Tan Kin Lian: Rekindling Singapore’s spirit of unity and pride as Singapore’s president

In his debut presidential candidate broadcast today, former NTUC CEO Tan Kin Lian signalled his intention to foster a collaborative relationship with the elected government rather than taking an adversarial stance.

The 75-year-old presidential hopeful expounded on his strategy to protect Singapore’s past reserves and maintain the integrity of the public service.

Expressing his aspirations, Tan appealed for a “strong mandate” to offer an independent viewpoint and cooperate with the ruling government to address forthcoming challenges.

Tan’s humility and connectivity with the common man became a focal point of his address. Sharing insights from his “humble background”, he underscored a lifetime of resonance with “the hardship and aspirations” of the masses.

“I believe I can perform my duty best if [I] am in touch with the pulse and heartbeat of the people,” he asserted.

Further amplifying his vision, Tan spoke of reigniting “the spirit of unity and pride” that Singaporeans cherished half a century ago.

He argued that a unified nation living harmoniously can be realized when citizens are financially secure and concentrate on the collective good.

He emphasised that his 30-year tenure as the CEO of NTUC Income between 1977 and 2007 has equipped him with the requisite expertise to execute his presidential obligations.

Tan contended that while academic prowess remains essential, there is an equivalent need for experienced professionals familiar with ground realities. He intends to strike this balance when endorsing top public service appointees.

Additionally, Tan expressed the importance of astute investments of the reserves to ensure long-term returns without high risks.

He voiced his desire to cooperate with the government to judiciously utilize past reserves for current and forthcoming generations.

Tan, together with Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a former senior minister of the People’s Action Party (PAP), and former GIC chief investment officer, Ng Kok Song will deliver their speeches in the upcoming broadcast, scheduled for 30 August at 7 pm.

IMDA and ELD: President cannot voice opinions on legislation or government actions unless explicitly advised by the government.

Just earlier today, Tan told the media that the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) had trimmed segments of his speech for the national broadcast.

In a joint statement, the IMDA and the Election Department justified the edits: “Mr Tan Kin Lian’s original script had inaccuracies about the President’s role. He incorrectly suggested that the President could guide the reserves’ investment strategies and influence government policies.” and that some portions exceeded the purview of the Singapore President’s powers.

The cut content highlighted Mr Tan’s vision of the president’s office influencing certain policies, specifically addressing the cost of living, housing affordability, and job stability.

Mr Tan also indicated an intent to advise the PM against the planned 1% GST hike in 2024.

Reacting to the truncation, Mr Tan clarified that his aim was not to overpromise. He stressed that he has consistently communicated his aspiration to utilize the presidency as a medium to convey the citizenry’s feelings and apprehensions to the administration.

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