Tan Kin Lian Apologises For Controversial ‘Pretty Girls’ Remarks Following Nomination
Presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian has apologised to those who feel uncomfortable towards his past controversial remarks.
The former chief executive of NTUC Income claims that he has been the target of a smear campaign by people from a political faction and the media, based on his old Facebook posts.
Speaking after his nomination, he also said that he wished to reach out to AWARE Singapore after the organisation expressed concern over his comments.
Additionally, he clarified that he did not intend to many anyone uncomfortable, and that the media portrayal of him is “unfair” and “dishonest”.
Has apparently been the subject of a smear campaign for over a decade
On Tuesday (22 Aug), Tan Kin Lian spoke to the media after his nomination speech on Nomination Day.
He fielded many questions, including those about the recent controversy surrounding his “pretty girls” remarks in past Facebook posts.
According to CNA, Mr Tan claims that he has been the subject of smear campaigns for over 10 years.
He alleged that the smears originated from one political party.
“I say [to] that political party: You are in power. You want to ask people to unite. You want to ask people to trust the government. Is this the way to behave?”
Does not believe Tharman or Ng Kok Song are behind smear campaign
However, he did clarify that he does not believe that fellow candidates Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Ng Kok Song were behind it.
Mr Tan said he has spoken to the former senior minister. The latter offered assurance that he would not allow such actions from his team.
“But of course, I’m not too sure whether he knows what somebody else [is] doing on his behalf,” Mr Tan added.
As Mr Ng was not running for public office when the smear campaign started 10 years ago, Mr Tan does not think he has anything to do with it either.
The presidential candidate then highlighted that there has been a “concerted effort” to smear him. Apparently, the media and its editors are part of the problem as well.
“The people trust you to be honest and fair. Now, how can you just smear me based upon something which is quite frivolous, and you make it into a big issue?”
Wanted to reach out to AWARE Singapore but was unable to
Mr Tan then addressed the concerns that women’s advocacy group AWARE Singapore raised recently about his comments.
“In fact, I wanted to write to AWARE. Please tell me, what exactly do you find offensive? But I got no way to reach out to them. Please, what exactly do you find offensive?”
He noted that the girls he compliments make the effort to dress up and be attractive. Hence, they are “quite happy” when he compliments them.
I don’t know why somebody would want to use that as a negative point, and why the media, you take a look at all the articles there. The media portrays it as a big, big thing.
Tan Kin Lian apologises to those who feel uncomfortable
Nevertheless, Mr Tan apologised for his remarks to those who might feel uncomfortable.
“In case some other ladies, after reading this, think they are uncomfortable, I want to apologise to them.”
He emphasised that it was not his intention to do so, pointing out that he has a wife, two daughters, and three granddaughters.
“I think the portrayal of me by the mainstream media is unfair and dishonest, and I hope that the mainstream media takes my message because it’s not me.”
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