The Fan-TAN-tic Four will run "hand in hand" in the Presidential Race?! (Or will it be clobberin' time??)

Of the Six, only Two will be granted Certificate of Eligibility. No, I was wrong. There are Four!

They are Mr Tan Kin Lian, Dr Tony Tan, Dr Tan Cheng Bock and Mr Tan Jee Say. (The names are narrated as per the article -- not in any particular order or preference.)


May the best Tan win the Presidency...(not going to consult my crystal ball no more, not going to consult my crystal ball no more, not going to consult my crystal ball no more!)

The stage is set for a contest not seen in Singapore's history.

Four hopefuls were on Thursday issued eligibility certificates for the Presidential Election on August 27.

The last time there was a contest was in 1993, when the elected presidency was introduced.

The Presidential Elections Committee said it received six applications.

And in assessing the suitability of each hopeful, it was satisfied that Mr Tan Kin Lian, Dr Tony Tan, Dr Tan Cheng Bock and Mr Tan Jee Say are all men of integrity, good character and reputation.

That's one of the criteria for eligibility.

Other criteria include a candidate having served at least three years as a chairman or CEO of a statutory board or company with a paid-up capital of at least S$100 million, or having served in a similar capacity under a special clause.

Dr Tony Tan and Dr Tan Cheng Bock were deemed to have met the first criterion, while Mr Tan Kin Lian and Mr Tan Jee Say qualified under the special clause.

The committee noted that Mr Tan Kin Lian had been the Chief Executive Officer of NTUC Income Insurance Co-operative Limited for more than three years.

The committee said NTUC Income, although a co-operative, had a paid-up capital of more than S$100 million in the years preceding Mr Tan Kin Lian's departure in 2007.

And this is comparable in size and complexity to a company with a paid-up capital of the same amount.

Mr Tan was the NTUC Income CEO from 1977 to 2007.

As for Mr Tan Jee Say, the committee said that as regional managing director of AIB Govett Asia, he had overall responsibility for the company's operations.

He therefore held a position similar to a CEO.

The committee added that AIB Govett Asia is an organisation of equivalent complexity when compared to companies in Singapore with a paid-up capital of S$100 million.

The two hopefuls who were deemed not eligible are retiree Ooi Boon Ewe and former JTC Corporation Group Chief Financial Officer Andrew Kuan.

The committee said Mr Ooi had submitted an incomplete application form. He had also acknowledged that he did not meet the eligibility criteria.

As for Mr Kuan's second attempt at running for the presidency, the committee maintained that his seniority and responsibility as Group CFO between 2001 and 2004 are not comparable to what have been set out under the Presidential Elections Act.

The committee's decision is final.

From Channel NewsAsia, "PE: 4 get Certificates of Eligibility for presidential polls".

And if you wonder how the Tan-s react, check out the following articles:

Dr Tan Cheng Bock has been certified eligible to contest the Presidential Election.

Dr Tan told Channel NewsAsia he is "very happy" to get the Certificate of Eligibility from the Presidential Elections Committee.

And on his Facebook page, he said this was the moment he was waiting for.

He added that he is ready and will go "full steam" ahead from now till Nomination Day which falls on 17 August.

But he was not ready as yet to reveal details of his campaign strategy. He said he will do so soon.

Dr Tan, 71, was one of four hopefuls who were issued the certificate on Thursday.

The other hopefuls certified as eligible are Mr Tan Kin Lian, Dr Tony Tan and Mr Tan Jee Say.

It sets the stage for a four-way race in the Presidential Election on 27 August.

Dr Tan Cheng Bock was a member of the People's Action Party (PAP) until he resigned in May this year and announced his intention to run for President.

In June, he picked up application forms at the Elections Department, the first among the presidential hopefuls to do so.

Dr Tan Cheng Bock is also a medical doctor. In mid-July, he took leave from his medical practice to concentrate on his presidential bid.

The former PAP Member of Parliament was quick to downplay his links with the PAP. But he conceded it would not be easy.

"I would prefer that people take a deep analysis of the individual candidate, irrespective of his (past) party. I will lose some votes maybe because of my past association with the PAP. But that's all in the game. It's ok," he said.

