The former presidential election candidate, who was expected to run and possibly win this time round, said in a press conference this morning that he was blocked from contesting this year due to “advice” from the AGC.
Dr Tan said that the Constitutional Commission’s report stated that a reserved election should only be called after 5 consecutive terms of “free and unregulated elections”, which he added is understood to mean “open elections”.
However, Dr Tan said that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, on advice of the AGC, announced in parliament that the government should consider instead “5 consecutive terms of presidents who exercised elected powers”.
That move, Dr Tan explained, would include former president Dr Wee Kim Wee in the mix, bringing the number of “consecutive terms of presidents” to 5.
However, he said that Dr Wee was a nominated president and shouldn’t count, and so the current number should stand at 4, “consecutive terms of presidents”, meaning the reserved election should not be held at this time.
“We had 4 open elections. It wasn’t 5.”
Dr Tan said that Dr Wee did not qualify as an “openly-elected” president, and that Singaporeans widely recognise his successor, Dr Ong Teng Cheong, as the nation’s first elected president.
“In all my 26 years in Parliament, we have always referred to Mr Ong Teng Cheong as the first elected president… Even the Constitutional Commission’s report ” contains a statement calling President Ong Teng Cheong the first elected president.”
Dr Tan has urged the government to check on the AGC”s interference, and to explain to Singaporeans its methods in concluding that this presidential election should be a reserved election.
“I am concerned that our elected presidency will always be tainted with the suspicion that the reserved election of 2017 was introduced to prevent my candidacy.”
Dr Tan cannot qualify for this year’s election as it a reserved elections means only Malay candidates can apply to run.