On why he is raising the issue now, and his plans

Dr Tan greeting his supporters at the press conference yesterday. "At the end of the day, if you ask me, I want to serve you", he said.
Dr Tan greeting his supporters at the press conference yesterday. "At the end of the day, if you ask me, I want to serve you", he said.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Here is an edited excerpt of some of the questions posed to Dr Tan Cheng Bock at his press conference yesterday, and his responses.

Q On his call on the Government to ask the courts to decide if its method of counting when a reserved election should take place is legal. Would he seek a judicial review if the Government did not?

A I think the courts should be the last avenue for us to answer a question like this.

The elected Government has that responsibility to explain questions that are put to it by ordinary Singaporeans. There is no need to avoid this very simple question: Why did you choose that particular method?

So, going to the court, I think, is not nice... I keep all my options open. I don't think I want to go to court. But if I am pressured, I keep my options open.

Q On why he is raising the issue now, five months before a presidential election, and why he did not do so before the Constitutional Commission issued its report.

A I shouldn't interfere with the commission's hearing. I have to listen to everything. I was quite resigned to maybe not being able to stand in this coming presidential election. But when I listened to the parliamentary debates (on changes to the elected presidency) and the manner of the exchanges, I felt that something was amiss.

Q If the next election is not reserved, would he aim to contest under the deliberative track? (This allows the Presidential Elections Committee to consider candidates who do not meet the criteria, but who have comparable experience and ability.)

A I do everything for a reason and I plan carefully. Any time they call an election, my men are ready... I will leave all my options open. But at the end of the day, if you ask me, I want to serve you. I will bring all my political experiences, my diplomatic experiences and my experience on the ground - grassroots, town councils, CDCs (community development councils).

I am so familiar with Singapore, the workings of Singapore, that I am prepared to assume that role to look after your reserves and to make sure the appointments of the people in Government are in the right order. And if I can't, there are other ways for me to contribute.

Q On whether he has a timeframe for his next move.

A I don't know whether I should tell you my strategy. I always tell my men, timing is important. Trust me. When I see something that I think needs to be done, I will do it. And I will do it in such a way that I won't miss the boat.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2017, with the headline 'On why he is raising the issue now, and his plans'. Print Edition | Subscribe