Dr Tan Cheng Bock will be the next President, thanks to Lim Boon Heng & Inderjit Singh...

The above screenshot is from YouTube clip, "Lim Boon Heng cried on his last appearance as a PAP MP- 11Apr2011".

Mr Lim Boon Heng, the retired minister was quoted to say that he feels Singaporeans would prefer a President 'not so closely related to PAP'. He also expressed his doubt about the President wannabe Dr Tan Cheng Bock 'fully meets the bill'. He implied that Dr Tan Cheng Bock might not be the best person (to be the President) as he stated his hope 'that other capable Singaporeans will come forward so that the country could pick the best person'.

His 'negative' endorsement on Dr Tan Cheng Bock might have done the latter good actually.

See, it's kind of using reverse psychology when one said one thing to steer another person to do the opposite.

Especially as only over last weekend, PAP MP like Inderjit Singh declared that it's going to be 'awkward' to have Dr Tan in the Presidential race. Mr Singh suggested that "for Presidential Elections, there's always been a candidate that the Government supports ... it's quite clear that we will be fully behind this person". And yes, 'this person' is clearly not referring to Dr. Tan.

Aww, Dr Tan is being an underdog now?

We LOVE underdogs!

Given the current sentiment among the electorate, Singaporeans might prefer a President who is not so closely linked to the People's Action Party (PAP), retired minister Lim Boon Heng said yesterday when asked about former PAP MP Tan Cheng Bock's bid to run for the Elected Presidency.

The former Minister in the Prime Minister's Office said he read the news of Dr Tan's intention with "very, very mixed feelings".

Both Mr Lim and Dr Tan were first elected to Parliament in the 1980 General Election (GE). They were parliamentary colleagues for 26 years before Dr Tan stepped down from politics prior to the 2006 GE. Mr Lim retired from the political scene before the recent GE.

Speaking at the sidelines of a People's Association event, Mr Lim said: "My sense is that people would prefer if there were someone who can be a strong unifying symbol for Singaporeans, who's not so closely related to the PAP."

While there could be exceptions, he added: "I don't know whether Dr Tan Cheng Bock, in spite of his independent streak of thinking and expression of views, fully meets the bill."

Mr Lim said he hopes that other capable Singaporeans will come forward so that the country could pick the "best person for the current climate that we have".

From Today, "S'poreans might prefer a President 'not so closely related' to PAP: Lim Boon Heng".

News that his former comrade-in-arms Tan Cheng Bock, 71, has declared his intention to run for President caught veteran backbencher Inderjit Singh off guard.

The Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency Member of Parliament (MP) told Today: "For Presidential Elections, there's always been a candidate that the Government supports ... it's quite clear that we will be fully behind this person so it will be very awkward (to have Dr Tan in the contest)."

His fellow People's Action Party MP, Mdm Halimah Yacob, was also surprised, although she felt that it was not something "completely unexpected".

"I know that Cheng Bock is a very passionate person who holds very passionate views about things," she said.

The PAP Government has yet to unveil the candidate, if any, it is endorsing. Notwithstanding other individuals who may throw their hats into the ring, Dr Tan's potential candidacy will rekindle memory of the last contested Presidential Election in 1993, which incidentally also saw a contest between two establishment figures.

Then, Mr Ong Teng Cheong stepped down as Deputy Prime Minister to run against bureaucrat-turned-banker Chua Kim Yeow.

But political watcher Eugene Tan pointed out: "(Dr Tan's) very independent-minded as an MP and had his own differences with the Government ... So despite his long ties with the ruling party, voters would be able to look past his label."

Incidentally, Dr Tan's independent streak also drew comparisons among observers with the late Mr Ong. Former Nominated MP Siew Kum Hong noted Dr Tan's "proven track record of speaking his mind even if it went against the party".

The most recent Presidential Election in 2005 saw presidential hopeful Andrew Kuan - a former group chief financial officer of JTC Corporation - putting his name forward. JTC Corporation subsequently called a press conference in which it described Mr Kuan's work performance as unsatisfactory - an assertion which was rebutted by Mr Kuan.

Ultimately, the Presidential Elections Committee considered Mr Kuan ineligible for the election. It felt his seniority and responsibility as JTC's group CFO were not comparable to those required under the Constitution.

Speaking to Today, Dr Tan said he was not worried about any potential attacks on his track record.

"For 26 years, I've served as an MP and nobody has thrown mud at me. I've been doing my job," he said.

Dr Tan had resigned from the PAP earlier this month, ending decades of association with the ruling party. Asked how he feels about potentially running against a PAP-endorsed candidate, Dr Tan said: "The better man would win, that's all. This election is not about politics, it's about which candidate voters feel will be able to fulfil the main tasks of a President, which is to guard our reserves and to appoint the top echelons of Government servants."

Adding that the recent General Election has polarised Singapore society, he said: "The President should be a unifying figure for all Singaporeans of whatever political affiliation, race or religion."

Speaking to 938Live yesterday, Dr Tan reiterated that his "affiliation with the PAP is not an advantage".

He said: "I've said many things which my party doesn't agree but I think I have to say it. So Singaporeans have to judge me slightly differently."

He added that it was important for any presidential hopeful to declare his or her intentions early.

"I want to be an open book for Singaporeans to examine me," said Dr Tan, "I set up the blog, Facebook ... I let the young people study me - to do that, I've some videos of what I've done in the past ... I assume all the young people have never heard of Tan Cheng Bock."

From Today, "PAP MPs surprised Dr Tan might run for President". (28/05/11)


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