Chee Soon Juan Advocates For Tan Kin Lian As President While Pointing Out Disagreements
Over the weekend, Tan Cheng Bock and Tan Jee Say attended Tan Kin Lian’s walkabout in Chinatown in a very public display of endorsement for the latter’s presidential bid.
Now, Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) leader Chee Soon Juan has also spoken up in support of Mr Tan.
He detailed his reasons for doing so in a lengthy Facebook post on Wednesday (30 Aug).
At the same time, he also acknowledged some of Mr Tan’s past mistakes and shortcomings, such as his constant “pretty girl” remarks on social media.
Still, Dr Chee believes that electing Mr Tan brings hope that “the PAP’s suffocating grip on our country” can slowly be loosened.
Chee Soon Juan ‘not enthusiastic’ about all 3 presidential candidates
Dr Chee began his post by saying that he had initially planned to vote for Mr Tan in the upcoming Presidential Election (PE2023).
However, he found himself “wavering in [his] support” after hearing what Mr Tan had to say about various issues over the past week.
“I am not enthusiastic, for different reasons, about all three candidates. And yet, come Friday, I have to make a decision,” Dr Chee wrote.
He first shared his thoughts about Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Although Dr Chee called Mr Tharman “the most cerebral” of the trio, he noted that the former Deputy Prime Minister was part of the People’s Action Party (PAP), which “systematically stripped Singaporeans of their voice and ability to choose their own leaders”.
“To believe now that he is independent running for president is to believe that water flows upwards,” said Dr Chee.
As for Ng Kok Song, Dr Chee posited that he and Mr Tharman “are but two different shades of grey”.
This is because Ho Ching, wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, had referred to them as “two very capable and worthy persons”.
Shares thoughts on Tan Kin Lian
While Dr Chee ultimately decided to advocate for Mr Tan, there are some things the former NTUC Income chief has said that he disagrees with.
Firstly, he found Mr Tan’s frequent “pretty girl” remarks to be “off-colour”, especially as a father of two daughters.
“Intended or not, his comments trivialise the worth of women and [do] nothing to advance their empowerment and promote gender equality,” said Dr Chee. “I’m glad that he has apologised for them.”
Dr Chee also disagrees with Mr Tan’s opinion that the voting age should be raised to 30.
“If my son, who is about to serve his National Service, can be called upon to fight in an armed conflict should one break out . . . then why can’t he be trusted to choose his government?”
Lastly, Dr Chee takes issue with Mr Tan’s statements that politics doesn’t solve problems and that the “opposition does not help”.
“Many of us spent our lives fighting for a system in which political parties, civil society and non-government organisations actively participate in political debate and public life,” wrote Dr Chee.
That said, there are other areas where the SDP chief finds himself agreeing with Mr Tan, whom he called “a good man”.
“But that’s not the reason why I find myself advocating for him at this late stage of the election,” Dr Chee clarified.
The real reason is this: All of Mr Tan’s transgressions pale in comparison to the damage that Mr Tharman’s (former) party has done to democracy in Singapore and, more importantly, the harm it will continue to inflict on our nation’s future development.
Urges Singaporeans not to spoil their votes
According to Dr Chee, he has heard of many people who changed their minds about voting for Mr Tan because of his remarks. Instead, they now plan to vote for Mr Ng or cast a spoilt vote.
Dr Chee urges those who are thinking of doing this to reconsider their decision. He said:
To spoil your vote is akin to doing nothing; it’s like standing around and watching while a house is on fire.
“At this crucial juncture of our country’s development, we cannot afford to remain a bystander and do nothing.”
Dr Chee pointed out that the last time Singaporeans got to vote for a president was in 2011.
“After 12 long years, we finally get that chance again. That vote is too precious to spoil.”
Endorsing Mr Tan once more, Dr Chee said that if the former is elected, there is hope that “we can start to pry open, one finger at a time, the PAP’s suffocating grip on our country”.
“As imperfect as the choice on Friday is, if it helps to ‘build a democratic society, based on justice and equality’, then it should be clear who we choose. I choose Singapore.”
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