Elections Department confirms three contenders vying for upcoming presidential election reserved for Malays

Presidential hopefuls (from left) Salleh Marican, Farid Khan and Halimah Yacob. PHOTOS: LIANHE ZAOBAO, SEAH KWANG PENG, JAMIE KOH

SINGAPORE - Three Malays have submitted applications for the upcoming reserved election, the Elections Department confirmed on Monday (Sept 4).

The deadline for applications closed at 5pm on Monday.

The trio who applied are: former Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, 63; Second Chance Properties chief executive Salleh Marican, 67; and chairman of marine services company Bourbon Offshore Asia Pacific Farid Khan, 62.

All three had submitted their applications for a certificate of eligibility and a community certificate to the Elections Department (ELD) last month.

In a statement on Monday evening, the ELD said it had received five applications for a certificate of eligibility by 5pm.

Apart from the three Malay presidential hopefuls, it received an application for a Chinese community certificate, and another application from a person who "does not consider himself to be a member of the Chinese community, the Malay community, or the Indian or other minority communities".

The Straits Times understands that the two individuals who applied are private-hire driver Shirwin Eu, 34, and former private tutor Ooi Boon Ewe, 76. Their applications will be rejected.

"As this Presidential Election is reserved for the Malay community, the Community Committee must reject a community declaration if the declarant does not state that he considers himself to be a member of the community to which the election is reserved," said the ELD.

The Presidential Elections Committee will scrutinise the applications by Madam Halimah, Mr Salleh and Mr Farid, and decide who are eligible to run for the highest office in the land.

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

Mr Salleh and Mr Farid fall short of the requirement for private-sector candidates to have run a company with at least $500 million in shareholder equity for the most recent three years.

Both Mr Salleh and Mr Farid said they were confident the PEC would give them the nod.

"It will be a good contest, if the three of us qualify," said Mr Farid.

Mr Salleh said: "I am confident that there will be a contest and I will be eligible to run. My team and I are busy with the preparations."

However, the PEC has the discretion to allow candidates to stand for election if it is satisfied that they have comparable experience and ability to someone who has run such a firm.

The PEC has up to Sept 12, the eve of Nomination Day, to announce its decision.

Voters will go to the polls to pick a new President on Sept 23 if more than one person qualifies.

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