Chan Chun Sing was earmarked to be Chief of Army (COA) years before he ascended to it. He is so intelligent it’s rumoured his CEP was COA when he was a CPT.
Neo Kian Hong was meant to be succeeded by either of two then-BG, Wong Ann Chai or BG Bernard Richard Tan Kok Kiang, both president’s scholars, and Chan after that. There is a significant age gap between MG Chan who is much younger than Neo.
BG Wong and Bernard Tan left the SAF suddenly, causing a hole in the succession plan. Rumour was they had to extend Neo’s stay as COA, to wait for Chan Chun Sing to be ready finishing his prep tours to be COA.
When he became COA, no one in the SAF had planned or expected for him to be hijacked for politics.
Chan Chun Sing and Tan Chuan Jin will most definitely become the next Defence Minister and possibly DPM.
Chan Chun Sing, Tan Chuan Jin, Neo Kian Hong, Ravindar Singh, Wong Ann Chai and Bernard Richard Tan Kok Kiang are all SAFOS (SAF Overseas Scholarship) scholars, this is their common trend.
There isn’t a single name in the list who isn’t. So, no, the SAF is not the playground for president’s scholars. All the names above are career soldiers, SAFOS scholars, and among them, besides Chan, Wong and Tan are also president’s scholars.
I have served with Chan Chun Sing and have seen the man at work. I had wanted a PAP government and a strong opposition as a check and balance. And I have always voted opposition, despite the fact that I was a career soldier. Having served with him and under his command I see the quality of the man and the passion that he has for Singapore.
I dare to say Chan is the best of the best. He is down to earth, understands how the men feel and he puts them as his priority. I was with him at the battalion level and also on division level. I have never seen such a SAFOS. He always lead by example. His tenure in each appointment tends to be short, around 1 year. This prove that within a short time he can make things work.
Alot of you naysayers have never seen him at work or witnessed his fitness level. There is no other way to say it, but this man is literally made for politics.
He is really big coup for the PAP. If only all president scholars turn out to be like him
Former SAF Regular