SINGAPORE: Presidential aspirant Tan Kin Lian announced that he will withdraw from the race for the Istana if George Goh, the businessman, is deemed eligible to run.
“If the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) allows for a four-way contest, I will refrain from submitting my nomination,” stated Mr Tan on Thursday.
He also extended his best wishes to Mr Goh.
The declaration followed a series of exchanges between Mr Tan, aged 75, and Mr Goh, 63, with Mr Tan suggesting the possibility of one stepping aside should both qualify for the presidential race.
Earlier on Monday, at a press event, Mr Goh, the founder of Harvey Norman Ossia, clarified that there had been no arrangement with Mr Tan regarding stepping down if both qualify and urged him to prioritize his own campaign.
Mr Tan highlighted that he had initially resolved to step aside if all four candidates were green-lighted. He recounted his advisors’ reluctance towards his announcement, fearing it might dishearten his supporters. However, they have since warmed up to his decision, Mr Tan added.
“Mr Goh is a more suitable candidate – younger, more fervent, and with robust organizational backing,” remarked Mr Tan.
Though Mr Goh is said to have previously made some disparaging comments about him, Mr Tan voiced his respect and willingness to support Mr Goh if he secures a certificate of eligibility.
On the other hand, during a media interaction at the Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre on Wednesday, Mr Goh maintained his determination to contest in the Presidential race.
He emphasized the gravity of the election and encouraged other candidates to focus on their respective campaigns.
Addressing his eligibility concerns, Mr Goh recognized the challenges independent candidates encounter due to ambiguous regulations. However, he reassured that he was well-prepared with his campaign materials, encapsulating his entrepreneurial spirit: “I move forward confidently and don’t complain.”
Asserting the need for authenticity in a candidate’s intent on Monday, Mr Goh said, “Every candidate must be genuine.”
Mr Goh remains confident about his eligibility, 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, Mr 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).