PE 2017: Halimah Yacob set to become Singapore's first female president

Former speaker of parliament Halimah Yacob speaking to the media outside the Elections Department on Monday (11 September). (PHOTO: Nicholas Yong / Yahoo News Singapore)

Former speaker of parliament Halimah Yacob is the only candidate to have received the Certificate of Eligibility from the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) for the upcoming Presidential Election (PE).

In a media release on Monday (11 September), the Elections Department (ELD) said the PEC had received applications from five individuals looking to contest the PE but had only issued one Certificate of Eligibility.

“I promise to do the best as I can to serve the people of Singapore and that doesn’t change whether there is an election or no election,” said the 63-year-old Halimah at a media doorstop outside the ELD building after receiving the news.

She added that Singaporeans needed to work together to build a “united” and “much stronger” nation.

Other candidates disappointed

Among the presidential hopefuls were Second Chance chief executive Salleh Marican and Bourbon Offshore Asia Pacific chairman Farid Khan, who both confirmed that their applications have been rejected by the PEC.

The PEC qualification criteria includes a requirement for private sector applicants to have to been either the chairman or chief executive officer of a company with a paid-up capital of at least $500 million.

Said the 67-year-old Salleh in a statement, “I am disappointed that the committee did not see it fit to give me the go-ahead to take part in the Presidential  Election.  But this doesn’t mean my work to help my fellow Singaporeans comes to an end. My team and I will regroup to see how the effort to help our disadvantaged sisters and brothers can go forward.”

“To my family, members of my campaign team and supporters, friends, business associates and well wishers who had stood by me in my decision to become the President of Singapore I say, ‘Thank you for your unwavering support and I will continue to serve Singapore in other ways.'”

Addressing the media via a spokesperson, the 62-year-old Farid said, “I accept the decisions made by the PEC and the Community Committee.

“I wish to thank Singaporeans, my family and friends for their overwhelming support since I first announced my decision to contest in the upcoming election. Unfortunately, it is not meant to be. Nevertheless, it has been a meaningful journey and a wonderful experience.

“Although I am disappointed by the Committees’ decision, it will not stop me from continuing to serve the people. As before, I will continue to serve to the best of my abilities.”

Three Malay Community Certificates issued

The ELD statement added that the Malay Community Sub-Committee (MCSC) also issued three Malay Community Certificates to all three individuals who applied for them. The certificates confirm that the applicants are members of the Malay community.

As this year’s PE had been reserved for Malay candidates, those looking to contest had to receive certificates of approval from both the PEC and MCSC.

“The Elections Department has notified all five individuals on the outcome of their applications. Reasons were also given to the unsuccessful applicants for a Certificate of Eligibility,” said the ELD statement, which added that it would not be disclosing the names of the unsuccessful applicants.

“An unsuccessful applicant is free to publish the reasons given to him or her,” the statement said.

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