Election expenses: 5 things about President Halimah Yacob’s campaign spending

Election expenses: 5 things about President Halimah Yacob’s campaign spending

halimah yacob garlands
President-elect Halimah Yacob greeting supporters at the Nomination Centre on Sep 13, 2017. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: The Elections Department made public on Saturday (Oct 7) documents on how much President Halimah Yacob spent on her election campaign.

Called the returns of election expenses, the documents include a list of donations, as well as the amount spent in categories such as transportation, advertising and printing of promotional materials, and food and refreshments.

Mdm Halimah spent a total of S$220,875 on her campaign, and here are five notable aspects of her expenses:

1. Most of it was spent on promotional materials

The campaign team bought 10,000 fridge magnets at just under S$0.30 each and 530 umbrellas for S$1,640. 

It cost S$73,000 to print 20,100 posters, and another S$34,000 was spent on 1.28 million pieces of Admail A5 cards, excluding GST. Other expenses included getting Tamil translations for website articles, hand flags, red whistles and T-shirts.

2. It's not free to use a room in the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) building 

Mdm Halimah may have been with the labour movement for 33 years, but she had to pay almost S$9,000 to rent a room at the NTUC building in Marina Boulevard on several days in August and September.

The amount included the rental of a Fuji Xerox copier, installation of printer drivers, telephone sets and a fax line, as well as parking coupons for her team.

The NTUC building was where she held press conferences, and where she convened with her team on nomination day before heading to the People’s Association building to submit her nomination papers.

3. Delifrance and Islamic Restaurant were food favourites

From mini puff pastries and madeleines to vegetable briyani and naan, these two eateries seemed to be popular with Mdm Halimah and her team.

A buffet dinner at Islamic Restaurant on Sep 12 - a day before nomination day - amounted to almost S$2,000 for 45 people. According to an order placed for the morning of nomination day, Mdm Halimah and her team are likely to have had Delifrance for breakfast that day.

4. Electors’ details cost her S$3,723.60

That was the amount charged for the purchase of the electoral register, according to a payment voucher to the Accountant-General.

Elections Department rules state that candidates may buy a copy of the registers of electors and collect, use or disclose information recorded in the registers without obtaining consent under the Personal Data Protection Act, as long as it is for the purpose of communicating with electors in accordance with the relevant laws, and not for commercial or other purposes.

5. She spent less than S$0.09 per elector

There were 2,516,608 voters who qualified under the register of electors this year, so based on her total expense of S$220,875, she spent less than S$0.09 per elector. 

The public can inspect the documents from Saturday at a fee of S$2. The documents will be available for viewing for six months.

Source: CNA/ja