SINGAPORE – Dr Tan Cheng Bock said on Monday (Jan 27) that the location of his party’s new headquarters in Bukit Timah gives it a base to branch out to the rest of the island, but evaded questions on whether it was a sign of where it intends to contest in, in the next general election.
The secretary-general of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) was speaking during the launch of the venue on the 14th floor of Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, which sits within Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.
“The location is always very important because it is your headquarters. You can move all over the island from this centre point. So I find that this is really the right place,” said Dr Tan.
This comes amid talk that the veteran politician will be contesting in West Coast GRC, which includes his former Ayer Rajah ward where he was MP for 26 years.
Dr Tan used the phrase, “I’m coming home,” during the party’s walkabout in West Coast GRC earlier this month.
He had told residents “I’m coming home”, when asked if he was returning to the ward, he told The Straits Times in an exclusive interview last September, adding that he is “familiar with the area”. During Monday’s launch, Dr Tan said that establishing a party headquarters in this manner shows that PSP is in “for the long haul”.
“I think it signifies that we are a very serious player. We are not just coming here to fight one general election,” said Dr Tan. The next election has to be called by April 2021.
The premises will host party activities such as forums and meetings. Dr Tan shared that prior to these, party meetings were held at his home, which is in Holland Grove Drive.
“So it’s important that I get some place where they (party members) can call their home, and can always come here at all times of the night and day.”
Before securing its Bukit Timah venue, the party had held its public activities at different hotels across the island. It had faced difficulty in finding venues that allowed them to run their events, but Dr Tan did not elaborate on the reasons.
In December, it organised a talk by veteran architect Tay Kheng Soon at Village Hotel Katong. The party’s launch in August last year was held in Swissotel Merchant Court.
“We will no longer be pushed from hotel to hotel, or from establishment to establishment,” said Dr Tan.
He said that the new headquarters will be the “focal point” of the party’s operations, and a base to branch out to the rest of Singapore. He added that the location is convenient due to its proximity to Beauty World MRT station and various bus stops, along with dining options.
While he has been trying to mentor and groom younger people to take the party forward, Dr Tan said he still has to work hard to familiarise Singaporeans with the party’s symbol and colours, so that “in the event of an election, we are recognisable”.
He said he is “worried” that some people still associate the party with only him, and stressed that “a political party is an institution”. Beyond just one individual, he added, a party needs “good people to come in and form it”.