Presidential Election 2017

Contest or walkover? Find out on Sept 13

Whether 2.5 million voters will have the chance to head to the polls on Sept 23 rests on the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC).
Whether 2.5 million voters will have the chance to head to the polls on Sept 23 rests on the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC). PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Whether 2.5 million voters will have the chance to head to the polls on Sept 23 rests on the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC).

This six-member panel, headed by Public Service Commission chairman Eddie Teo, will decide which of the presidential hopefuls make the cut. In order to be issued a certificate of eligibility, a candidate has to convince the committee that he or she is "a person of integrity, good character and reputation".

Also, public sector candidates must have spent at least three years in a key public office.

Those from the private sector are up against more stringent criteria, following changes to the law passed in Parliament last November. They must have helmed a company with at least $500 million in shareholder equity to qualify, instead of $100 million in paid-up capital previously.

But those who do not automatically meet the criteria can qualify under the "deliberative" track, which gives the PEC some leeway in determining whether hopefuls are able to carry out the functions of president should they be elected.

Singaporeans will find out on Nomination Day on Sept 13 whether there will be a contest or a walkover.

The PEC will inform all applicants of their decision by Sept 12.

The committee's other members are: Ms Lim Soo Hoon, chairman of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority; Professor Chan Heng Chee, a member of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights; Mr Po'ad Shaik Abu Bakar Mattar, a member of the Council of Presidential Advisers; Justice Tay Yong Kwang, a Judge of Appeal; and Mr Peter Seah, chairman of DBS Bank.

As this election is reserved for Malay candidates, aspirants must also be certified as members of the Malay community by the Community Committee.

Its Malay community sub-committee, which will assess applicants, is headed by Mr Imram Mohamed, former chairman of the Association of Muslim Professionals.

Its other four members are community leaders Fatimah Azimullah and Alami Musa, and ambassadors Yatiman Yusof and Zulkifli Baharudin.

Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2017, with the headline 'Contest or walkover? Find out on Sept 13'. Print Edition | Subscribe