Starting out as a humble physician in the farming village of Ama Keng, Dr Tan went on to serve as a Member of Parliament with the People’s Action Party for 26 years in the Ayer Rajah constituency before his retirement from politics in 2006.
During his tenure, he spearheaded several key initiatives aimed at improving the lives of everyday Singaporeans.
He lobbied hard for parents to be allowed to use their CPF savings to fund their children’s education, established Credit Counselling together with the Tsao Foundation, and promoted family bonding through the implementation of free parking at HDB car parks on Sundays.
Always believing in the power of diverse opinions and the need for Singaporeans to have a say in the running of the nation, he set up the first governmental feedback unit, known today as REACH, back in 1985.
At 82 years old, Dr Tan came out of retirement to contest against his former party. He believes that the heavy-handed approach adopted by the regime is stifling Singapore’s progress, and has dedicated himself to mentoring young Singaporeans to build a more inclusive, compassionate and democratic Singapore.