SINGAPORE: Ms. Su Ling, the daughter of presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian, took to social media to express frustration over what she perceived as one advantage of former Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam over her father’s campaign, alleging that he had more time to prepare for his presidential bid.
“Seeing Tharman’s campaign posters and banners around the island just makes my blood boil. Nothing against Tharman but it must be really nice to be able to make all those preparations a few months in advance since he already knew he would qualify and most probably win…
“He just has to come out with a ripe pineapple and charm everyone on day 1,” wrote Ms Su Ling in an Aug 23 Facebook post.
Mr. Tharman had announced that he was stepping down from his political positions in June in order to run for the presidency. Like Mr. Tan Kin Lian and Mr. Ng Kok Song, the former Senior Minister submitted an application for a certificate of eligibility, and on August 18, the Elections Department (ELD) announced that the three had qualified as candidates for the Presidential Election.
Aug 22 was Nomination Day and the beginning of the campaign period, and shortly afterward, Mr. Tharman’s posters were already seen in the streets.
Ms. Su Ling wrote in her post that in contrast to Mr. Tharman, “other truly independent candidates only have 3 days between when they know they qualify and when they can start their campaign to mobilize an islandwide campaign to reach out to all Singaporeans”,
She added that her father’s team had been unable to print campaign posters in advance because of the late approval of election materials — and rush printing jobs are understandably more expensive.
The venues where posters may be put up also need approval, otherwise, candidates may be fined or asked to take them down within an hour.
Ms Su Lin acknowledged that “online attacks in any political campaign (are) a given” but added that having to fight them while simultaneously dealing with “the entire logistics of what I would call an extremely unfair system of campaigning within 10 days is not fun”.
She ended her post by writing, “I know deep within me that there is no point complaining… We knew it was unfair already since we went through the whole circus 12 years ago but we still tried…WE FIGHT….and risk being laughed at…AGAIN…to give Singaporeans a CHOICE to stand with someone truly INDEPENDENT of the ruling party (and their investments arms) once more!”
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