As he congratulated incoming president Halimah Yacob yesterday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also took the opportunity to thank the two men who offered themselves as potential candidates.
Mr Farid Khan, 61, chairman of a marine services company, and Mr Salleh Marican, 67, chief executive of a property company, were informed by the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) on Monday that they did not qualify to contest.
Neither had helmed a company with at least $500 million in shareholder equity in the most recent three years, a key requirement for private sector candidates.
In a Facebook post, Mr Lee noted that it could not have been easy for them to decide to contest, given the media attention and public scrutiny they would face.
SYMBOL OF UNITY
This has been a divisive run-up to the nomination for the president. I hope Madam Halimah will heal the wounds. Given her experience and background, I believe she will be a unifying president.
MR SALLEH MARICAN, in a statement.
I wish Madam Halimah Yacob all the best, and I hope that she will have the people of Singapore in her thoughts when making any decision that will affect our lives and the lives of our children.
MR FARID KHAN, in a Facebook post.
"They respected the Constitution and conducted themselves with propriety and decorum. They did not confuse people with wild promises that exceeded the remit of the president, which had happened before," he said.
He also thanked them for accepting the PEC's decisions, saying: "This is the way to make our democratic processes work properly and in the interest of Singaporeans."
Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim also thanked Mr Farid and Mr Salleh for stepping forward. Dr Yaacob, who is also Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, said: "I hope that they will continue to contribute to the community and serve Singapore."
Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh