Halimah Yacob submits application to contest presidential election

Halimah Yacob arrives at the Elections Department. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Halimah Yacob with her team at the Elections Department. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - A day after unveiling her slogan and a campaign team, former Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob on Wednesday (Aug 30) became the last of the three known presidential hopefuls to submit her forms for next month's election.

Flanked by five members of her campaign team, the 63-year-old turned up at the Elections Department at 10.45am to hand in her applications for a Certificate of Eligibility and Community Certificate.

In her entourage were her principal election agent Lawrence Leow, chief executive of Crescendas, as well as her former grassroots leader, Mr Bob Shaw, the Marsiling CCC chairman.

The Writ of Election was issued on Monday, kickstarting the formal process for the presidential election, and set off a flurry of activity from Madam Halimah's camp.

Just hours after the Writ was issued, the veteran politician and unionist took to Facebook to announce her proposer: Singapore Business Federation chairman and Chinese community leader Teo Siong Seng.

Then came a press conference on Tuesday, where she launched her campaign slogan, "Do Good Do Together", and introduced her team of nominators and election agents. They included NTUC president Mary Liew, Sheng Siong chief executive Lim Hock Chee, Nominated MP Chia Yong Yong, and Ain Society chief executive Yusof Ismail.

Now that Madam Halimah has submitted her forms, it is up to the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) to decide whether there will be a contest, or a walkover.

Remote video URL

Madam Halimah is the only aspiring candidate to automatically qualify so far, having served as Speaker of Parliament for more than three years.

The two other hopefuls, Second Chance Properties chief executive Salleh Marican, 67, and Bourbon Offshore Asia Pacific chairman Farid Khan, 62, fall short of the criteria for private sector candidates. They must have run a company with at least $500 million in shareholder equity, on average, for the most recent three years.

Mr Salleh's investment holdings and retail firm had equity of between $254.3 million and $263.25 million in the past three financial years, while Mr Farid's offshore marine firm reportedly has equity of about US$300 million, or S$408.5 million.

The PEC, however, has the discretion to allow a candidate, who does not automatically meet the criteria, to contest.

Halimah Yacob and her team leaving the Elections Department. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

The last day for presidential hopefuls to apply for the Certificate of Eligibility and the Community Certificate - which will confirm that he or she is indeed Malay - is on Sept 4. There are no indications whether other aspiring candidates will step forward.

This year's election is reserved for candidates from the Malay community, which has not had a president since the late Mr Yusof Ishak died in office 47 years ago.

Singaporeans will find out by Nomination Day on Sept 13 whether there will be a contest or a walkover. If only one candidate qualifies, he or she will be declared the president that day.

Otherwise, voters will head to the polls on Sept 23.

Madam Halimah, who has contested and won in four general elections since entering politics in 2001, has said she is ready for a contest: "We always go into a contest preparing for a contest."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.