Dr Tan Cheng Bock arrived at today’s reserved election protest to shouts of “Our President”, “President Tan” and “Mr President” from the crowd.
Hordes of supporters crowded around him, and that group hardly dwindled as he shook hands and happily posed for pictures for the one hour that he was at Hong Lim Park.
The reception Dr Tan was given by the 2000-strong crowd was almost fit for a president, except it didn’t involve gun salutes and a PM giving a pithy message about multiracialism and meritocracy.
That’s what protestors today were cow beh cow bu-ing about – the denigration of those 2 concepts enshrined in Singapore’s national pledge which came about from what they believe was an abuse of the electoral process by the government.
It’s widely believed that the PAP-led government changed the Constitution in November last year to block Dr Tan from contesting in PE2017, aka “The Great Tan Cheng Block”.
Dr Tan had lost to the PAP-endorsed president, Dr Tony Tan, in PE2011 by a less than 1 percent margin.
Following that, the Constitution was amended to have PE2017 reserved for Malay candidates only.
Greater controversy was stirred over the government’s “counting” process, which saw President Ong Teng Cheong denied his status as Singapore’s first elected president despite publications in historical and national records.
The government unilaterally decided to count President Ong’s predecessor, appointed president President Wee Kim as Singapore’s first elected president as he had “powers of an elected president”
during his 2nd term of office.
The PAP’s endorsed candidate, President Halimah Yacob, was eventually appointed following a walkover – her 2 more arguably more illustrious competitors were barred from contesting.
PE2017 was surrounded by a whirlwind of controversies. Read more about them here.