Presidential Election 2017: Shirwin Eu turns up at Elections Department on first day of application for poll

Shirwin Eu was the first person to turn up at the Elections Department to pick up forms for the presidential election.
Shirwin Eu was the first person to turn up at the Elections Department to pick up forms for the presidential election.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Shirwin Eu was the first person to turn up at the Elections Department to pick up forms for the presidential election.
Shirwin Eu was the first person to turn up at the Elections Department to pick up forms for the presidential election.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Private-hire driver Shirwin Eu was the first person to turn up at the Elections Department on Thursday (June 1) to pick up forms for the presidential election to be held this year.

"I intend to run for the presidential election," he told reporters gathered there.

The fact that this would be Singapore's first election reserved for Malay candidates did not deter him.

"I understand that this is a reserved election for minorities, for Malay candidates, but the verdict is not out yet... But I think there's always a chance for the Government to review its intentions," Mr Eu, 34, said.

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"We also know that there is a person who is appealing."

He was referring to Dr Tan Cheng Bock who has filed a legal challenge over whether the upcoming presidential election should be a reserved one.

When reporters pointed out that there were other qualifying criteria, for example, candidates must have headed a company that had at least $500 million in shareholders' equity, he said: "That's also another limiter, then you only allow the top elites to participate as opposed to the man on the street"

"But let's say if I am allowed to be qualified on an unconditional basis, I suppose my chances will be the same as any other candidate."

Last year, Eu tried to stand in the Bukit Batok by-election, but did not file his papers in the end.


Shirwin Eu speaks to reporters outside the Elections Department. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

He also made an attempt during the 2015 General Election but did not qualify as he did not have the required signatures from a proposer, seconder and assentors.

The authorities announced on Wednesday that candidates can start applying to enter the September presidential race from Thursday.

No other hopeful arrived at the ELD on Thursday morning, but some prominent personalities have been put forward as potential candidates.

The founder and chief executive officer of Second Chance Properties, Mr Mohamed Salleh Marican, 67, has said he hopes to run.

Second Chance Properties' shareholder equity was between $254.3 million and $263.25 million in the past three financial years, which is lower than the requirement.

However, the Presidential Elections Committee has the discretion to certify that a candidate who does not automatically meet the criteria can stand, if it is satisfied that he has the experience and ability to effectively carry out the functions and duties of the office of the President.

Applications will close on the fifth day after the Writ of Election is issued in late August, giving potential candidates at least 2 1/2 months to file their papers.

Changes to the law, published in the Government gazette on Wednesday, spelt out how the election will be run.

The procedures put into effect the constitutional changes passed in November 2016, to tighten the criteria for presidential candidates and reserve elections for a particular racial group that has not been represented in the office after five consecutive terms.