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Tan Kin Lian: Did not think Tan Jee Say would qualify as candidate in PE2011

Singaporean businessman and former Chief Executive Officer of NTUC Income Tan Kin Lian revealed that after seven years, he is still being attacked for his participation in the 2011 presidential election results.

Expressing this on his Facebook page on 7 February (Thursday), Mr Tan noted that the attack came from two groups – members of the Internet Brigade and supporters of Dr Tan Cheng Bock.

He admits that there's nothing much he can do about the first group because he opines that these “immoral people will make attacks just to earn some money for their dirty work”.

However, Mr Tan said that his post mainly addresses the people in the second group. He explained that when he announced his participation in the election, Dr Tan had also expressed his interest.

“I decided to contest because I was one of the few non-establishment people that qualified. I had been a PAP cadre for a few years, but I was mostly active [sic] and had resigned a few years prior to 2011. I did not want to be a cadre and be inactive. I did not resign for the purpose of contesting the presidential election,” he said.

Note: It appears to be Mr Tan meant that he was an inactive PAP cadre rather than an active one.

He mentioned that during the 2011 election, a large segment of his supporters switched their support to Dr Tan. He explained that this is called “tactical voting” due to his poor showing in the election.

“I do not wish to cry over spilled milk. However, I want to say that it is quite petty and small minded for some supporters of Dr. Tan Cheng Bock to blame the election results on me. I hope that these people are now aware about this part of the history and are fairer in their assessment of me,” he conveyed.

He went on further to say that initially he had a lot of support from people who were not fans of PAP, but the situation changed after Tan Jee Say (TJS) announced his decision to contest in the election. He said TJS pulled away the anti-PAP voters from him.

He added that he was quite sure that TJS would not be eligible as he did not meet the criteria. However, Mr Tan was surprised that the committee to decide on the eligibility approved his candidacy, which shocked the public as well.

Initially, many were doubtful of TJS's eligibility as he did not meet the criterion of being the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a Singapore company with a paid-up capital of S$100 million. However, he said he was the CEO with the title of Regional Managing Director of AIB Govett Asia which managed total assets in excess of S$100 million. In his view, this would make him eligible to contest in the presidential election.

Despite giving him the green light to stand in the election, other contestants were not treated with this much leniency. In the 2017 presidential election, both Mohamed Salleh Marican and Farid Khan were declared ineligible because both their companies fell short in securing S$500 million in shareholders’ equity, after the Constitutional Commission raised the requirement for private-sector candidates. The disqualification of the two interested Malay candidates meant that People's Action Party's candidate, Mdm Halimah Yacob was given a walkover for her presidency bid.

After writing this on his Facebook page, netizens have showed their support towards Mr Tan and told him to not be affected by naysayers.