Singapore

ESM Goh Chok Tong sad that Tan Cheng Bock has ‘lost his way’

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong yesterday said he was saddened to see how his long-time friend Tan Cheng Bock has "lost his way".

Mr Goh's criticism, made in a Facebook post, comes a day after Dr Tan officially launched his Progress Singapore Party (PSP).

"Tan Cheng Bock was my classmate in Raffles Institution. I have known him close for over 60 years. It saddens me to see how he has 'lost his way'.

"He is like Don Quixote tilting at windmills," Mr Goh said, using an expression from the novel by Miguel de Cervantes, which means to attack imaginary enemies.

Last month, Dr Tan criticised the People's Action Party (PAP) for an "erosion of transparency, independence and accountability".

During his party launch on Saturday, Dr Tan - who was the PAP MP in the former Ayer Rajah single-seat constituency for 26 years - said he decided to re-enter politics "for country, for people".

He recounted how founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew had asked him to join the PAP, adding it was his turn to ask Singaporeans to join him.

Mr Goh wrote: "Ouch! (Dr Tan) omits to say that I put his name up to LKY. Surely I deserve some credit - or rather, blame - for who he has become now? 'For Country, For People.' He has conveniently left out 'For Me!'"

Dr Tan was one of three visitors Mr Goh allowed apart from immediate family when he underwent surgery for prostate cancer in 2014.

Dr Tan announced his second bid for the elected presidency in 2016 while the process was being reviewed.

Mr Goh said then Dr Tan's decision was a "calculated political gambit" that could be seen as politicising the process.

He also said: "We are still very good friends, still go out with each other, but I will not try to influence him... I will just wish him good luck."

Dr Tan is making a bid to re-enter politics at the next general election.

Asked about Dr Tan at a National Day dinner in Joo Chiat yesterday, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean said: "The 2G have helped the 3G people like us to find our feet and to bring Singapore forward for the last 15 years.

"We should really be looking forward to the 4G... We shouldn't be going back to the 2G."

Singapore Politics