Businessman Salleh Marican submits application to contest presidential election

Presidential hopeful Salleh Marican and his wife at the Elections Department on Aug 23, 2017.
Presidential hopeful Salleh Marican and his wife at the Elections Department on Aug 23, 2017.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Businessman Mohamed Salleh Marican, 67, has submitted his application forms to contest in the coming presidential election next month.

The 67-year-old, who is chief executive of Second Chance Properties, handed in his applications for the certificate of eligibility and community certificate at the Elections Department on Wednesday (Aug 23).

Speaking to the media after submitting his forms, Mr Salleh said he and his team were ready for a contest.

"It will be good for Singapore if there is a contest. The people of Singapore will be satisfied that they have a chance to select their next president," he added.

Mr Salleh had arrived at the Elections Department (ELD) at about 3.25pm, accompanied by his wife, Madam Sapiyah Abu Bakar, 65.

He shook hands with about 20 supporters and business associates who were there waiting for him before going into the ELD office.

Among them was Mr Kubir Singh, 55, a garments merchant who has supplied clothing to Mr Salleh's company.

"His payments were always punctual. He is really a man of his word, that's why I think he will be a good president," said Mr Singh who has known the presidential hopeful for 40 years .

Property agent Seah Yam Seng, 52, said Mr Salleh might be a "towkay" but he is a down-to-earth person who has "no airs".

Mr Salleh has been busy since he announced two months ago that he intends to stand in the election reserved for candidates from the Malay community.

He said he has been building up a team of volunteers to help in his campaign.

He also started a Facebook page and has been posting regular updates including pictures of himself at community or business events.

On National Day, he posted a selfie of him and his wife dressed in the national colours of red and white, watching the parade at the floating platform.

The businessman is among three people who have signalled their intention to run in the election so far.

The other two are former Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, 62, and Bourbon Offshore Asia Pacific chairman Farid Khan, 62.

Mr Salleh does not automatically qualify to run in the election, as the Constitution requires candidates from the private sector to have run a company with at least $500 million in shareholder equity, on average, for the most recent three years.

Second Chance, his investment holdings and retail firm that is listed on the Singapore Exchange, had equity of between $254.3 and $263.25 million in the past three financial years.

The Presidential Elections Committee, which evaluates candidates, has the discretion to allow a candidate who does not automatically meet the criteria to stand for election.

Mr Salleh said he was confident that he would be found eligible to stand for election next month.

"I have spent more than 100 hours to ensure I do my very best to answer all their questions - you can see the file, see how many pages we put in," he said, referring to the documents he submitted to the ELD.