Veteran politician Dr Tan Cheng Bock lost to current President Dr Tony Tan by a 34.85 percent to 35.20 percent margin back in the2011 Presidential Election. That’s how popular he was. While he has declared his intention to contest again in 2017, it looks like changes to the qualification criteria will make him ineligible to put up a fight.
To qualify, Dr Tan must meet these criteria:
(1) Served at least six years at the helm of the CPF Board, HDB, Jurong Town Corporation or the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Chief Justice, Speaker of Parliament, Attorney-General, Chairman of the Public Service Commission or Permanent Secretary;
Dr Tan might have had a pretty illustrious history in the public sector and political sphere, but he doesn’t meet this criteria.
(2) Spent at least six years as the most senior executive in a company with shareholder equity of more than $500 million, with the company being net profitable and not going into liquidation or insolvency within three years of the candidate leaving office or of the presidential election’s Nomination Day;
Dr Tan relied on his non-executive chairmanship at Chuan Hup Holdings back in 2011 to qualify as the company had excess of S$933 million in paid-up capital. In Chuan Hup’s 2015 Annual Report, he isn’t listed in any directorial position anymore (retired alread). And even if he was, he wouldn’t be considered as “the most senior executive” in the company.
In 2011, just having a “chairman” title of a company with S$100 million paid up capital would enable him to qualify. Now, he would need to be the top dog of a company holding S$500 million shareholder equity.
(3) Time that the person spent in any of the above positions must not have ended more than 15 years prior to Nomination Day for a presidential election.
Dr Tan is the Chairman of Dredging International Asia Pacific and an Independent Director at M&C REIT Management. Even if he qualifies on the shareholder equity front, he still isn’t the “most senior executive”, or the one calling the shots in these companies.
It’s a pity because he came so close, and many had tipped him to even tip the scales this time round if he ran.
Instead, we might see another Tan toss his hat in the ring again – the only Tan from 2011 besides Tony that qualifies: