[UPDATE on Sunday, 25 May, 11.00am: Adding details of party's name, logo, manifesto and founding members]
Former presidential candidate Tan Jee Say unveiled Singapore's newest political party, Singaporeans First, on Sunday.
The party's manifesto — "Fair Society, Strong Families and Esteemed People” — was announced along with a list of 11 founding members, which include 60-year-old Tan himself as well as members of the medical profession, architects and company directors.
They include Dr Ang Yong Guan, psychiatrist and former grassroots leader, who along with Tan ran under the Singapore Democratic Party banner at the 2011 elections; Michael Chia, retired engineer and volunteer social worker; Fahmi Rais, communications professional and former Young PAP member; Fatimah Akhtar, architect; Dr David Foo Ming Jin, chemist and former Young PAP member; Jamie Lee Swee Yan, IT professional; Winston Lim, architect; Loke Pak Hoe, company director; and Tan Peng Ann, retired army colonel and former PAP grassroots leader.
Speaking at the party's unveiling on Sunday at a media conference, Tan said discussions about forming a new party first began last year, and that joining a current opposition party instead of starting a new one was the "easy way out".
When asked if his new Singaporeans First party would dilute opposition votes further, Tan said it would depend on how the opposition would work together, adding that he was also open to forming coalitions. The next General Election is due to be held by 2016.
On what the new party stood for, Tan said it aimed to remove the Goods and Services Tax, because it was especially unfair to lower and middle class Singaporeans. Another key policy it was aiming for was free education as it wanted to increase the fertility rate by making it affordable to raise childen in Singapore. It also proposed unemployment insurance, old age pension and affordable healthcare.
Tan added the party would begin walkabouts and preparing policy papers for public consultation after formally registering the party, which he estimated would take two months.
A financial adviser and fund manager, party leader Tan was formerly the principal private secretary to then Deputy Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. He and Dr Ang had previously ran for 2011 elections together under the SDP banner in the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.
Tan left the political party before announcing his candidacy for the 2011 presidential election. He garnered 25% of popular votes, losing out to Tan Cheng Bock and eventual President Tony Tan Keng Yam.
After the elections, Tan had leased a three-storey building along Orchard Road to host weekly policy discussions. The venue, known as "Heart Beat", had to be closed down following tenancy issues. The space was reportedly approved for restaurant and office use only.