The former MP for Ayer Rajah is best remembered as Mr Feedback. In 1985, he helmed the government Feedback Unit as its first chairman and went on to become the coordinating chairman of all Government Parliamentary Committees (GPCs), having served as chair for Education, National Development and Environment.

As a backbencher, Dr Tan Cheng Bock was known for speaking his mind, occasionally crossing swords with his own party. For example, he spoke out against the Nominated MP scheme, believing MPs have to be elected and accountable to an electorate.

He said he will be a "Unifying Figure for Singapore" and believes the country needs transparency, integrity and independent thinking.

"Singaporeans will vote for somebody whom they think has unquestionable independence. This is very important, because judging from my observation of the General Election, you know, I went to attend a lot of rallies - and I find that Singaporeans want fairness. If they see something is not fair, I think they are going to stand up and tell you 'you are not fair'. So, I have to leave it to Singaporeans to decide," said Dr Tan Cheng Bock.

Dr Tan Cheng Bock sits on various boards and is non-executive chairman of Chuan Hup investment holding company. Chuan Hup provides marine transportation services in the region, with investments in the property and electronics manufacturing services sectors.

Dr Tan Cheng Bock is married and has two children and five grandchildren.

From Channel NewsAsia, "PE: Tan Cheng Bock "happy" to get eligibility cert". (11/08/11, 1851 hrs)

Dr Tony Tan said he is "deeply honoured to be granted the Certificate of Eligibility to contest the Presidential Election".

In an email to the media shortly after being issued the certificate on Thursday, he said: "The Office of the President is the highest in the nation and he expects vigorous exchange of views during the campaign with all Singaporeans participating in the discussion."

Dr Tan said he hoped the campaign will be carried out with decorum and in a manner befitting the Office.

The former Deputy Prime Minister is one of four presidential candidates to be issued the eligibility certificates.

Dr Tan confirmed his candidacy on June 23 after announcing that he had resigned from the ruling People's Action Party (PAP).

On July 1, he also stepped down as Deputy Chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) and Chairman of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).

Dr Tan was a government scholar who started his career as a Mathematics lecturer and later joined the banking sector.

He entered Parliament in 1979, and was an MP for the Sembawang Constituency.

He became a Cabinet minister in 1980 and served in key ministries such as Education and Finance. He had also served in the Trade & Industry and Health ministries.

In 1991, he left the Cabinet and returned to the private sector as Chairman and CEO of Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC).

But he answered the call to return to politics in 1995 after a request from then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. This followed the resignations of former Trade and Industry Minister S Dhanabalan and Defence Minister Yeo Ning Hong.

From then till 2005, Dr Tan served in various capacities, as Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister and the first Co-ordinating Minister for Security and Defence.

He stepped down from the Cabinet in 2005 and took up other high profile roles in the GIC and SPH.

Dr Tan retired from politics in 2006 when he decided not to stand for elections.

There was wide speculation even then, that Dr Tan would be a Presidential candidate.

And now, he himself said he feels it's his responsibility to step forward.

Dr Tan said: "How could I not step forward when I know I have more to contribute to the country we all worked to build? I remain convinced that Singapore's best days lie ahead of us.

"The years ahead will be challenging but exciting. In the midst of so much change, we need a President with experience and a steady hand."

Dr Tan has stressed that he was never approached by the government to run.

"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," he said.

Still several top politicians have spoken in support of him, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who called him an eminently suitable candidate.

While other candidates have spoken about the how the role of the Elected President should change, Dr Tan believes the President's role is prescribed by the Constitution, and that there is only one centre of power - the government.

And has said he will focus on working with all segments of society as well as help the disadvantaged if he's elected.

Dr Tan is married with four children.

From Channel NewsAsia, "PE: Dr Tony Tan "deeply honoured" to be eligible for presidential bid". (11/08/11, 1903 hrs)

The former CEO of insurance cooperative, NTUC Income, Tan Kin Lian, said his campaign will be run "in a clean and dignified manner" befitting the status of the Office of the President.

In his statement, Mr Tan Kin Lian said he was pleased that the Presidential Elections Committee has granted him the Certificate of Eligibility, and from now on "all arrangements for the campaign will go on as prepared, leading up to Nomination Day."

