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“I have not been asked by any party to come out and contest” – Presidential hopeful Tan Jee Say

Joshua Chiang/

Mr Tan showed up at the Elections Department at 10.15am with his wife Patricia

Even though Mr Tan Jee Say has contested Holland-Bukit Timah GRC under the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) banner in the recent General Elections, he is confident that the public will not see him as partisan if he were elected President as he had only been with the SDP for 3 months.

On the other hand, the three other presidential hopefuls – Dr Tony Tan, Dr Tan Cheng Bock and Tan Kin Lian had been with the People’s Action Party for 10 to 20 years.

“The PAP DNA is still very strong in them,” the former principal private secretary to then DPM Goh Chok Tong told the press outside the Elections Department when he went to collect the forms for the presidential eligibility certificate on Friday morning.

In his press release, Mr Tan wrote that many Singaporeans want a non-PAP President whose independence of the PAP is clear, obvious and cannot be in doubt: “Only such a person can have the moral authority to fulfill the mission of Elected President which is to provide checks and balances on the PAP Government.”

Mr Tan formally resigned from the SDP this morning. He told the press that Sec Gen Dr Chee Soon Juan was ‘supportive’ of his decision but clarified that he had not been asked by any party to come out and contest the Presidential Elections.

“I just made the decision in the quietness of my bedroom in my house, and with my wife of course, “ he said. Mr Tan further revealed that he only arrived at the decision on Thursday night.

Among the handful of supporters who turned up, two - Ms Michelle Lee and Mr Fazlur Yusof were members of SDP. Another, Mr Bentley Tan was the Master of Ceremony for the SDP rallies during the General Elections.

President the ‘moral conscience of the nation’

On what he would do as President if elected, Mr Tan said that he would want to know how much there are in the reserves and if they had been put to good use, and if more money is needed to invest in the people, to use the second key to open up the reserves.

“I have a national regeneration plan that required 60 billion dollars – 12 billion every year for five years – so if they (the government) wants to invest in it, why not?”

He also stressed that he won't make the Presidency is not another centre of power, instead, it will be the ‘moral conscience of the nation’. If elected, he will work with the government because he has to honor the wishes of the people who elected the government, but at the same time, the government cannot be right all the time. Mr Tan mentioned the building of the two casinos as an example where the government got it wrong.

“Why do you compromise your morals just to create jobs and then cry over it?” he asked rhetorically.

As such, even though it is up to the government to decide on which policies to implement at the end of the day, the President can nonetheless speak up on those issues.

“They will be moral pressure,” he emphasized.