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Tan Kin Lian loses presidential bid again, but keeps deposit this time

Tan Kin Lian loses presidential bid again, but keeps deposit this time
Tan Kin Lian with his wife outside his house in Yio Chu Kang after the sample results were released.
PHOTO: AsiaOne

Tan Kin Lian has lost his presidential bid once again, but this time, he'll get to keep his deposit. 

The results of the 2023 Presidential Election were announced at 12.24am today (Sept 2), which saw Tharman Shanmugaratnam, 66, beating out Ng Kok Song and Tan with 70.4 per cent of the votes.

Tan, 75, received 13.88 per cent of votes, while Ng, also 75, gained 15.72 per cent.

When Tan ran for president back in 2011, he garnered fewer than five per cent of the votes and lost his deposit of $48,000.

This time round, he'll get to keep his $40,500 deposit. 

In his doorstop interview when the sample count were released, the sombre Tan thanked his supporters and said that he will take the advice of his family, "live a normal life and spend time with my grandchildren". 

"I will continue to do my part voicing the hardships and aspirations of the people through other channels," he added, with his voice partly breaking as he read the statement from his phone outside his Yio Chu Kang home. 

'I had expected to do much better': Tan

Tan had said that he "will concede defeat when the results are out". 

"I had expected to do much better. But in an election, things are uncertain," he said, adding that he doesn’t know what went wrong. 

"My sincere congratulations to Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam for your success in being elected in this contest," said Tan. "I wish him all the best in meeting the challenges ahead. I hope you will be able to help bring a better life for the people."

Earlier this evening, a sample count released by the Elections Department (ELD) at about 10:40pm showed Tharman leading the presidential race with 70 per cent of the vote.

Tan received 14 per cent while former GIC chief investment officer Ng received 16 per cent, according to the sample count results.

At a polling station in Telok Kurau Primary School on Friday (Sept 1) afternoon, Tan told AsiaOne that he is "okay" with whatever the outcome of the presidential election. 

"If I win, it'll be a whole new chapter in my life. If I lose, I'll go back to retirement," he said, smiling while walking back to his car.  

Questions about independence, controversial Facebook posts

Coming out of semi-retirement, Tan announced on Aug 11 that he is running for presidency again to give Singaporeans the chance to vote for an "independent candidate". 

But the former NTUC Income chief executive's vision, to use the president’s office to influence government policies, were described by some analysts as "unrealistic and misleading".

Throughout his campaign trail, Tan's "independence" was also questioned after several opposition politicians including Dr Tan Cheng Bock came out to endorse his campaign.

And his social media posts - especially those where he made references to "pretty girls" on Facebook - triggered widespread backlash from netizens. 

Tan has since apologised to those offended by his posts in his second presidential broadcast on Wednesday (Aug 30). 

In an interview with AsiaOne, Tan said that he hopes his second run at the presidency will be remembered as his "duty for Singapore" to "voice the aspirations of Singaporeans". 

"Many already told me, 'Mr Tan, thank you for standing up for the people'," he said. "There will be some who don't feel that way. But they will know that my intention to run is not for myself, but for others."

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