SINGAPORE: Highlighting the importance of unity among “independent candidates,” on Tuesday (15 Aug), Tan Kin Lian emphasized his concern about vote splitting if his fellow presidential contender, George Goh, also qualifies for the Presidential Election 2023.
He expressed his hope that Mr Goh would reconsider his decision not to step down.
Tan Kin Lian, a former NTUC Income chief executive, emphasized that it would not be favorable to divide the votes among “independent candidates.”
He conveyed these thoughts while speaking to reporters during a walkabout in Jurong West.
According to Singapore media outlet CNA, when asked about the possibility of both himself and Mr Goh entering the election, Mr Tan stated, “It’s also possible that we decide to go in, and even so, I don’t think it will be an easy win for Mr Tharman.
“I have high respect for him – I don’t think it will be an easy win for him.”
He further expressed that his team of advisors believes that a non-establishment candidate could potentially secure a win in a four-way contest, and he trusts their judgment on this matter.
During Tan’s campaign launch last Friday (11 Aug), he highlighted the importance for Singaporeans to have a chance to vote for an “independent candidate.”
He suggested that if both he and Goh qualify, discussions would be held to decide who might withdraw in favour of the other non-establishment candidate.
Tan, who was also 2011 presidential candidate, had previously stated that he would wait for the PEC’s final decision on the approved candidate slate before submitting his nomination paper, citing concerns over Goh’s potential eligibility.
At the press conference, Tan reiterated his doubts about Goh’s qualifications and underscored his position as someone from “outside the establishment”.
Goh, in a recent press interaction on Monday (14 Aug), denied having any agreement with co-presidential hopeful Tan Kin Lian to step down in case both qualify for the Presidential Election.
“I don’t think this should be the way.” Clarifying after a dialogue at Bisoux cafe, Goh said every aspiring candidate “must be genuine”.
“If you decide to come forward, people will know you genuinely want to serve the nation,” Goh added.
Goh’s proactive campaign preparation despite COE’s eligibility concern
Questions loom around Goh’s eligibility due to his association with Harvey Norman Ossia.
Yet, Goh remains confident, stating that his consortium of five companies – which remains undisclosed – boasts a combined shareholders’ equity of S$1.521 billion over the past three years.
In preparations for the upcoming election, Goh expressed his proactive approach, emphasizing the need for early preparations rather than waiting for the Certificate of Eligibility from the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC).
Interestingly, the eligibility criteria based on Section 19(4)(a) and 19(4)(b) of the Singapore Constitution might pose challenges for Goh, as it suggests that the aggregate shareholders’ equity of multiple companies might not be considered for qualification.
The deadline for obtaining the Certificate of Eligibility is on 17 August, with Nomination Day scheduled for 22 August.
If more than one candidate qualifies, Singaporeans will cast their votes on 1 September.
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