Tan Cheng Bock tops election spending
Dr Tan Cheng Bock may have lost by a hair width in the recent presidential elections, but he topped the list as the candidate with the highest election expenditure, according to the numbers released by the election department yesterday.
Dr Tan spent a total of S$585,045.03, or 44 per cent of the total S$1.32 million election expenditure of all four candidates.
President Tony Tan came in a close second at S$503,070, followed far behind by former Principal Private Secretary Tan Jee Say, S$162,337, and former NTUC Income Chief Executive Officer Tan Kin Lian, S$70,912.16.
The amount Dr Tan spent is also more than the S$524,620.38 he received in donations. The shortfall of S$60,000 was paid out of Dr Tan’s own pocket, his campaign treasurer Joseph Oh told The Straits Times.
The other three candidates similarly dug into their own pockets to fund their campaigns, with President Tan coming out the most. President Tan forked out an additional S$165,070 on top of the S$338,000 in donations he received.
Tan Jee Say came out S$127,292, while Tan Kin Lian came out S$15,887.34.
Publicity materials constituted the bulk of the election expenditures. Top spender Dr Tan spent more than 86 per cent of his total expenditure on traditional advertising and promotional materials such as posters, leaflets and name cards. Nearly S$207,000 – or 40 per cent of the total expenditure – was spent on direct mailers that he addressed to every eligible voter.
President Tan used more than 58 per cent of his total expenditure on publicity materials, which include spectacle magnets, caps and almost 1.5 million leaflets mailed to every household.
However, more interesting were the expenditures on new media publicity – which highlighted the candidates’ venture into new territory in their attempts to reach out to a wider audience.
President Tan dedicated 31 per cent of his total publicity expenditure on more novel channels such as campaign videos, websites, Google banners and Facebook advertisements.
Dr Tan spent around 7 per cent of his total publicity expenditure on SMSes, iPhone and Android smartphone applications and email marketing.
Other amusing trivia details arose in the declaration of the candidates’ expenditures.
For example, Dr Tan bought insurance coverage for himself and 115 of his helpers.
The election expenses, which is available for inspection by the public, also showed that President Tan paid a taxi driver S$20 for a S$4 surprise taxi ride after his Boat Quay rally, and treated his helpers to a snack of mackerel satay and ketupat at his campaign office.
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