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Tan Kin Lian explains Tan Jing Quee memorial commotion

Report and photos by Sharon Ng and Shawn Danker

Presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian said that he attended the memorial gathering for the late Tan Jing Quee on Saturday afternoon as he had initially thought it to be a visit to a monument to commemorate the former ISA detainee.

Mr Tan was responding to queries from The Online Citizen over a commotion that was allegedly sparked off by his attendance at the memorial held at Singapore Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Institute. Mr Tan and his campaign team had arrived just as a tribute video to Mr Tan Jing Quee was being screened. According to eyewitnesses, he sat at the front for about an hour as the service continued.

But as Mr Tan and his campaign team were leaving, someone from among the audience approached him and told him not to leave without taking to the lectern and say something about Mr Tan Jing Quee or on the subject of the Internal Security Act. The man then became agitated and accused Mr Tan Kin Lian of hijacking the memorial to score 'brownie points'. Mr Tan did not engage the man further and left.

Mr Tan later told the press that the man's accusation was 'quite unfair and quite impolite."

"It was not right for him to confront him me like that without any context because I wasn't certain if I would be welcomed to speak by the organisers," he said.

Speaking to The Online Citizen today after attending the Singapore Karting Championship at Kartright Speedway, Mr Tan admitted that the event was first suggested by a volunteer on his team. Despite all that, he felt that it was a good thing that he has attended the event.

He says that he did not know about Tan Jing Quee, but has heard of Lim Chin Siong and Dr Lim Hock Siew, who spoke at the memorial. (watch the speech here) “I used to think that Dr Lim Hock Siew was a communist, but he’s definitely not.”

Sharing the view of Lim Yew Hock that there should be welfare for the society, he was cautious to stress that it does not mean that he wanted a welfare state. He believes that there should be help for Singaporeans in the areas of education and healthcare.

“People should be educated financially on where to put their money and invest in the long run. It’s the duty of the Government to do that, so that they do not put their money in mini-bonds and lose their savings. The interest rate is very low, so people are just trying to find a way to earn some interest while keeping their principal sum safe.”

Heathcare: Government needs to educate people on costs

Touching on the topic of healthcare, he believes that the Government and healthcare professionals are not doing enough to educate people on what is the necessary amount of healthcare. He quotes the example of cancer, where many patients are treated to the tune of a few hundred thousand dollars of fees, but the money goes to the pockets of oncologists, while friends and families are left to mourn the death of a loved one. He admits that he may sound like a hard-hearted person, but he
believes that such treatment is unnecessary, and only serves to delay the eventuality of death at a high cost.

Best person to safeguard the reserves

On the topic of the reserves, Mr Tan said that he is the best person to safeguard the Singapore’s reserves because his morals and heart are in the right place.

“I may not be a banker like Dr. Tony Tan, but I know about how to invest for the long term for safe returns," he said. "I don’t believe in speculation for the short run, because it is risky and likely to make losses. There should not be too much money in the reserves, but as to how much should that be, it’s all left to judgment, guided by my personal values of honesty, fairness, and courage.”

He also differentiated himself from the other candidates because he listens to the people. "

Other candidates just express their own opinion but not the people’s. I’m different, I listen to them and be their voice," he added.