SINGAPORE: There is information circulating on private messaging, outlining the top 10 reasons to vote for Tan Kin Lian’s consistency.
These reasons encompass various events and significant civil group movements that Tan Kin Lian has supported:
- Medishield Life Protest 2011
- Against Population White Paper 2013
- Return our CPF 2014
- Jobs for Singaporeans 2017
- Water hike protest 2017
- Make Healthcare affordable 2017
- Ownself check Ownself on Oxley Saga 2017
- Protest against GST Hike 2018
- Hyflux protest 2018
- No to CECA and 6.9 population 2019
Tan Kin Lian, a two-time Presidential candidate and a current contender in the 2023 Presidential Election, is competing against opponents Mr Ng Kok Song (75), the former GIC investment chief, and Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam (66), a former senior minister of the People’s Action Party.
For a long time, the 75-year-old former NTUC Income Chief has never hesitated to voice concerns on matters that deeply affect ordinary Singaporeans.
Even during the recent CNA Presidential forum, where other contenders highlighted global challenges and climate change, Mr Tan Kin Lian consistently focused on the issues of cost of living and high expenses that concern ordinary Singaporeans.
He advocates for initiatives aimed at reducing property costs, addressing wage issues, and overall business expenses, firmly believing that by strategically tackling these factors, Singapore can enhance its competitive position on the global stage.
As described by his former colleague at NTUC Income, Tan Suee Chieh, Tan Kin Lian “is an independent person by nature and in spirit. He speaks what is on his mind all the time. ”
“He speaks candidly, sometimes clumsily, but his sincerity, integrity and heartfelt concern for ordinary Singaporeans are beyond doubt. ”
“He was sometimes wrong, other times right, but I respected his refusal to be a yes-man, his lack of fear in voicing his convictions, and his readiness to stand as a lone dissenter.”
“Kin Lian’s willingness to challenge the establishment and orthodoxy, despite being unpopular, consistently impressed me. For me, this is moral courage, ” said Tan Suee Chieh, who is also a former Group CEO of NTUC Enterprise.
As the 2023 Singapore Presidential Election approaches, with Singaporeans poised to cast their votes on Friday (1 September), Gutzy Asia recaps Tan Kin Lian’s steadfast decade-long advocacy and his unwavering stance on pivotal issues affecting Singaporeans whenever they arise.
Empowering choice and reform: Mr Tan Kin Lian’s stance during the 2014 ‘Return Our CPF’ Protest
The “Return Our CPF” Protest in 2014 marked a significant event where Mr. Tan Kin Lian raised his voice with conviction.
During the event, he emphasized that Singaporeans should be granted the freedom to choose whether or not to participate in the minimum sum scheme and CPF Life annuity.
While he advised that maintaining some funds in CPF accounts would remain prudent if CPF interest rates were to improve, he staunchly advocated for certain changes.
Mr Tan also advocates for the raising of monthly payout and proposes higher CPF interest rates for better long-term investment, and larger payouts at 65 for retirees with insufficient funds, among other solutions.
“Job for Singaporeans First”
In his 2017 speech on “Job for Singaporeans First,” Tan Kin Lian raised concerns about certain firms’ preference for hiring cheaper foreign workers.
He highlighted the existing imbalance that disadvantages Singaporeans, attributing this to factors such as reservist disruptions, elevated CPF costs, and levies imposed on foreign workers.
He emphasized the need to address these structural problems to prevent employers from finding reasons to hire foreigners over locals, even mentioning the challenge of high CPF contributions and the complexities of dependent pass regulations.
Mr Tan discussed the oversupply of graduates leading to job scarcity and stressed the importance of being realistic about job opportunities.
Tan Kin Lian also shared insights on organizing and advocating for better wages, addressing the structural challenges in the Singaporean job market, and suggested a job-matching website to connect job seekers with available positions.
Mr Tan’s bold questions on potential power abuse within the PAP government
During the “Ownself Check Ownself” Protest Rally in 2017, Tan Kin Lian’s unwavering voice emerged as he boldly raised questions about potential power abuse within the PAP government.
With particular focus on the Oxley Road Saga, he scrutinized actions surrounding the preservation of Lee Kuan Yew’s house, the establishment of the Ministerial Committee, and the handling of Lee Kuan Yew’s will.
While he acknowledged the controversy surrounding these issues, Tan Kin Lian argued that these were essentially a private family matter and not a concern for an independent commission of inquiry.
He highlighted concerns of the people, such as high costs, competitiveness, wastefulness, and stress of living. He questioned why the government was not adequately addressing these concerns.
During his speech, he proposed that it was time for Singapore to make a change in leadership, noting the decades-long tenure of key political figures and the need for fresh perspectives to address the country’s challenges.
Mr Tan stood against GST hike in 2018
Tan Kin Lian’s dedication to addressing the cost of living has remained steadfast for over a decade. His resolute stance came to the fore when he took a stand against the proposed GST hike in 2018.
During a rally speech, Tan Kin Lian vehemently disagreed with the prevalent notion that increasing GST was a means to ensure broader tax contributions from groups like hawkers, taxi drivers, and the self-employed.
He argues that the high costs these groups face negate the supposed fairness of GST, given their limited income after covering essential expenses like rent.
Some argue that since many countries implement GST, it must be a good tax.
However, Tan Kin Lian points out that these countries do not have the same level of additional revenue sources, such as land sales, foreign workers’ levies, and land ownership.
He believes that abolishing GST and returning to frugality and prudence in government spending, as advocated by former Deputy Prime Minister Goh Keng Swee, is necessary to make the country more competitive and sustainable.
Tan Kin Lian’s call against job displacement in 2019 Rally
In 2019, at the “No to CECA and 6.9 population” rally, Tan Kin Lian once again emerged as a steadfast advocate for Singaporean job security. This time, his concerns centred on the potential job displacement faced by locals.
Within his speech, Tan Kin Lian directed strong criticism towards Ramesh Erramalli, a foreign individual who had gained infamy on social media for his disparaging behavior towards an elderly Singaporean security guard and fellow Singaporeans residing in HDB flats.
He condemns Ramesh’s arrogance and abusive conduct towards a local worker and raises concerns about foreigners like Ramesh taking high-paying jobs that could have been filled by well-educated Singaporeans who have completed national service.
He perhaps drew the biggest cheer from the crowd when he declared: “A ministerial statement from Home Affairs said Ramesh is a Singaporean citizen. It does not make any difference to me because Ramesh did not serve National Service.”