Former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock Bock announced on Friday (18 January) that he has applied to form a new political party along with 11 others including some ex-People’s Action Party (PAP) cadres.
Dr Tan, who was a former veteran PAP Member of Parliament for Ayer Rajah, said in a Facebook post that he filed an application to the Registry of Societies on Wednesday to register a new political party, which would be known as the Progress Singapore Party.
The 78-year-old, who recently retired from his medical profession, said, “Over the years, a group of us have been walking the ground, meeting many Singaporeans from all walks of life.”
“In my conversations with them, I listened to their concerns, heard their fears and felt their pain. I felt a sense of duty to come forward and represent them in Parliament. So I decided to form a political party to add another voice in Parliament,” the ex-MP of 26 years said.
Dr Tan said the decision to form the party was not an easy one, adding that it was the “right one”. His team has studied various options including joining an existing opposition party, taking over an existing opposition party and running as an independent.
Paying tribute to the opposition parties’ “brave attempts” to win seats in Parliament in the past in a separate media release, Dr Tan said his team are looking forward to working with others in the opposition who are “passionate about putting country first”.
Referring to his age, Dr Tan said he has a “short window” to work for the good of the nation.
“We want to build a compassionate and truly democratic Singapore where good values and people matter. Freedom of choice and free speech without fear must be defended.”
The Progress Singapore Party aims to be an “alternative voice” in parliament.
“In due course, as the party and candidates mature, we intend to be ready to govern the nation. In the mean time, we will work with those who share our political beliefs of country first – before either party or self.”
The party is awaiting approval from the Registry of Societies and will hold a press conference thereafter, said Dr Tan, who included a link in his post for people to get in touch with him: https://goo.gl/forms/iAuouSgTYoiDx9gf2
Dr Tan was last seen in the public spotlight in November last year when he and the Prime Minister’s younger brother Lee Hsien Yang were seen having breakfast at a hawker centre in West Coast.
On 28 July 2018, he attended a media conference where seven opposition parties, excluding the Workers’ Party and Singapore People’s Party, came together to discuss the possible formation of an opposition coalition.
Then, Singapore Democratic Party secretary-general Chee Soon Juan proposed that Dr Tan lead the coalition given his experience and leadership.
Previously a candidate in the 2011 presidential election, Dr Tan indicated his interest to run for president again in March 2016 but was precluded from running as the 2017 presidential election was reserved for Malay candidates.
In the 2011 presidential election, Dr Tan lost to Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam by 7,382 votes.