Presidential Election: Tan vs Tan?

The Tan-s here are referring to former MP Dr Tan Cheng Bock, former MP and former chief of NTUC Income, Mr Tan Kian Lian.

The former (too many 'former'-s ya?) has indicated that he may be a candidate in the coming presidential election. And yes, there are a few articles about it in his blog.

The latter had earlier said he was keen, he declined comment when contacted by CNA on Friday. And no, he didn't say anything yet in his blog (Tan Kian Lian's blog).

Let's ask hypothetically who you prefer to be the President?

I'd say it will be Dr Tan Cheng Bock. I like his calm YouTube video, "Dr Tan Cheng Bock's view on the naming of Ng Teng Fong Hospital".

To be fair, though, the video of Mr Tan Kian Lian during the last election rally is more popular than that of Dr Tan Cheng Bock.

The video is titled, "Tan Kin Lian: 3 Scenarios for Singapore after GE". It has gathered 9,149 views (as per today 9:54 PM) compared to Dr Tan Cheng Bock's 2,596 views.

See why I prefer the soothing style of Dr Tan?

No, dammit! I don't intend to be sarcastic. I strongly and genuinely believe a President ought to radiate a sense of calmness when he speaks. Which is not evident from Mr Tan Kian Lian's video.

THE Elections Department has issued a statement on Friday stating that the current term of the President will expire on Sept 1, 2011.

The Presidential Election has to be conducted not more than three months before the date of expiration of the current term of the President.

The statement also said that 'all persons who desire to be a candidate for the Presidential Election must apply for a Certificate of Eligibility from the Presidential Elections Committee'.

Applications may be made at any time from June 1, 2011 but will close on the third day after the Writ of Election is issued.

Application forms can be obtained from the Secretary of the Presidential Elections Committee, Elections Department, 11 Prinsep Link, Singapore 187949, as follows:

Weekdays-9am to 5pm

Saturdays-9am to 12.30pm

From Straits Times, "Applications for Presidential race to start from June 1".

All persons who wish to be a candidate for the Presidential Election can apply for a Certificate of Eligibility from the Presidential Elections Committee from June 1.

Application will close on the third day after a writ is issued for the Presidential Election, said the Elections Department on Friday.

The government also announced on Friday the setting up of the Presidential Elections Committee under the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore.

The committee is chaired by the chairman of the Public Service Commission, Mr Eddie Teo.

The two other members of the committee are Ms Chan Lai Fung, chairman of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, and Mr Sat Pal Khattar, a member of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights.

The function of the Presidential Elections Committee is to ensure that candidates for the office of President have the qualifications to stand for the election.

The current term of the President will expire on 1 September 2011 and the Presidential Election has to be conducted not more than three months before the date of expiration of the current term of the President.

One possible candidate for the Presidential Election is former MP Tan Cheng Bock.

Ever since news broke that he is likely to contest the election, Dr Tan's Facebook page has been flooded with comments. Many expressed support, with some volunteering to help in his campaign.

The 71-year-old quit the People's Action Party (PAP) earlier this month.

Dr Tan said that a contest is important and noted there wasn't one during the last two elections.

He said he made up his mind during the hustings at the recent General Election.

"I go to many rallies during this General Election and I noticed there's a lot of anger, a lot of harsh words being used - some of them very, very terrible. (They were also used) in the new media. I was thinking to myself: there must be a way in which we can mend all these fences. Then I thought: can the President play such a role?" said Dr Tan.

"I know very clear the two roles the President play - one, to guard the reserves, the other one, also to have a say on the appointment of all the top echelon government appointments. I think I would like to also play a third role - like a unifying figure for all Singaporeans irrespective of whether you belong to which political party, which political affiliation. Honestly, I don't want to see a divided Singapore," added Dr Tan.

Another possible candidate is former chief of NTUC Income, Tan Kin Lian. Though he had earlier said he was keen, he declined comment when contacted on Friday.

A political observer said a contest in the race will be welcome.

SMU's Assistant Professor, Eugene Tan, said: "When you look at what happened at the recent General Election, Singaporeans see how important their individual ballot is. I think Singaporeans also want to take an active part in deciding who should be head of state.

"And given that the elected President office has not been contested in the last two Presidential Elections - the last time that Singaporeans voted for the elected President was in the first Presidential Election in 1993 - so we're coming close to 20 years."

"I think the opportunity for Singaporeans to express their democratic choice is something that will go down well. It forces Singaporeans, in a way, to engage the issues. It creates a greater awareness of the role of the elected President within our constitutional system of government," added the Singapore Management University (SMU) professor.

Dr Tan said the Presidential Election is a political contest, that there's no political agenda. He hopes to see more people who are interested to come forward, and would be sad if there is no contest.

The Presidential Election must be held before 31 August this year.

A Writ of Election will be issued by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who will indicate when Nomination Day will be.

Nomination Day must take place at least five days to a month after the writ is issued.

Candidates have to place a deposit to contest.

Under the Presidential Elections Act, the sum is three times the amount required for a parliamentary election candidate - which this year works out to S$48,000. Those who poll less than one-eighth of total votes lose the deposit.

There will be a minimum nine days of campaigning, plus a 'cooling-off' day.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Presidential Election: Eligibility certificate applications open June 1".

FORMER Member of Parliament Tan Cheng Bock has quit the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) and indicated that he may be a candidate in the coming presidential election.

He told The Straits Times on Thursday: 'Many people have been urging me to stand as president, and I am very honoured. But there are rules I have to follow. One rule is I must apply for the certificate of eligibility first.'

Dr Tan, 71, confirmed that he had resigned from the PAP earlier this month but declined to say if this meant he would indeed run for president in the election which must be held before Aug 31.

The Elections Department is expected to announce that aspiring candidates can pick up forms to apply for certificates of eligibility next week.

Under Singapore's Constitution, candidates must satisfy a list of stringent criteria and be screened by a Presidential Elections Committee (PEC).

In the 2005 election, three aspiring candidates failed to meet the criteria, leaving President S R Nathan to be returned unopposed for a second time.

From Straits Times, "Tan Cheng Bock keen to run for President".

PS. Just found out this very interesting article, "No more Blank Cheque for the PAP" which was also Dr Tan Cheng Bock's speech at the Presidential Address Debate on 1 March 1985!


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