SINGAPORE: Madam Halimah Yacob looks set to become Singapore's next President after the two other potential candidates fell short of the qualification criteria.
The Elections Department (ELD) on Monday (Sep 11) said only one Certificate of Eligibility had been issued for the contest.
Shortly after its announcement, presidential hopefuls Mohamed Salleh Marican and Farid Khan confirmed that their application to stand had been turned down.
Mdm Halimah said the ELD issued the certificate of eligibility to her, which "paves the way" for her to take part in the Presidential Election. She still has to submit her nomination papers on Wednesday.
"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," she told reporters gathered at the ELD.
In order to be eligible, private sector applicants like Mr Salleh and Mr Farid had to show that they helmed a company with at least S$500 million in shareholders’ equity, or have comparable experience and ability.
Mr Salleh's application was rejected as the shareholder equity of the company he helms averaged about S$258 million for its last three financial years, "considerably below" the required S$500 million, the Presidential Elections Committee said in a letter to him that was seen by Channel NewsAsia.
Separately, Mr Farid said he also did not qualify because of the S$500 million shareholders' equity requirement.
"They recognised that I am in a position of seniority in the company, but the company itself did not fulfil the S$500 million (requirement). What they say is correct about the S$500 million, because I've never said I've got S$500 million," he said at his office.
Mdm Halimah meets the criteria set out for those in the public sector, having held office for at least three years as Speaker.
"One of the main focus and function of the elected President is to act as a unifying force. Obviously there is work that I have to do, but the most important thing for me is I would like Singaporeans to work together with me," she said, adding that the President represents all races, religions and communities in Singapore.
THREE APPLICANTS RECEIVED MALAY COMMUNITY CERTIFICATES
In its media release, the Elections Department noted that three applicants received Malay Community Certificates.
As the election was reserved for the Malay community, the Community Committee rejected two other applications by people who did not declare themselves to be a member of the Malay community.
The Elections Department said it had notified all five individuals on the outcome of their applications, and given its reasons to the unsuccessful applicants.
It said that it would not publish the names of the unsuccessful applicants, in line with a recommendation by the Constitutional Commission. This was to reduce the prospect of potential applicants being dissuaded from stepping forward to contest the elections.
An unsuccessful applicant is free to publish the reasons given to him or her, it added.