In a Facebook post on Friday morning, January 18, former presidential candidate and veteran PAP MP Tan Cheng Bock announced his return to the political arena.
Tan filed an application with the Registry of Societies for a new political party named the Progress Singapore Party with 11 other Singaporeans. Tan described his team as comprising of “some ex PAP cadres”. He is currently awaiting approval from the Registry. After which, he wrote, the group will hold a press conference.
Tan said that he has had the opportunity to speak to Singaporeans “from all walks of life.” Hearing their concerns and fears, and feeling their pains, Tan wrote that he “felt a sense of duty to come forward and represent them in Parliament,” hence the choice to form the Progress Singapore Party “to add another voice in Parliament,” and “an alternative voice in Parliament.”
Tan entered the political arena in the 1980 general election under the PAP banner and became the Member of Parliament-elect for the Ayer Rajah Single Member Constituency with an 83% majority. Tan’s subsequent election results with an average of 77% was perceived as one of the best-performing candidates in Singapore, with his best-ever score being his last election in 2001, with 88%.
While in Parliament, he served as the Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committees (GPCs) for Education (1987–90), National Development (1991–95) and the Environment (1995–97), and was the Co-ordinating Chairman for all GPCs from 1987-88. He was also a member of the GPCs for Communications (1997–2000) and Defence and Foreign Affairs (2001–06).
Tan was the Leader of the Singapore-European Parliamentary Group between 1991–1996 and Singapore-SEA Parliamentary Group between 1997 – 2006. From 1987 – 1996, he was an elected member of the PAP Central Executive Committee, the highest ruling committee within the PAP. Tan stepped down as a Member of Parliament at the 2006 general election. He also served as Chairman of the Jurong East Town Council from 1989–91, Chairman of the West Coast-Ayer Rajah Town Council from 2001–04, Chairman of the Bukit Timah Community Development Council from 1997–2000, and Chairman of the Feedback Unit at the Ministry of Community Development from 1985-89.