the only one who has been dubbed the “true independent” given his history of speaking up for ordinary Singaporeans over the years.
Mr Tan said in a statement on Sunday (6 Aug) that he decided to heed the calls of his friends to participate in the upcoming presidential election as there is a risk that the election will be a walkover or a contest between two pro-establishment candidates if he does not come forward.
Revealing that he wishes to give the people a chance to pick their president as someone who is independent of the government and genuinely represents their aspirations and values, Mr Tan promised to help Singaporeans by bringing the cost of living down, ensuring affordable housing for all and securing stable jobs with upward mobility.
He pledged to focus on these areas, on top of the traditional duties of the president as outlined in the Singapore Constitution, such as safeguarding the reserves and upholding the integrity of the public service.
Mr Tan said that he has a vision to “leverage the power of the president’s office to make life better for the people of Singapore”, but he will achieve this vision in collaboration with the government, not as an adversary.
He said: “I believe that, on the whole, our ministers do work hard, are competent and they too share the same goals that I have outlined. However, it is evident that some of their approaches and policies are not producing the desired outcome.
I want to offer an independent perspective, to guide and support the ministers in finding alternative solutions to the issues at hand.”
Asserting that financial security is key to building a unified and harmonious society, Mr Tan said: “This was the spirit of unity and pride that Singaporeans felt 50 years ago. We need to rekindle that spirit. I ask for your support to make this our common vision and to turn it into reality.”
Read his manifesto in full here.
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