Eligibility Certificate Not Endorsement Of Tan Kin Lian’s Online Remarks, PEC Unaware Of Posts

Issuing Eligibility Certificate Doesn’t Mean PEC Endorses Remarks By Tan Kin Lian

Singapore’s Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) has said that issuing the eligibility certificate to presidential hopeful Tan Kin Lian is not an endorsement of his online posts.

In a statement, the PEC clarified that they do not go through the social media accounts of every applicant.

This comes after some past remarks Mr Tan made on Facebook came to light last weekend. As a result, AWARE Singapore has chimed in to express concern over the controversial remarks.

However, Mr Tan’s daughter has stepped in to refute AWARE’s statement.

PEC doesn’t check applicants’ social media, unaware of Tan Kin Lian’s remarks

On Monday (21 Aug), the PEC released a statement addressing presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian’s past remarks on social media.

Source: Tan Kin Lian on Facebook

According to The Straits Times (ST), the PEC said that they do not go through every applicant’s past social media posts when they decide whether to issue a certificate of eligibility.

The PEC will take them into consideration if someone had brought the posts to their attention before that.

However, once they have issued the eligibility certificate, they are not legally able to revoke it, added the committee.

Such additional facts that come to light after that will hence be “for the electorate’s consideration and assessment before casting their votes”.

Addressing Mr Tan’s case, the PEC said, “The PEC was not aware of Mr Tan’s social media posts before Mr Tan’s certificate of eligibility was issued. Hence, the issuing of the certificate could not have amounted to an endorsement of Mr Tan’s social media posts by the PEC.”

Presidential hopeful says past comments were ‘light’ & ‘enjoyable’

This comes after some past remarks Mr Tan made on Facebook about “pretty girls” came to light.

Tan Kin Lian Addresses Past Facebook Posts About ‘Pretty Girls’, Says Most Find Them Lighthearted & Fun

A TikTok video compilation of his various remarks over the past few years went viral over the weekend. The post has garnered over 300,000 views at the time of writing.

In these posts, Mr Tan spoke about the “pretty girls” that he met.

The presidential hopeful has addressed the comments, saying that people found them “light” and “enjoyable”.

AWARE Singapore expresses concern, says comments objectify women

On the other hand, women’s advocacy group AWARE Singapore has expressed concern over these comments.

While they did not name Mr Tan, they attached CNA’s article of the TikTok in their public post.

AWARE Singapore said that consistently posting about “pretty girls” and commenting on their appearance is “an act of objectifying women”.

“The granting of a Certificate of Eligibility to such an individual doesn’t only reflect on him but suggests a systemic endorsement,” they wrote.

“It signifies that these views and behaviours are not just acceptable, but perhaps even agreeable enough for a potential presidency.”

As such, the organisation urged the PEC to thoroughly consider the broader implications of such endorsements in the future.

Tan Kin Lian’s daughter rebukes AWARE Singapore

Responding to AWARE’s statement, Mr Tan’s daughter said that the organisation’s objection is “a bit overblown”.

She said a light-hearted compliment given to a good-looking person is not equivalent to objectifying them. This applies regardless whether the person is male or female.

“As a woman and mother to 2 beautiful daughters, I believe that women should have the confidence to reject the simplistic notion that a compliment on their looks ‘trivialises them’, ‘overlooks their myriad abilities and contributions’ and ‘reduces them solely to their appearances for personal entertainment'”.

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Featured image adapted from Tan Kin Lian on Facebook and Facebook.

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