SINGAPORE: The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) would welcome Mr Lee Hsien Yang, should the brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong decide to join its ranks, its Secretary General Tan Cheng Bock said on Friday (Jul 26).
But, Mr Tan added, Mr Lee would have to “adhere” to the party’s terms.
“Lee Hsien Yang and I, we’re good friends,” said Mr Tan at a press conference held at Swissotel Merchant Court, where he was outlining the reasons for setting up his party.
“I think you all have seen him walking around with me. And I must say is that if he wants to join me, he’s always free to join me.
“As long as he must adhere to my PSP terms. Because many people think that he’s coming to join me because of his own personal agenda.
“He must make clear what is his personal agenda ... If he ever joins, he must join on my terms.”
Mr Lee, who has been seen in public with Dr Tan on more than one occasion, said in a Facebook post earlier this year said that Dr Tan was "the leader Singapore deserves".
"I have known Cheng Bock for many years and he has consistently put the interests of the people first," said Mr Lee in the post dated Jan 24.
"We are fortunate that he has stepped forward to serve Singapore."
Mr Lee along with his sister Lee Wei Ling, has been involved in a spat with PM Lee over whether founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s family home at 38 Oxley Road be demolished in due course.
While Dr Tan neither named the candidates the PSP will be fielding during the next General Election nor the constituencies the party would be contesting, he said he would assess all potential candidates.
“I’ve been going around; many people have approached me, offered their services to me,” said Dr Tan.
“Some also … (were) former candidates from other parties. But it doesn’t matter. Because so long as I assess that their heart is in the right place I will pick them.
"To tell you the numbers of how many candidates I have, I’m sorry, can’t tell you because I’ll wait till Nomination Day.”
Dr Tan had announced his return to politics earlier this year, filing an application with the Registry of Societies to form a new political party on Jan 16. His party was officially registered at the end of March.
A Member of Parliament for 26 years, Dr Tan ran for President in 2011 and narrowly lost to Dr Tony Tan.
In March 2016, Dr Tan announced his intention to run again. But he was unable to do so as the next election was reserved for Malay candidates, following changes to the Constitution that stated that if there is no President from a particular racial community for five consecutive terms, the next term will be reserved for a President from that community.
Dr Tan had also mounted a legal challenge to the reserved election. The Court of Appeal dismissed his application.
Additional reporting by Cindy Co.