Dr. Tony Tan is well known as the PAP spin doctor. He was Chairman of the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and was in fact the propaganda chief of the PAP Government. In addition he was the Deputy Chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC). Not to mention he was at one time chairman of the PAP. So when he announced on 23 June that he was stepping forward in the presidential election as an "independent" candidate, it was greeted with great incredulity bordering on the comedy or ludicrousness.
Dr. Tony Tan is not apolitical and could not be unaware of the political ground situation where the electorial mood is said to be inimical to the PAP. He is a smart Aleck and knows that as a PAP-endorsed candidate he will be disadvantaged by the considerable anti-establishment votes. So he hits on the idea of presenting himself as an "independent" candidate and hopes by this masquerade he can get the support of the anti-establishment voters. To give substance to his declaration as an "independent" candidate, he divests himself of his positions of deputy chairman of GIC and chairman of the SPH hoping in this way to convince the electorate of his "independence".
Dr. Tony Tan can succeed only if he thinks that Singaporeans are so naive as not to be able to see through his scheme. The voters are not going to believe that divesting himself of his PAP positions is going to make him any more independent than a PAP wallah. Emeritus SM Goh Chok Tong has openly stated that Dr. Tony Tan is eminently suitable for president. PM Lee Hsien Loong has asserted that Dr. Tony Tan will be a unifying figure for all citizens and will bring honour and credit to Singapore. So to all intents and purposes, these PAP leaders have endorsed Dr. Tony Tan as a PAP candidate, however tacitly, but nevertheless an endorsement. So where is the independence?
So willy-nilly Dr. Tony Tan will go into the presidential election not as an independent but a PAP-tacitly-endorsed candidate. He will have to contend with two so-called independent candidates in the persons of Dr. Tan Cheng Bock and Mr. Tan Kin Lian. Of the two contenders Dr. Tan Cheng Bock has shown to be an independent-minded person with better credentials. The electorial mood now is to shun the white (白色忌讳）(the white meaning the PAP) and Dr. Tan Cheng Bock should be able to garner the anti-establishment votes. But he may not have a smooth passage because of the candidature of Mr. Tan Kin Lian who may inadvertently act as a "spoiler". The pro-PAP votes, as expected, will go to Dr. Tony Tan and any votes for Mr. Tan Kin Lian can only come at the expense of Dr. Tan Cheng Bock's anti-establishment votes with disastrous effect on the latter's election success. The civilised thing for Mr. Tan Kin Lian to do, in the higher interest of the political unity of the people, is to withdraw from the contest so that it becomes a straight fight between Dr. Tony Tan and Dr. Tan Cheng Bock. Mr. Tan Kin Lian will win the gratitude of the people of Singapore in this way.