SINGAPORE — For the second time in three months, former presidential candidate Dr Tan Cheng Bock met Lee Hsien Yang for breakfast today, amid speculation of a burgeoning alliance.
The meeting, which took place at Ang Mo Kio Market and Food Centre at Block 409, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, comes a few weeks after Dr Tan announced his intention to make a political comeback, with Lee publicly throwing support behind him.
TODAY was at the food centre when both men arrived at 9.14am.
When approached by TODAY, Dr Tan declined to be interviewed.
Lee would only say: “Breakfast was good.”
TODAY understands that before sitting down to breakfast, both men went on a short walkabout at Teck Ghee, the ward helmed by Lee’s elder brother Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Teck Ghee comes under the Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency (GRC).
Aside from Dr Tan and Lee, four other men were with them. They are Dr Tan’s trusted aides. Some members of the public went to their table to greet them and take photos.
On January 18, the 78-year-old Dr Tan, a former People’s Action Party Member of Parliament (MP), announced his intention to return to politics through a Facebook post.
Dr Tan revealed that he and 11 others — some of whom were former PAP cadres - applied on January 16 to start a new political party called the Progress Singapore Party.
It comes amid talk that the next general election, which is due by early 2021, could be held later this year.
A few days after that announcement, Lee backed Dr Tan’s bid to contest in the upcoming election, saying in his Facebook post on January 24 that the latter is the “leader Singapore deserves”.
Both men were last seen together on November 4 last year, when they had breakfast at a hawker centre in West Coast.
Prior to contesting the presidential election in 2011, which saw him losing narrowly to Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, Dr Tan served as a PAP MP for 26 years until 2006.
Dr Tan, who retired as a doctor at the end of last year after practising for 50 years, was previously MP of Ayer Rajah Single-Member Constituency between 1980 and 2006. The constituency was absorbed into the West Coast GRC thereafter.
Ang Hin Kee, a PAP MP for the Ang Mo Kio GRC, was doing his rounds of the food centre this morning, handing out Chinese New Year red packets to residents, at the same time as Dr Tan and Lee’s breakfast meeting.
He greeted Lee and Tan and exchanged lighthearted banter with them. Ang told TODAY that he offered Dr Tan his wishes for the Chinese New Year. He also told Dr Tan that there is plenty of good food at the hawker centres in Ang Mo Kio town, and invited him to patronise them, he said.
After their breakfast, Dr Tan and Lee walked through the market, greeting members of the public along the way. — TODAY