Dr Tan Cheng Bock asks supporters to wait for debate in Parliament to determine reason of the elected presidency review

Dr Tan Cheng Bock posted a message on Saturday (10 September) asking for his friends and supporters to wait to determine the reason for the elected presidency review.

Dr Tan, who was a candidate in the Presidential Election 2011, said that many Singaporeans had expressed their concern that the Constitutional Commission’s report has excluded him from the 2017 Presidential Election.

Asking people not to jump into conclusion that the whole exercise was to prevent him from running in the upcoming presidential election, Dr Tan wrote that everybody should wait for the Parliament to make amendments, support it, or even reject it as there will have a debate on the matter.

Dr Tan was responding to the report that was released by Constitutional Commission on Wednesday (7 September) after six months of deliberation based on feedback from four public hearings and more than 100 written submissions.

There are three key recommendations by the commission. The first is that the presidential candidates from the private sector must be at least CEOs of companies with $500 million or more of shareholders’ equity. Previously, the amount was set at $100 million or more of paid up capital.

The second, safeguards were proposed to ensure a minority president can be elected from time to time, by reserving a Presidential Election for a racial group if it is not represented for 5 terms. The last is to increase the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA) from 6 to 8 and the President needs to have a super-majority from his CPA to veto proposals from the parliament. (note super-majority is appointed by Prime Minister and Head of Civil service)

Dr Tan was the non-executive independent chairman of investment holdings company Chuan Hup Holdings before he retired in 2011. However, the Candidate of PE 2017, must have been chief executive officer, managing director or executive chairman to meet this criterion.

The company where he served since 1991 also did not meet the criteria, as the company shareholders’ equality worth only $300.7 million as of 30 June, almost $200 million less than the requirement set by the Commission.

As Dr Tan is also a Chinese, therefore if the government were to adopt the recommendations to change the criteria of the candidates, Dr Tan will no longer eligible to make another run for the office next year when the Presidential Election (PE) will be held despite being the most likely winner for the position after just losing to the current President with 0.35% of the total votes.

Dr Tony Tan, the current President and Mr Tan Kin Lian, former Candidate in PE2011 who qualify under the proposed criteria will not be eligible too as they are Chinese.