SINGAPORE: With former Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob throwing her hat into the ring, three prospective candidates have now expressed an interest in contesting this year’s Presidential Election.
Chief executive of Second Chance Properties Mohamed Salleh Marican and chairman of Bourbon Offshore Asia Farid Khan Kaim Khan announced their intention to contest in June and July, respectively.
Following changes to the Elected Presidency, this year’s election has been reserved for candidates from the Malay community.
With the September timeline looming, Channel NewsAsia looks at what interested candidates will have to do from now until voters turn up at the polls.
The first step is to apply for is the Certificate of Eligibility. Applications for this form opened in June. Potential candidates will have to provide their details, as well as state their employment history and provide supporting documents.
For applicants from the private sector like Mr Marican and Mr Farid, they will have to show that they helmed a company with at least S$500 million in shareholders’ equity.
Mr Marican told Channel NewsAsia that his company’s shareholder’s equity amounted to S$260 million as of May this year. This means he will not qualify under this criteria. It is also unclear if Mr Farid will, although he was quoted to be confident of qualifying.
But both candidates could qualify under the “deliberative track". Under Article 19(4)(b) of the Constitution, the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) can exercise its discretion if it is satisfied that the person has served three years or more within a private sector organisation and “has experience and ability that is comparable” to that of someone who served as the chief executive of a company with a shareholders’ equity of S$500 million.
The PEC must also be satisfied that the person has the “experience and ability to effectively carry out the functions and duties of President”.
Madam Halimah meets the criteria set out for those in the public sector, having held office for three or more years as Speaker.
For the first time in a Presidential Election, interested parties will have to submit a Community Declaration form to the newly-established Community Committee. This is to certify that the prospective candidate belongs to the community for which the election has been reserved for.
The committee is made up of 16 members - a chairman and three sub-committees. The sub-committees have five members each from the Chinese, Malay and Indian or other minority communities.
Since this is a reserved election for Malay candidates, the committee will forward declarations to the Malay sub-committee. In the declaration form, prospective candidates have to prove that they identify themselves with the Malay community.
The PEC can reject a candidate’s application if he or she does not submit this declaration form.
According to reports, Madam Halimah has been certified to belong to the Malay Community, having stood in the General Election four times. She would have had to be certified as a member of her community when standing for the election in a Group Representation Constituency as a minority candidate.
Both Mr Farid and Mr Marican have collected their forms from the Elections Depatrment. Mr Farid told Channel NewsAsia he would submit his application by next Wednesday. Mr Marican said he would submit his in two weeks.
TIMELINE TO ELECTION
Parties have to submit both these applications within five days from when a writ of election for the presidency is issued. It is likely that the writ will be issued after the National Day Rally on Aug 20.
The committees will have 10 days from when the writ is issued to assess applications and inform prospective candidates on the status of their applications.
Nomination Day must be held no less than 10 days and no more than a month after the writ has been issued.