Tan Cheng Bock says Progress Singapore Party is here to stay
Regardless of the outcome this time, he vows party will be back for next election
The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) will be back at the next election, regardless of the outcome of the election tomorrow, said party secretary-general Tan Cheng Bock.
Speaking to the media after the party's final walkabout of the campaign, the 80-year-old pledged that the year-old party would regroup even if it lost.
"We will not run away because we are a new party. I have to train them to take defeat. If we are defeated, then we will have to come back in five years time," he said.
"We just started, and this is the first general election."
The party is fielding 24 candidates in its first electoral outing, which makes it the opposition party contesting the largest number of seats.
While he spoke about the possibility of defeat in the interview, Dr Tan said he was optimistic about his team's chances in West Coast GRC, despite coming up against a People's Action Party (PAP) team that includes Minister for Communication Information S. Iwaran and Minister for social and Family Development Desmond Lee.
"I think we have a good chance. That's how all politicians must be, we will always fight to win, where got fight to lose?" said Dr Tan, during a walkabout at Clementi West Street 2.
"We feel that we have a good chance if judged by the ground reception, and the vibe that we get from the residents. So I hope we'll do well."
Asked whether he plans to lead the party at the next election, Dr Tan said: "I always say that five years is so long, maybe I'll retire.
"But when the five years came, I'm still around. If I am willing, and if I'm able, I'll still be around."
Dr Tan, who was a PAP MP for 26 years in what was then Ayer Rajah SMC, has been the focal point of the year-old party at this election, with his face appearing on posters and publicity material in all the constituencies PSP is contesting.
He said the past nine days of campaigning have been a good experience and offered him a different perspective of an election campaign.
"I was campaigning in the good old era, when we had no such restrictions. So the restrictions did curtail some of our movements. But generally, I think we all are quite adaptable. We managed to do what is very essential for any election."
Dr Tan said of his return to the electoral contest after 14 years: "Oh it's fun... I can sense that what I experienced in the past and now, actually not much has changed in the way of campaigning."
During the campaign, he did walkabouts in every constituency the party is contesting, and joined other parties in areas it is not contesting.
He also appeared on walkabouts with PSP member Lee Hsien Yang, the estranged younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
There was speculation the younger Mr Lee could be a candidate but he was not fielded in the contest.
Dr Tan said he tried to keep his party's campaign positive.
"We want to stay high because we want Singaporeans to understand that we can conduct an election in a very proper and gentlemen way," he said.
"You don't have to criticise your opponents, how bad they are and so on.
"It's a contest of ideas. I got my ideas, you got your ideas. We let Singaporeans decide."
As for his Cooling-off Day plans, Dr Tan said that "tomorrow I shall go and eat and drink", adding that he will be spending some time with his family and also catching up with his team members.