Opposition Leaders ‘Ganging Up’ to Endorse Tan Kin Lian ‘Very Worrying,’ Says Ng Kok Song


In a surprising turn of events on August 27, 2023, Tan Cheng Bock, a former presidential candidate from the 2011 elections, made a significant appearance at People’s Park alongside his previous rival, Tan Kin Lian. The gathering marked a unique show of unity between the two figures who had once been competitors.

Tan Cheng Bock_Tan Kin Lian_Tan Jee Say

Tan Kin Lian, presently vying for the presidency in the 2023 election, is engaged in a three-way race against Ng Kok Song and Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

Serving as the Chairman of the Progress Singapore Party, Tan Cheng Bock formerly held the position of Secretary-General until 2021. Of note, he had not previously unveiled any details about his potential endorsements in this year’s campaign.

Also present at the event was Tay Siew Hong, the wife of Tan Kin Lian. The occasion saw the attendance of Tan Jee Say, another participant from the 2011 presidential contest, and Michelle Lee, formerly associated with the Red Dot United party.

Dr. Tan Cheng Bock, who also holds the role of Chairman within the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), stepped forward to formally endorse Tan Kin Lian, underscoring their shared belief in the importance of an independent candidate. When probed by the media about the PSP’s stance on endorsing Mr. Tan, Dr. Tan repeatedly clarified that his endorsement was given strictly in his “personal capacity” and he was present “not as a politician in this election.”


In response to the endorsement of fellow candidate Tan Kin Lian by prominent opposition figures Tan Cheng Bock and Tan Jee Say, presidential candidate Ng Kok Song conveyed his apprehensions.

In an interview with Mothership, he remarked, “Several leaders from several opposition parties ganging up to endorse Mr. Tan Kin Lian,” referring to the situation as a “very unhealthy and worrisome development.”

He also highlighted the potential for “polarisation between some members of the opposition and the government.”

Ng emphasized the need to differentiate between the Presidential Election and the General Election. He noted that confusion could arise among the people of Singapore due to the overlapping endorsements.

He underscored the importance of the Presidential Election as a unifying event and stressed that the chosen President should serve as a “unifying force.”

Ng urged opposition parties to refrain from politicizing the presidential election, suggesting that such actions would be more suitable for the General Election. He advocated for non-partisan candidates and criticized the endorsement of Tan Kin Lian by opposition members, stating that it contradicts the spirit of the Constitution.

However, it’s worth noting that Article 19(2)(f) of the Constitution of Singapore outlines that a person qualifies to be elected as President as long as they are not a member of any political party on the date of their nomination for the election.

The constitution does not explicitly prohibit candidates from being endorsed or having affiliations with political parties. Ng also addressed the practice of political parties urging their members to resign prior to the Presidential Election, expressing his view that such actions do not align with the constitutional spirit. He acknowledged that not all opposition parties are involved in the situation, but he cautioned against the politicization and polarization of the office of the President, referring to it as “dishonouring and disrespecting.”

Ng expressed confidence that the people of Singapore desire to vote for an independent candidate. He believed that voters would recognize the potential for manipulation if candidates are supported by several opposition parties. He concluded by emphasizing the need to safeguard the presidency from being influenced by any political party.

Top left image from Mothership

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