by: Jewel Philemon/
Presidential hopeful, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, submitted his applications for obtaining the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to contest in the upcoming Presidential Elections, yesterday afternoon at the Election Department.
He arrived to a crowd of fifty-over enthusiastic well-wishers who cheered spiritedly and even brought along a poster for supporters to sign.
After handing in the forms, Dr Tan invited the media and members of the public to a media conference held at the Bayview Hotel.
Dr Tan opened the conference by stating that he would not like to reveal his plans of 'what' he wants to if elected President, but would instead use it as an opportunity to highlight 'why' he would like to become the Elected President.
In his statement, Dr Tan said that he believes that trust is the most important thing that a future President can hope to achieve.
He explained that the "people want to know whether their President feels for them and empathises with them. They want to know if they can trust him, to put the nation above politics, to look after their money, and to make special appointments of top civil servants whose policies will affect their lives. He must make good and wise decisions, without fear, without favour."
And to do that he added "people want a President they can trust. Trust must be earned. You cannot just say 'trust me'.
Dr Tan or 'Doc', as he was affectionately called by his supporters, stressed that a President must understand the struggles and concerns of ordinary people. He said that working as a doctor amongst the poor in a small village called Ama Keng, he fully understood the ordinary people's needs and concerns.
That was his motivation to enter politics he says - to be a voice of the people. " People believed and trusted in me to look after their interests without fear or favour," he emphasised.
Doc served as a People's Action Party (PAP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Ayer Rajah Constituency from 1980-2005.
"I have always been a people's person," Doc continues "and like many of you, I love this country and the people. In my 26 years of parliament, I have always stood up for Singaporeans, because I felt for them, their worries, their fears and their frustrations."
Highlighting the many instances when as an MP, he went against his party whip, for example, by speaking up against the streaming of students and Singapore's strong foreign talent policy among others, Dr Tan says, "If I see Singaporean interest compromised, I will make a stand. My choice(s) here is clear: national interest over party interest. When I see something is wrong, I will tell you."
Dr Tan in recounting how he was publicly scolded by Minister Mentor, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, for advocating a Singaporeans first policy jested, "I was scolded. It is not nice being scolded. Even more so if it is a public scolding."
Dr Tan went on to express that he related all these issues when he stood up for Singaporeans in the past to give Singaporeans, who do not know him, a better understanding of the kind of person that he is. Since the President is the only Singaporean leader who will be voted into office by all Singaporeans, Dr Tan feels that their trust must be earned.
Touching on his past partisan links Dr Tan acknowledged, "in the eyes of some, I am not independent because of my past PAP link. But if Singaporeans look deeper into my past parliamentary debates, I hope they see a man who stands up for what he believes is the right thing to do."
Dr Tan concluded his statement by saying that he will offer himself up as a candidate if he is awarded the COE. He says that he plans to hold another press conference in the near future to unveil his plans of what he will do if elected President.
"To sum it up, Tan Cheng Bock will 'Think Singaporeans first'" he empathetically concludes.
He then outlined his bio-data as issued in his press kit (see here) which highlights the details of his past and previous corporate and political appointments as well as covering the other sectors of his profile such as education, charity and awards and decorations among others.
Dr Tan proceeded to unveil his very own Smartphone application (Iphone/Android), 'Dr Tan Cheng Bock'. The free app features feed from Dr Tan's Facebook account, latest news, quotes and messages from around the web as well as a video collection of Dr Tan's personal commentaries on many different local topics.
Dr Tan then opened the floors to questions from the members of the media and the public.
When asked if he thinks his past link will be an asset or liability in the upcoming Presidential Elections, Dr Tan said that it would not be fair for him to discredit the PAP, adding, "I have to be fair to the Party. I have to let Singaporeans know that if they want to label me as not independent, I can't help it. I prefer them to judge me on my performance, based on the way I've done things and stood up for Singaporeans."
Dr Tan said that although he believes in being independent as a President, he will not be interfering in issues like public transportation, or the running of government-linked companies, because he understands the limitation of the role of the President according to the Constitution. "But that does not preclude me from holding private discussions with Ministers", Dr Tan adds to say that he will define the office of the President.
"Many of you think that the President is so caged and can't do anything, but it's not true. The President has very important functions and roles", the Doc reiterates.
See Dr Tan Cheng Bock's press release HERE.
'All about Dr Tan Cheng Bock' HERE.
Dr Tan Cheng Bock: Free Smartphone App