SINGAPORE – In a turn of events leading up to the Singapore Presidential Elections, Tan Kin Lian, the former NTUC Income Chief Executive, has expressed gratitude and increased confidence in light of the Presidential Elections Committee’s (PEC) recent announcement on the qualification of presidential candidates.
Reacting to the PEC’s decision to qualify him as a candidate, Mr Tan remarked to the media at his house, “I’m glad for the Presidential Elections Committee’s decision to come early, as this meant more time to prepare my campaign.”
The Committee’s nod of approval was extended not only to Mr. Tan but also to former GIC investment chief, Ng Kok Song, and former senior minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam. However, entrepreneur George Goh’s application was notably declined.
Reflecting on this, Mr. Tan expressed, “The PEC’s decision was unexpected. I was surprised that Mr Goh was disqualified, and this has given my campaign greater confidence in winning Singaporeans’ votes.”
He further added, “There is now more certainty that I’m the only candidate independent of the Government. So it will be easier for me to prepare for my campaign, to focus on the message that I want to give to the people of Singapore.”
Despite previous declarations of stepping down if Mr Goh was found eligible, Mr Tan now finds himself in a pivotal position.
Speaking about his vision, he affirmed, “I will pay particular attention to the needs of the younger generation who have 50 years or more ahead of them. They will want to be able to feel confident that they can raise a family in Singapore, it will be affordable to raise a family, and I will do my best to make that possible.”
When asked about his campaign’s association with notable political figures, Mr. Tan clarified, “I also have volunteers who do not belong to political parties.”
He emphasized that his primary concern remains the welfare of Singaporeans, stating, “My views are non-political, and they are targeted at finding the best solutions to the problems faced by the people.”
At an earlier walkabout in Kovan, Mr Tan expressed his aspiration to secure a robust mandate of more than 1.5 million votes, reiterating the sentiment later in the day.
In 2011, Mr Tan had participated in the Presidential election, where he managed to secure only 104,095 votes, resulting in the forfeiture of his election deposit of S$48,000.
On his outreach strategies, Mr. Tan shared, “To reach out to voters, I will be communicating actively on social media, on top of holding walkabouts at markets and MRT stations.”
The Election Department has announced that there will be no designated rally sites for the elections and if candidates wish to hold any rally, they would have to obtain necessary permissions.
Meanwhile, Mr Goh voiced his disappointment at the PEC’s decision, sharing, “I am very disappointed at the decision of the PEC to reject my application for a certificate of eligibility… The PEC rejected our argument that my experience in these companies was equivalent to that of a CEO running a single company, and took a very narrow interpretation of the requirements without explaining the rationale behind its decision.”
The next phase in the election process will see nomination proceedings take place on 22 August, where candidates will make the requisite S$40,500 deposit.
Following a verification of eligibility, Singaporeans will cast their votes on 1 September.