PE 2017: PEC decision on Halimah Yacob's eligibility sparks #notmypresident hashtag

Vernon Lee
Senior Editor
Former speaker of Singapore’s parliament, Halimah Yacob, arrives at the Elections Department after she was given the certificate of eligibility to contest the election by the Presidential Elections Committee in Singapore September 11, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su

Barely minutes after former Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob was confirmed on Monday (11 September) as the only eligible candidate for this year’s Presidential Election (PE), a number of Singaporeans began using the hashtag #notmypresident in their social media posts.

The use of the hashtag has continued to gather momentum in the past few hours, with Singaporeans expressing dissatisfaction that there would be a walkover for the PE. Polling Day for the PE, which is reserved for Malay candidates, has been set for 23 September but is unlikely to take place.

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

With the PEC’s decision to qualify Halimah and the Malay Community Sub-Committee (MCSC) also issuing a certificate to her stating that she is a member of the Malay community, the former Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC MP will await her confirmation as president-elect on Nomination Day on Wednesday.

The decision by the Presidential Elections Committee to qualify Halimah Yacob as the sole candidate to run in PE2017 has sparked the hashtag #notmypresident. (Photo: Screen shot from Twitter)

Facebook user Jericho Augustus Tan said, “Singaporeans must be given the right to vote for the president that they want #Notmypresident #democracyfails”.

Twitter user Edward C Yong said, “come on. only Halimah received the eligibility certificate. did you guys have to make it THAT obvious? #NOTMYPRESIDENT”.

Speaking to reporters outside the ELD after she was confirmed as the sole presidential candidate, Halimah was asked if she was worried about public perception since she would not have to fight an election.

“I can only say that I promise to do the best that I can to serve the people of Singapore, and that doesn’t change whether there is an election or no election…my passion and commitment to serve the people of Singapore remains the same,” Halimah replied.

(Photo: Screen shot from Twitter)

Second Chance Properties chief executive Salleh Marican and Bourbon Offshore Asia Pacific chairman Farid Khan, two of the presidential hopefuls, have expressed their disappointment that their applications to the PEC had been rejected.

The same hashtag has also been used in association with US President Donald Trump by Americans to express their disapproval of the Republican since he won the election last year.
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