RONALD LEE: Dr Tan Cheng Bock should just call it quits. He won’t become Singapore’s next president any time soon. This is because he has been so effectively blocked, or double-blocked, from contesting.
Dr Tan lost to current President Dr Tony Tan the last time round by 0.35 percent of the votes, in a 4-horse race. He was looking forward to contesting this term and was “prepared”, only to be cut down by fresh regulations instituted.
The reserve election – where only Malay candidates can contest – this time round spelt the end of his candidacy bid along racial lines. Dr Tan argues that 4, and not 5 terms consecutive presidential terms have passed with a non-Malay president according to the Constitutional Commission, and so PE2017 should be an open election in which he can contest.
Even if so, Dr Tan will still be barred because of the new and more stringent requirements involving money.
Under the recent constitutional changes, eligibility criteria has been tightened such that candidates drawing on their private sector experience to have been the most senior executive of a company with at least S$500 million in shareholders’ equity.
Dr Tan, who qualified in the 2011 election on account of being non-executive chairman of Chuan Hup since 1991, will no longer qualify on this count.
Besides, Chuan Hup currently has S$292.25 million in shareholders’ equity.
Hence, the great Tan Cheng Block – or again, “Double Block” if you will.
Dr Tan said this morning that if can’t be president, he will look to serve Singapore in other ways.
I think that’s the best he can do, seeing that he’s been out—foxed.