[Trivia: Mr Tan Lam Siong is a part-time mediacorp actor]

Today 14 July 2015, marks my last day as a member of NSP. Early in the
morning, I sent a text to the party’s President to bid him farewell and to
wish him and the party well. He responded cordially with his good wishes.

Since stepping down as Secretary-General of NSP, I have been invited by other
political parties to join them. Unfortunately, I had to politely decline each
of their kind offer. At the breaking-of-fast dinner held at the Islamic
Restaurant this evening, attended by representatives of the various
alternative parties, I was interviewed by the media and press, and they were
interested to know my plans.

I have already made up my mind to go independent and informed the reporters
of my intention to contest in Whampoa, one of the places where I have been
regularly visiting to do volunteer work in the past years. To some my friends
in politics, both the idea of going independent and disclosing my choice of
ward to contest in the next election so soon were against conventional
political wisdom. But, why should that always be the case? If they earnestly
wish to improve the electoral system, they must be ready to challenge
conventional wisdom and think out of the box.

I was asked if I was concerned about three-corner fights. This seems to be a
common worry for potential candidates and the voters. Again, my thoughts are
quite different. I feel that voters are entitled to make their choices and to
decide who to vote for without interference. With closed-door negotiations to
avoid multi-corner fights, the voters’ choices become limited to only those
who are allowed to contest by private treaty. That seems to run against the
very idea of an open democratic system.

In any event, for a maturing democracy, voters should not be afraid of making
choices. If the voters’ objective is not to dilute the votes for the
alternative party candidates by them agreeing not to engage in three-corner
fights, the voters themselves will unwittingly stifle the development of a
truly multi-party political system. The voters need to find the courage to
face the ballot box just as much as the candidates themselves.

Ultimately, it will be the voters who will decide the outcomes in every
election. May the voters not only have the courage to choose but also the
wisdom to know how.

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