Mr Tan Kin Lian sent early signals in 2008 that he wants to be Singapore's next president.

And in June this year, he announced his intention to do so.

63-year-old Tan Kin Lian makes it a point to highlight his humble beginnings.

He was born to a poor family which eked out a living transporting fish from the Riau Islands to Singapore.

He prides himself as being independent - with no links to the ruling People's Action Party (PAP).

He was a member of the party until 2008, but said he was never a minister or a Member of Parliament (MP). And this, he declared, sets him apart.

"Many people said they want voice, they want to be heard. I think I probably represent the person who has got ears to listen and is able to think independently," said Mr Tan.

Mr Tan had submitted his application for the Certificate of Eligibility under a Special Clause - citing his experience as CEO of an insurance cooperative with a shared capital of $500 million and assets of $17 billion.

He said this is equivalent to the criteria which states that presidential candidates should have served at least three years as a chairman or CEO of a statutory board or company with a paid-up capital of at least $100 million.

He became widely known during the financial crisis, triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers. He spoke up for small-time investors who had lost their lifesavings on toxic financial products and wrote on his own blog about issues.

Mr Tan thinks the role of the Elected President should be expanded, and has suggested for example, having the President's Office produce an annual report detailing the country's reserves.

"I recognise that the President cannot be a second centre of power but that does not mean the President cannot do anything, because in order to make good decisions it's better to have several points of views," he said.

Mr Tan, a former student of Raffles Institution, has pledged to donate a significant part of the annual $4 million presidential salary to charity.

He is married with three children.

From Channel NewsAsia, "PE: Presidential hopeful Tan Kin Lian highlights humble beginnings". (11/08/11, 1903 hrs)

Former Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) member Mr Tan Jee Say, who was issued the Certificate of Eligibility for his presidential bid, said he "looks forward to a dignified contest".

In an email to the media shortly after being issued the certificate, he said he would like to congratulate Dr Tony Tan, Dr Tan Cheng Bock and Mr Tan Kin Lian for obtaining their Certificates of Eligibility.

In the email, Mr Tan Jee Say also thanked his friends and supporters for helping him in the last few weeks of preparations and looks forward to their continued support in the weeks ahead as his campaign steps up.

Separately, Mr Tan Jee Say said the potential four-man race will "set people thinking" as voters will have to do their "own homework" on the candidates.

He said: "It gives diversity of choice to the voters, and voters can decide based on the quality of the candidates and what they can offer to the voters.

"And, the next two weeks or so would be an opportune time for us to sell our story to the voters and convince them that we are the right candidate to be President."

Mr Tan Jee Say announced his intention in mid-July to run for the Presidential Election, saying he stepped forward because many Singaporeans want a non-PAP President.

The 57-year-old was a new face in the recent General Election. He made headlines when the SDP adopted his paper - Creating Jobs and Enterprise in a New Singapore Economy - as a basis for the party's alternative economic plan.

He is an investment banker but had served in the Administrative Service for 11 years.

He spent six years in the Trade and Industry Ministry and five years as the Principal Private Secretary to then Deputy Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.

Mr Tan Jee Say said that unlike other potential presidential candidates, he was never a member of the ruling PAP.

He had said: "Only such a person can have the moral authority to fulfil the mission of the elected president, which is to provide checks and balances on the PAP government."

He said that he is aware of the constitutional limitations of the office of President. But he added that the office is what the President makes it out to be.

Mr Tan Jee Say had submitted his application for the Certificate of Eligibility under a special clause.

He said he was the CEO, with the title of regional managing director, of John Govett Asia and its successor company AIB Govett Asia for over four years from 1 February 1997 to 6 March 2001, a period of four years and one month.

The company was a Singapore company incorporated under the Companies Act. The asset management company operated under an Investment Adviser's licence granted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

But the company did not have a paid-up capital of S$100 million. The Constitution spells out that presidential candidates must have managed companies with a minimum paid-up capital of this sum.

But Mr Tan Jee Say said the company managed total assets in excess of S$100 million and that this is equivalent to a company with a paid-up capital of that amount.

From Channel NewsAsia, "PE: Tan Jee Say "looks forward to a dignified contest"". (11/08/11, 2041 hrs)


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