Updated: 02/08/2014 02:16

Lim Swee Say clarifies withdrawal of invitation to Tan Cheng Bock to attend CNY Garden Party

Lim Swee Say clarifies withdrawal of invitation to Tan Cheng Bock to attend CNY Garden Party

Staff at the People's Association had sent out invitations to this year's Chinese New Year Garden Party at the Istana for grassroots leaders using an outdated guest list. 

And this was why an invitation to Dr Tan Cheng Bock, a former Presidential Candidate and former People's Action Party Member of Parliament, was subsequently withdrawn. 

PA's Deputy Chairman Lim Swee Say says this was "most unfortunate" - and he had called Dr Tan and the other affected invitees personally to explain the mistake, and also followed up with a personal email apology. 

Mr Lim was responding to media queries today after Dr Tan posted on his Facebook that an invitation to him had been withdrawn. 

Mr Lim, who's also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, says the PA reviews the guest list periodically to enable a wider base of invitees to attend the reception. 

This year, instead of inviting all former advisers to grassroots organisations repeatedly, as has been the case for 20 to 30 years or more, it decided to limit the guest list to those who stood down in the immediate past general election. 

As Dr Tan Cheng Bock stood down in 2006, he does not fit into this category. 

Mr Lim says he was heartened when Dr Tan "very graciously" accepted his explanation over the phone. 

So he's surprised that Dr Tan has now brought this up publicly as an issue. 

In his Facebook post this morning, Dr Tan said he has been invited to the event every year since 1980 and he has never failed to attend it. 

He said the warm reception given to him by grassroots leaders at the function were overwhelming.

And he'll miss meeting all those friends there this year.

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