Farid Khan & Salleh Marican’s Candidacy Depend On The Presidential Election Committee’s Decision
As we edge towards September, we are just less than a month away from finding out who will succeed Dr Tony Tan as Singapore’s 8th President.
After months of controversy regarding the upcoming presidential election, candidates have begun submitting their applications as they await the issuance of the Writ of Election.
As the dust settles, it would seem that it is shaping up to be a 3-way contest between former Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, Second Chance Properties chief executive Mohamed Salleh Marican, and Bourbon Offshore Asia Pacific chairman Farid Khan Kaim Khan.
If the latter two manage to qualify, that is.
Eligibility criteria for those wishing to run for President
You didn’t think they’d allow any Tom, Dick, Harry and Shirwin Eu to run for President, did you?
According to the Presidential Election 2017 microsite, here is a list of requirements one must meet before they can throw their hat into the ring.
Let’s talk about point #7 in a greater detail — more specifically, the private sector service requirements.
Further examining the statutes
Take a quick look at the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore and see if you can spot what one of the main requirements are.
Turns out, candidates have to be chief executives of a company worth a “minimum amount” to automatically qualify.
So what is the minimum amount referenced multiple times in the statute?
$500 million dollars. Participants wishing to take part in the elections are required to have that amount of shareholder equity.
The Straits Times reported in September last year that this suggestion was first proposed by the Constitutional Commission during the first public hearing on the review of the elected presidency back in April, in contrast to the previous paid-up capital of $100 million, which reflected the growth of the economy and national reserves.
Channel NewsAsia reported that the change went into effect in April earlier this year.
(Not) Meeting the criteria
If there’s one similarity between both male candidates, it’s that neither of them meets the minimum $500 million shareholder equity threshold required to qualify as a contestant.
Over the last 3 financial years, Mr. Salleh’s company, Second Chance Properties registered between S$254.3 and S$263.25 million.
Meanwhile, Mr. Farid’s Bourbon Offshare Asia is reported to have S$408 million.
As per the updated requirements, neither is currently allowed to apply for the contest. This would result in a walkover election for Mdm Halimah Yacob — except she has yet to submit relevant documents qualifying her to stand for Presidency.
Therefore the two men’s chances ultimately depend on the decision of the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC), who will determine whether to grant both men discretionary eligibility.
Discretion of the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC)
As the PEC considers their validity status, all we can do now is wait for their decision.
Both parties however, remained unfazed and are confident that the upcoming elections will carry on as a 3-way contest.
The New Paper reported that Mr. Farid was all smiles after exiting the Elections Department on Wed (24 Aug) and said the following:
We have submitted the documents and with confidence I can say that I’ll be approved. I qualify.
Likewise, Mr. Salleh was reported by Channel NewsAsia upon his exit as saying
I’m confident that I should be eligible. I believe I can easily manage a S$500 million company because the thinking process, the evaluation, whether it is S$250 million or S$500 million, is the same.
Netizens however, aren’t too high on their chances of approval by the PEC and took to social media to express their opinions.
With many claiming that Halimah has already been “decided” as the next President.
Are they right? You decide.
Awaiting for the outcome
With so many questions and uncertainties in the air, all we can do now is wait and find out the outcome of their applications.
As Mr. Farid put it, “a lot of people will be disappointed” if there was a walkover.
However, one thing’s for sure though.
It won’t be Tan Cheng Bock.