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Elected Presidency: New criteria would rule out Tan Cheng Bock, Tan Jee Say

SINGAPORE — The more stringent eligibility criteria proposed by the Constitutional Commission would likely rule out two of the three losing candidates who stood in the previous Presidential Election (PE), if they opt to make another run for the office next year when the PE will be held.

Mr Tan Cheng Bock (left) and Mr Tan Jee Say. TODAY file photos

Mr Tan Cheng Bock (left) and Mr Tan Jee Say. TODAY file photos

SINGAPORE — The more stringent eligibility criteria proposed by the Constitutional Commission would likely rule out two of the three losing candidates who stood in the previous Presidential Election (PE), if they opt to make another run for the office next year when the PE will be held.

Former People’s Action Party’s Tan Cheng Bock and former civil servant Tan Jee Say would fall short of the recommended criteria.

Among other things, the commission has proposed to raise the requirement for private-sector candidates, who must helm a company with at least S$500 million in shareholders’ equity, up from S$100 million in paid-up capital.

Eligible candidates must also have held “the most senior executive position in the company”, and the entire period of the applicant’s qualifying tenure should fall within the period of 15 years immediately preceding Nomination Day for the Presidential Election in question.

Dr Tan Cheng Bock was the non-executive independent chairman of investment holdings company Chuan Hup Holdings for 20 years, before he retired in 2011.

He did not have executive powers during his tenure and the company does not have S$500 million in shareholders’ equity.

Mr Tan Jee Say, who also stood in the General Election last year as an Opposition candidate, was the regional managing director of AIB Govett Asia from Feb 1, 1997, to Feb 9, 2001.

By next year, it would have been more than 15 years since his tenure at the asset management company.

In any case, he was also not occupying the most senior executive position.

In the 2011 PE, Dr Tony Tan won with 35.2 per cent of the vote, ahead of Dr Tan Cheng Bock (34.9 per cent), Mr Tan Jee Say (25 per cent) and former NTUC Income chief Tan Kin Lian (4.9 per cent).

Dr Tan Cheng Bock declared in March his intention to run again for President in the PE next year.

When contacted, he declined comment on the commission’s recommendation.

Previously, he had said he did not want to speculate whether he would meet the new qualifying criteria, if these are revised, and would take things “step by step”.

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