Former Deputy Prime Minister to contest presidency

Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam (age: 71), Executive Director and Vice Chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) and Chairman of Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH), is now at the Elections Department to collect the presidential elections certificate of eligibility forms.

In the late 1980s, Mr Lee Kuan Yew named Dr Tony Tan as his first choice to succeed him as Prime Minister of Singapore, but Dr Tan declined. Dr Tan later returned to Cabinet and served as Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister from 1995 to 2005.

When he was Minister for Education, Dr Tan reversed the Graduate Mothers Scheme; a ‘eugenic-like’ policy which gave children of mothers without university degrees lower priority when registering for primary schools. He also persuaded then-Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan to abandon plans to demolish an old mosque (dubbed the “Last Kampung Mosque in Singapore”) in his constituency of Sembawang. The mosque has now been designated a heritage site. More recently, he was the most high profile member of Cabinet to question the introduction of the integrated resorts to Singapore.

In a forum organised by the Nanyang Technological University in 1998, when a student asked if the Government would implement policies that would protect Singaporeans facing competition from foreigners, for jobs as well as university places, Dr Tan replied that “there is no way in which you (the Singapore government) are going to be able to protect either Singaporeans or Singapore because we are a small country. We don’t set prices. We are a price-taker, not a price-setter”.

In 1997, Mr Goh Chok Tong and ten plaintiffs sued Mr Tang Liang Hong, a Workers’ Party candidate, who had alleged that they conspired to defame him. Mr. Tang fled the jurisdiction, stating that he feared for his life. All eleven suits were heard in Mr Tang’s absence and the plaintiffs won damages totaling S$5,825,000. Dr Tony Tan one of the eleven plaintiffs won S$350,000 in damages in this case.

TOC has been invited to Dr Tan Keng Yam’s news conference and we will bring you more updates soon.

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