Presidential election 2017: Second Chance CEO Salleh Marican says he was moved by PM Lee's call for candidates to step forward

ST VIDEO: RACHEL AU-YONG

SINGAPORE - Presidential hopeful Mohamed Salleh Marican collected his application forms for the upcoming presidential election on Monday (June 5) morning, saying he was moved to run by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who said last year that he hoped candidates would step forward.

"I have done very well in business and I feel I want to give back to society in a much larger way," said Mr Salleh, chief executive of Second Chance Properties, after collecting his forms at the Elections Department.

He added in Malay that as a businessman, he possesses two qualities that may set him apart from his opponents: good judgment and good emotional intelligence.

Mr Salleh's name has come up in discussions about potential candidates since it was announced that this year's presidential election will be reserved for Malay candidates.

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He told The Straits Times last week that he planned to run.

Mr Salleh also addressed questions by reporters about whether he would qualify.

Recent changes to the eligibility criteria for standing in the presidential election state that candidates with private sector experience must have run a company with at least $500 million in shareholder equity, to automatically qualify.

Second Chance Properties, the first company owned by a Malay to be listed on the Singapore Exchange, had shareholder equity of between $254.3 million and $263.25 million in the past three financial years.

 
 

Mr Salleh said while he may not automatically qualify as a candidate for the upcoming election in September, he is "optimistic" he can convince the Presidential Elections Committee he is deserving.

"When it comes to a $2 million or $20 million shop, my thinking process and how I evaluate the purchase is the same. It does not mean I must have 10 times the ability (to buy the $20 million shop)," he said.

In an interview after he announced his intention to stand, Mr Salleh had also praised Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, who is seen as a possible opponent. Asked about this, he said he believed that all presidential candidates must behave "in a manner that is in keeping with the dignity of the president".

"Some people asked me - why you go and praise your opponent? I told them this is the way of a gentleman," he said.

He was accompanied by his wife, younger brother and two members of his campaign team at the Elections Department.