Farid Khan to head Malay business body

Ex-presidential hopeful to helm Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Former presidential aspirant Farid Khan will be the new president of the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SMCCI). He was the only candidate when nominations closed last Friday.

The 64-year-old - who wanted to take part in the last presidential election in 2017 but was deemed ineligible - told The Straits Times he is confident that he can better serve Singapore in this new capacity.

"I am a businessman, and I feel this is where I can better contribute and give back to the country," said the chairman of marine services provider Bourbon Offshore Asia. "I see this as an opportunity for me to help the business community."

Mr Farid had taken two weeks to decide if he should run for the post after the SMCCI broached the matter with him.

The new board is expected to take over after SMCCI's annual general meeting on May 31. Its term will run for two years till 2021.

Mr Farid had applied to run in the last presidential election, which was reserved for Malay candidates. But he was deemed ineligible as he fell short of the criterion of helming a firm with at least $500 million in shareholder equity for the recent three years, a key threshold required for private-sector candidates.

Another presidential hopeful, Mr Salleh Marican, chief executive of a property firm, also did not make the cut.

Their disqualification meant current President Halimah Yacob was the sole eligible candidate. She qualified on account of having held the post of Speaker of Parliament since 2013. She is Singapore's first female president.

Mr Farid Khan hopes to groom more young entrepreneurs and continue digitalisation efforts to help businesses transform.


Mr Farid, who will replace technopreneur Shamir Rahim - the chamber's president since 2017 - hopes to groom more young entrepreneurs and continue digitalisation efforts to help businesses transform.

Mr Shamir, chief executive of transport management start-up Versafleet, is stepping down to focus on his company's growth. But the 36-year-old, who became the SMCCI's youngest president at the age of 34, will work with the new board to ensure a smooth transition.

"It has been an eye-opening and meaningful experience, especially for me as a young entrepreneur," said Mr Shamir, adding that he has gained a deeper appreciation of how the Government works with businesses and a better understanding of the business community.

He said he has started discussing with Mr Farid on ways to take the community forward.

"He is a known figure and has many years of experience. I am sure he will do well," Mr Shamir said. "We need more influential business people like him to step forward."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2019, with the headline 'Farid Khan to head Malay business body'. Print Edition | Subscribe