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'I will deal with IMDA separately': Tan Kin Lian unhappy on being asked to remove parts of broadcast message

'I will deal with IMDA separately': Tan Kin Lian unhappy on being asked to remove parts of broadcast message
Tan Kin Lian showing off his campaign wristbands during his walkabout at Senja Food Centre.
PHOTO: AsiaOne

Apart from not having enough time to prepare for his campaign, it seems like Tan Kin Lian also faced some issues preparing for his presidential candidate broadcast to be aired tonight (Aug 24). 

Tan, 75, revealed to the media during a doorstop interview at Senja Food Centre in Bukit Panjang on Thursday morning that he was asked by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to remove three paragraphs from his speech. 

"They are the most important paragraphs of the campaign. They asked for it to be removed on the grounds that it is outside of the president's prerogative. I do not agree with the decision but I have no choice," said a disgruntled Tan. 

The former NTUC Income chief executive officer then read out the omitted paragraphs to the media, which were about his plans to manage the reserves, and some of the goals he wanted to achieve if he were to become the head of state. 

"I consider the IMDA does not have the authority to interpret the Constitution in their own way and ask for statements to be removed. I do not have time to argue about that, I removed the statement and I will deal with IMDA separately," Tan told reporters. 

He also shared that he was asked to send a copy of his speech to IMDA on Wednesday.

"I had to prepare a script in English and translate it into Chinese, Malay and Tamil. I had to present four printed copies and four soft copies. 

"It was very rushed. How do you expect me, with many things to take care of, with the campaign to meet these requirements?" he questioned. 

Tan's script had inaccuracies: IMDA, ELD

In response to AsiaOne's queries, IMDA and the Elections Department (ELD) said in a joint press release on Thursday that the presidential candidates were informed of the timings of the presidential candidate broadcast and the rules on Aug 12, and were briefed on Aug 21. 

They then added that Tan's original script had "inaccuracies about the president's role", where he suggested that the president can provide guidance on the reserves' investment strategies and influence government policy. 

The two agencies said that Tan's election agent had corrected them "without objection" after being notified of the inaccuracies.

"All Presidential candidates, including Mr Tan, signed a statutory declaration on their nomination paper to confirm that they have read the explanatory material on the president’s constitutional role, including the specific examples of what the President can and cannot do.

"They also signed a voluntary undertaking on campaigning for the election in a manner that is dignified, decorous and consistent with the President’s position.

"We remind all candidates not to mislead the public about the president's role," they said. 

READ ALSO: Tan Kin Lian believes president has 'tremendous soft power', similar to that of monarch

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