By Nicholas Yong and Safhras Khan
Farid Khan, 62, hopes that more candidates from the Malay community will step forward to run in this year’s presidential election.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference to announce his candidacy for the presidential election on Tuesday afternoon (11 July), Farid was asked why only two candidates had announced their intention to run so far. Besides Farid, Second Chance Properties CEO Mohd Salleh Marican has also declared his intention to run for office.
Farid said prospective candidates were adopting a “wait and see” approach. “So I came up today, maybe tomorrow somebody else will come up. We wait and see.” Asked if he expected more candidates to come forward, the father of two replied, “I hope so.”
Later in the afternoon, the chairman of Bourbon Offshore Asia Pacific addressed about 150 of his supporters during a tea reception at the Civil Service Club in Changi Village. Khan said, “All along in my life, I never had any political ambition. I just wanted to serve. I want to be a good citizen. I want to pay back what this country has given to an orphan like me: a chance to prove his worth.”
“I have served my family, I have served my community and I feel that the last thing I should do is serve my country.”
Among his supporters was businessman Akbar Kadir, 55, who felt that Farid has the characteristics to be a good leader. “A president has to be astute and a person with a big heart. Farid is a straight person who is very truthful and I think Singaporeans are able to value him.
Ben Png, 55, who has known Farid for more than 20 years, also praised his “integrity” and “kindness”. He noted that Farid had overcome many challenges in life: his father died when he was 13 and his older brother died young, and he worked his way up from the bottom in the marine industry. “He’s a very humble man. Because of his own struggles, the things he has gone through, he understands the people’s lives. He’s not a man of riches, he’s from the bottom,” said Png, who also works in the marine sector.
Yahoo News Singapore also spoke to Farid’s two children during the reception about their father’s chances during the September election.
Yusuf, 18, an ITE Simei student, said that he has faith in his father’s ability and he is a firm decision maker. When asked about the attention the family would attract if Farid were elected, Yusuf smiled and said that he will have to be “more careful” in public.
Farid’s 23-year-old daughter Raeesah also revealed that her father’s decision to run was collectively taken by the family. The restaurant manager and founder of non-profit organisation Reyna Movement is also confident of her father’s chances.
She said, “He is a man of multiple strengths and definitely has the passion to serve the community. I am going to help him during the campaign and I think my experience in running a nonprofit organisation should be useful (for the campaign).”