On his Facebook page, he said that he intends to stand as a candidate in Potong Pasir.
“After speaking to the residents in Potong Pasir SMC, my team members and I have decided that I should stand there in the coming GE.
Even as an independent candidate, I shall continue to contribute in Potong Pasir whatever I have contributed in Whampoa, Mountbatten and Moulmein-Kallang GRC.”
Mr Tan, who stepped down as NSP chief barely months into the job, is expected to come up against the likes of the PAP’s Sitoh Yi Pin, the SPP’s Lina Chiam, and a candidate from the DPP.
The practising lawyer has given his 10 reasons here why he should be allowed to contest Potong Pasir SMC, even if it does lead to a 4-cornered fight.
“There are voices in the social media calling on DPP and me to give way to Mrs. Lina Chiam to have a straight fight with Mr. Sitoh Yih Ping in the coming elections. Now that DPP has agreed to withdraw from its contest, I can only anticipate that these dissenting voices will get louder as I am considered the only intervening party standing in the way.
I have heard all the dissenting voices and their reasons and emotional outbursts. I have also heard the voices of many, many more who ask me to come to Potong Pasir to give them a chance to vote for me. For those who are against me contesting, please allow me to respectfully give you 10 reasons why I should not be asked to step away from contesting in Potong Pasir SMC:
1. If the idea behind avoiding “multi-corner fights” is intended to show that unity to topple the ruling party at all costs, I am afraid I do not subscribe to the idea of toppling the government and opposing for the sake of opposing. This is not a debate but politics that concern our people and the nation. Although the ruling party is imperfect and has many areas where they fall short, there are still ways for us to help them improve and become better in taking care of our people’s needs. What we need is to increase the number of good parliamentarians, regardless of party affiliation, to work together to ensure better governance. Maybe, there will be a coalition government one day but for now we have to act rationally, responsibly and reasonably so as not to compromise our nation’s progress, stability and security.
2. If we are fighting for a level playing field for politics, the landscape that I observe on my side is itself not level. There is no “opposition unity” to speak of and some parties are apparently more equal than others. Political parties ride roughshod over independent candidates and only those contesting against the ruling party under a party banner are invited to discussions on the GE.
3. If we feel it is wrong for the ruling party to demand that an individual must enter the political arena to comment regularly on politics, why should it be right to deny an individual who decides not to join any political party, his rightful place to participate in the political arena as an independent candidate?
4. I am a lawful citizen of this country. Besides my freedom of speech and other rights, I have the right to vote, be voted for as a candidate in an election and to choose where to stand. Is it democratic to infringe upon my right to stand as a candidate in my chosen constituency in the coming elections?
5. If we are pressing for greater democracy, why do we continue to engage in the undemocratic act of horse-trading discussions to deter other parties from presenting their candidates for election which practically deprives the electorate of a real choice like what happens in our presidential elections? Are the political parties acting in the interest of the electorate in doing so?
6. If we believe in greater democracy, why do we engage in the unsavoury practice of giving priority to a political party or candidate by virtue of their earlier participation. Carried to its logical conclusion, where does that leave future parties or candidates to stand for election if all the wards are “choped” (using colloquial parlance) like “choping” seats in a hawker centre by those who came earlier?
7. It takes a lot of courage for one to become an independent candidate. It is easy to become an arm-chair critic and make snide remarks. But how many of our keyboard warriors have the courage to walk the talk and to make a difference that really matters? I do not have the luxury of hiding behind the facade of a party. Why is my courage to stand as an independent candidate not celebrated and encouraged but frowned upon instead?
8. I have walked the ground and spoken to many residents at random. There are residents who regret that their ward has been lost to the ruling party after 27 long years. There are also those who expressed that Mrs Lina Chiam may not get any more sympathy votes this time round and it pains them to see old and frail Mr. Chiam struggling in her walkabouts. When I hear all these feelings, am I supposed to simply ignore them and pretend that I did not hear them? With these feedback, my assessment is that if I do not contest in Potong Pasir SMC in the coming elections, it will continue to remain a ruling party ward. So, why should I not step in to offer my candidacy if it will help to win back Potong Pasir SMC?
9. I have been doing voluntary work for a long, long time. Voluntary work finally led me into politics and I do each of my walkabouts and house visits diligently. I put in my utmost sincerity in whatever I do for people and they feel for me as much as I feel for them. I stand on my own two feet with strong backing from my team of dedicated supporters who give of their time and resources. I expect no sympathy votes and do not wish to win on hate votes against anyone. I would like people to vote for me because they believe in me and trust me, Why should I not run in Potong Pasir SMC when I firmly believe that I could do a better job than anyone else?
10. There are potential candidates out there with strong credentials who do not wish to join any of the existing parties. As an independent candidate, it is my dream to make a breakthrough to encourage those people with talent to step forward and not be afraid to stand as independent candidates to fulfil their hidden desires to serve our people. I believe Potong Pair SMC, more than any others, is ready to help me make this dream come true. If I succeed, imagine what it will do for Singapore politics. Even if I do not, at least I dared to live my dream to do what I thought was best for the people I care for. Wouldn’t you teach your children to do the same thing?”
You can read more about Mr Tan’s exploits as an independent politician here.