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“I can’t run”, Tan Kin Lian humorously dismissed rumors of running in the 2023 Presidential Election

Ex-presidential candidate and former CEO of NTUC Income, Tan Kin Lian, humorously laughed off rumours about him running in the 2023 presidential race, citing his leg pain and jokingly saying he “can’t run.”

The 75-year-old Mr Tan shared a screenshot on a Facebook post on Thursday, showing a humorous conversation between him and a “deputy news editor” from The Straits Times, a publication under the SPH Media Group.

The conversation commenced with news editor Grace Ho introducing herself.

She inquired whether anyone had collected the application form for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the Elections Department on behalf of Mr Tan for the Presidential Election.

Mr Tan simply denied this, and the editor further questioned whether he intended to run for the upcoming Presidential Election.

He then responded with wit, saying, “I g(h)ave leg pain. I am now seeing my doctor. I can’t run.”

Mr Tan, a former member of the governing People’s Action Party (PAP) for 30 years, left the party in 2008 due to his inactivity and disagreement with the party’s value system.

In the 2011 presidential election, Mr Tan ran as an eligible candidate, highlighting his experience as the CEO of an insurance cooperative with a shared capital of S$500 million and assets of S$17 billion.

He garnered the lowest number of votes among the four candidates, which led to his failure to achieve at least 12.5% of the vote and resulted in the loss of his S$48,000 deposit.

Despite his loss of deposit, Mr Tan would likely be one of the few in Singapore who would qualify under the revised criteria of private sector candidates due to his former professional experience in NTUC Income.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong revealed that only 165 of the 413 companies registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority with shareholders’ equity exceeding $500 million as of 31 December 2022 are Singaporean citizens.

The private-sector requirement for presidential hopefuls mandates that a candidate must have served as a CEO for a minimum of three years.

During this time, the company must demonstrate an average shareholders’ equity of at least S$500 million and consistent profitability after tax.

Upcoming presidential election must be held before 13 September

The current President, Halimah Yacob, announced in May that she would not be seeking re-election.

The upcoming presidential election in Singapore will have to be held before 13 September as Mdm Halimah’s six-year term ends, which likely, if held, would have its polling day scheduled on 9 September, a Saturday.

Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam expressed his intention to leave politics and his position in the People’s Action Party (PAP) to participate in the election.

Following Tharman’s announcement,  George Goh, the founder of Harvey Norman Ossia, declared his intention to run for the Singapore presidency on 12 June.

This year’s Presidential Election will be an open race, allowing candidates from any racial community to stand.

To qualify, prospective candidates must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC), affirming their integrity, good character, reputation, and the fulfillment of public sector or private sector service requirements.

George Yeo, Singapore’s former foreign minister, stated in March this year that he would not be running in the upcoming Singapore Presidential Election.

However, Lee Hsien Yang (LHY), the younger brother of Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has expressed his interest in running for president in the upcoming election, adding to the ongoing political drama surrounding the Lee family.

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