Tan Jee Say forms new political party

Tan Jee Say forms new political party
Singaporeans First founding members - (clockwise from top row) Fahmi Rais, David Foo, Jamie Lee, Winston Lim, Ang Yong Guan, Tan Jee Say and Fatimah Akhtar - with the party logo and name.

SINGAPORE - Former presidential candidate Tan Jee Say is forming a new political party to contest the next general election.

The party will be named Singaporeans First, and will champion a new national narrative that puts people at the heart of all policies, rather than treat them as "economic digits", he said at a press conference yesterday.

The party has 11 founding members, including architects, retired army colonels and other professionals. Eight worked in government agencies, seven are scholarship holders and three are former People's Action Party activists.

Psychiatrist and retired army colonel Ang Yong Guan, who contested the 2011 General Election with Mr Tan, 60, on the Singapore Democratic Party ticket, is a familiar face.

Other party members present at the Seafood International Market and Restaurant at the Big Splash yesterday were communications professional Fahmi Rais, 46; architect Fatimah Akhtar, 43; chemist and logistics professional David Foo, 50; architect and town planner Winston Lim, 47; and project manager Jamie Lee, who declined to give her age.

The other four, who were overseas, are retired engineer Michael Chia, company director Loke Pak Hoe, educationist David Tan and social entrepreneur and retired colonel Tan Peng Ann.

The members' experience with government and economics, as well as their focus on building strong families, sets them apart from other opposition parties, said Mr Tan Jee Say.

Dr Ang, 59, said the Singaporeans First logo - a heart within a circle - reflects its goal to "think with our heart" in building a fair society, strong families and a people with strong self-esteem.

These are the three main themes in the party's four-page manifesto released yesterday, which proposes changes to the economy, social safety nets and urban planning.

Mr Tan Jee Say said he decided to form his own party so he could "work with all parties and not just one party in the coming general election".

He stressed that the party is not xenophobic, adding: "We are talking about... putting emphasis on Singaporeans as people, not as economic digits."

Next >> Manifesto

Click on the gallery to find out more details about the founding members and party manifesto:

This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.

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