Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Presidential election 2011 candidate: Tan Kin Lian
Tan Kin Lian
Chairman and CEO of NTUC Income
Tan Kin Lian became the general manager of NTUC Income Insurance Co-Operative in 1977, at the age of 29, subsequently re-designated as chief executive officer and remained in this position until April 2007. During his leadership the company has grown from having $40 million in assets in 1977 to more than $17 billion in assets and over one million policyholders in 2007.
Other Corporate Appointments
Tan Kin Lian’s 2007 CV mentions more than 60 directorships and other corporate appointments . Of these, the most notable is the chairmanship of International Co-operative & Mutual Insurance Federation (1992-1997), an international organisation which at that time represented 123 insurance groups in 65 countries, employing 260,000 people (www.icmif.org). The total assets of the members of this international federation totalled USD 1.5 trillion (1997 figure).
Tan Kin Lian was a People's Action Party member for 30 years but left the party in 2008 due to inactivity and disagreement with the party's value system. He was previously the party's branch secretary at Marine Parade for 3 years and was chosen in 1977 by Goh Chok Tong, a new MP at that time, to test a pilot scheme for setting up block committees, now known as residents' committees. For the first 10 years, Tan was active in Marine Parade constituency but became inactive for the next 20 years after he moved to Upper Thomson and later to Yio Chu Kang areas.
According to Tan Kin Lian himself, he was asked to stand for elections to parliament twice, in 1979 and 1985 (exact dates uncertain). He declined both times, earlier - due to his work commitments and later - because he disagreed with the direction of the party policy (on national service, graduate mothers scheme, etc).
On 3 June 2011, a friend collected the certificate of eligibility forms on behalf of Tan for the Singaporean presidential election, 2011. On 7 June 2011, Tan Kin Lian confirmed that he would be running for the presidency. Following this, he promised to donate a significant part of the $4 million presidential salary to a specially formed charity and circulated several statements outlining his position on the role of the president, including a controversial statement on safeguarding the reserves. The statements drew a mild rebuke from present and previous senior members of Singapore government, who attempted to publicly clarify that the Elected President has only "custodial powers" and not "executive powers". In reply, Tan Kin Lian issued another statement, where he agreed with the limitations but nevertheless stressed that “the president does not need to be armed with strong executive powers to make an impact. A well qualified and properly elected President will make his impact through the power to persuade, to influence, to counsel, to convey feedback and if necessary, to articulate informed positions on specific issues.”