SINGAPORE: A video of presidential election candidate Tan Kin Lian being garlanded by his supporters has reportedly been flagged as inappropriate content on Facebook, sparking questions about whether there is an ongoing internet brigade (IB) campaign to discredit Mr Tan – the only non-establishment figure who has qualified for the presidential race.
Facebook has reportedly requested that the video be removed, but Singaporeans responding online have said nothing inappropriate is being shown in the clip. The short video was published on Facebook last Saturday (19 Aug) by Kumaran Pillai, the publisher of The Independent Singapore. The video captured Mr Tan Kin Lian during one of his walkabouts and shows Mr Tan being garlanded and welcomed by a group of supporters.
Mr Pillai said on Monday (21 Aug) that someone had flagged the video for inappropriate content and that Facebook had asked him to take the video down.
Several commenters online said Mr Pillai should not comply with Facebook’s request as they found nothing inappropriate with the video. A number of Singaporeans also suggested that the person who flagged the video may be a pro-establishment individual.
Some asked whether Facebook should issue takedown requests without reviewing the content first, while others said such incidents are common during elections.
Mr Tan Kin Lian, who formerly led NTUC Income for decades, is among three who have qualified for the presidential election, which is set for 1 Sept. He faces competition from former Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and ex-GIC chief economist Ng Kok Song.
All three presidential hopefuls have made promises of independence but Mr Tan Kin Lian is the only prospective candidate who has been openly critical of Government policies, championing the common man, over the years.
Mr Tan, a regular figure at the Speakers’ Corner, has previously criticised the Government’s changes to the CPF withdrawal rule, the MediShield scheme, and the issues at SMRT. He has also spoken up for Singaporeans who lost their savings in the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008 and, more recently, the Hyflux collapse.
Interestingly, Mr Tan was formerly a member of the governing People’s Action Party (PAP) for 30 years. He served as the party’s branch secretary at Marine Parade for three years and was picked by ex-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in 1977 to test a pilot scheme for setting up block committees, now known as Residents’ Committees (RC).
He left the party in 2008 due to disagreement with the party’s value system. He has not joined any other political parties but has been embraced as the “true independent” by a number of opposition parties.
Mr Tan Kin Lian has put himself forth as an alternative candidate for voters in the upcoming election. He has promised to collaborate with the Government in helping Singaporeans with the cost of living issues, affordable housing and job security if elected.
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