Tony Tan vs Tan Cheng Bok vs Tan Kin Lian
Tan Cheng Bock and Tan Kin Lian question Tony Tan's independence
Dr Tony Tan's likely opponents in coming election point out his links to PAP, GIC
by Satish Cheney Updated 06:11 PM Jun 24, 2011
SINGAPORE - Dr Tony Tan's two likely opponents in the coming Presidential Election have questioned the former Deputy Prime Minister's independence.
Yesterday, former PAP Member of Parliament Tan Cheng Bock wrote on his Facebook page that he welcomed Dr Tony Tan's decision to put himself forward. He wrote: "Now Singaporeans have a chance to vote. Whoever gets voted must have the full confidence of Singaporeans in terms of integrity, fairplay and unquestionable independence."
When contacted, he told Today: "When you talk about safeguarding reserves, you must have an independent mind ... (Dr Tony Tan) is currently the vice-chairman and executive director of GIC, surely you put two-and-two together ... how independent can he be?"
Adding that Singaporeans are "smart voters", he said: "They want to make sure things are in proper order ... any evidence there is a big question mark on the independence of that individual, they would carefully examine that individual, be it Tony or whoever. They want fairness."
Ex-NTUC Income CEO Tan Kin Lian noted that Dr Tony Tan "has been closely connected with the PAP Government for about 20 years".
He said: "He had served as a Cabinet Minister in many ministries during his illustrious political career and had been closely associated with many of the policies that were implemented by the Government. He would represent a good choice for Singaporeans who prefer to see stability and continuity in the past and current policies of the Government."
The candidacies of all three presidential hopefuls are subject to the approval of the Presidential Elections Committee.
Mr Tan Kin Lian reiterated that his participation in the election offers "a different choice to the people". He said: "I have never served as a Member of Parliament or a Cabinet Minister in the Government. Over the past years, I have expressed my views on many occasions in the media and through other channels on issues concerning the livelihood and welfare of the people."
Attempting to frame the coming contest, Mr Tan Kin Lian told Channel NewsAsia: "This will be the contest: Whether you want someone to continue the policies of the establishment or if you want someone who brings ... a new view, reflecting the aspirations of large numbers of Singaporeans."
Tony Tan resigns from GIC, SPH
Thu, Jun 23, 2011
Former deputy prime minister Tony Tan, 71, executive director at Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC, said on Thursday he has resigned and will run for president in an election that must be held before end-August.
Dr Tan has also resigned as chairman of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).
"There is no legal requirement for me to resign from GIC or SPH. However, to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest, I have decided to resign from GIC with effect from July 1," Dr Tan said in a statement.
"I will also resign from SPH with effect from July 1 to remove any doubts about SPH's media independence," he added.
Although mostly ceremonial, Singapore's president has powers to veto senior appointments to the civil service and government-linked firms such as GIC, which manages around $309 billion, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.
The election comes after the People's Action Party (PAP) swept back to power in May general elections but with a reduced percentage of votes.
Dr Tan will likely face former ruling party parliamentarian Tan Cheng Bock, 71, who is also chairman of Chuan Hup Holdings.
Mr Tan Kin Lian, 63, the former chief executive of NTUC Income has also announced his candidacy.
Mr Tan has been endorsed by members of Singapore's opposition. The PAP has yet to back any particular candidate.
Dr Tan said at a news conference: "I've made it clear that I'm not seeking the backing of any political party but obviously as a candidate I welcome support from all quarters."
Singapore's president is directly elected but the post has only been contested once - the first time it became an elected post in 1993 - mainly because potential candidates must meet several tough requirements.
For example, prospective candidates must either be a former minister or top government servant. If the person comes from the private sector, he or she must have been chairman or CEO of a Singapore-based firm with a minimum paid-up capital of $100 million.
All candidates are then screened by a government committee before the election is held.
Incumbent president SR Nathan, 86, a former senior civil servant, has been in office for two six-year terms and was elected unopposed both times. He has not announced if he would retire or run for another term.