Saturday, 30 September 2023

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Tan Kin Lian’s life story

I came from a family of 6 children. We lived in rental rooms, and had to move from place to place on expiry of the lease. My father lost his livelihood during the Indonesian confrontation in 1965. I left school after secondary 4 to work to support the family. At that time, I was among the top students in Raffles Institution.

I worked for 12 years in various jobs and qualified as an insurance actuary. I was recruited to run NTUC Income insurance in 1977 and worked there for 30 years. The assets of Income was $28 million when I joined and increased by 600 times to $17 billion when I left in 2007 at the age of 59 years.

I enjoyed working in Income because it was a cooperative society. Most of the profits that it made were ploughed back to give higher bonuses to its policyholders. They do not go to pay big dividends to shareholders or to pay high salaries of the board and top management.

I also run Income frugally and kept the operating expenses low. This helps to keep the premiums low, so that the policyholders pay less.

During my time, there were over 1 million policyholders who were insured by Income. They know that I run Income for the benefit of the policyholders and they were happy with the benefits from their insurance policies. I hope that these policyholders will support me in this presidential election (tentative) and ask their children to support me also.

I fully met the criteria to contest for the presidential election, as the shareholder equity of Income exceeded $500 million during the last three years of my service there.

I believe that the same principle should apply to running a country. The government should keep its expenses low, including the salaries of the ministers, so that the people enjoy a lower cost of living and pay less taxes. For myself, I lived a frugal life and encourage other people to do the same.

I was active in serving the community. I helped the MP to start the first residents’ committees in Singapore in 1979 and led the fund raising for its first community center, raising funds mainly from the residents (not business tycoons). I continued the grassroots work for 20 years.

After I left Income, I continued to be involved in social issues in Singapore. I started a business in computer software and also traveled regularly to provide insurance consultancy in Indonesia.

My wife has been a homemaker after our marriage. She took care of three children and now helped to look after five grandchildren.

Tan Kin Lian, former NTUC Income CEO and a candidate in the 2011 Presidential Election, submitted his application for a certificate of eligibility for the presidential election on 11 July 2023 through a proxy. Instead of collecting the form from the election department, he downloaded it from the department’s website.

In addition to his application, Tan had also submitted his community declaration earlier through the website.

Among the four potential candidates, Tan believes that he and Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam fully meet the requirements as set out in the constitution.

Tan expresses uncertainty about the eligibility of the other two potential candidates, Mr. George Goh and Mr. Ng Kok Song, in fulfilling all the requirements. However, he acknowledges that the Presidential Election Committee has the authority to grant waivers for some potential shortfalls.

Tan plans to await the decision of the Presidential Election Committee on the final slate of approved candidates before deciding on whether to submit the nomination paper.

Editor’s note: The Online Citizen website and three of its social media pages have been declared as Declared Online Locations (DOLs) by the Singapore Ministry of Communication and Information. As a result, it is an offence for the operator to financially benefit from the operation of the DOLs, or for anyone to financially contribute to their operation. Therefore, we are shifting operations from TOC to Gutzy Asia for our daily news. We will still post opinion pieces or letters on TOC from time to time.

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