GE2020: PSP's Tan Cheng Bock has succession plan even if party loses

SINGAPORE – There will be a succession plan in place even if the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) does not win a seat after the polls on Friday (10 July), party chief Dr Tan Cheng Bock said on Wednesday.

Dr Tan, 80, also did not rule himself out as a candidate in the next election as long as he is “willing and able”, he told the media at a doorstop in Jurong on the eve of Cooling Off Day.

Dr Tan was Ayer Rajah MP from 1980 to 2006 when he was with the People’s Action Party. He returned to politics last year when he founded PSP, after a 13-year hiatus. For this General Election (GE), he is contesting for West Coast GRC with teammates Jeffrey Khoo, Nadarajah Loganathan, Hazel Poa and Leong Mun Wai.

“Even if we don’t win, we will recoup. We will not run away, because we are a new party,” he said, adding that he would train his team to “take defeat”.

“If we are defeated... we will have to come back in five years time. We are not running away, we just started, and this is the first general election,” he said when asked about his plans for the next five years should his team lose.

He stressed on the importance of having a succession plan in place regardless of the outcome of the GE.

"The important thing as I told you, I must have this team. I will build the stage... And I’ll bring them along. And by then (next GE), they will be very well acquainted with politics in the way of doing things correctly, which is very important.”

The party would continue to bring in capable people as well, Dr Tan said, while revealing that the party already has a ready pool of young talent.

“They're not in the election now, but I can see the potential in them. And some of them are too young, like 18 years old. I cannot just make an 18-year-old girl stand for election, I got to train her, because some of them when they get fame, they don’t know how to manage, and that will be when you destroy somebody... you must prepare for the responsibility.”

Asked if he will be handing over leadership of the team, Dr Tan replied “not so fast”.

“There are so many factors involved when you’re looking for a leader, not purely on academic qualification (though) that could be a good start. But you got to see whether people follow you.”

In politics, the veteran politician said, it’s important that “the person can sell an idea, not tell people (to do things”.

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