Presidential hopeful Salleh Marican submits candidacy documents at Elections Department
Now, we wait.
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Second Chance CEO Salleh Marican is the first of two private sector hopefuls to submit his papers to stand for the Singapore Presidency.
He arrived at the Elections Department on Prinsep Link before 3:30pm on Wednesday, together with an entourage that included his wife and son-in-law Ferus Bakar, as well as supporters and friends hopeful that he will qualify to stand in the upcoming election.
This election, slated to be held next month, will be reserved for Malay candidates only, thanks to the new hiatus-triggered model passed in Parliament last year.
Just earlier Wednesday, this was confirmed after the Court of Appeal dismissed 2011 runner-up Tan Cheng Bock’s final attempt to seek declaration that naming Wee Kim Wee as the first Elected President of Singapore is unconstitutional.
Speaking to reporters gathered outside the Elections Department building on Wednesday, the 67-year-old said Singaporeans will be disappointed if there is no election, and if he doesn’t qualify.
“I’m ready, my team is ready. And I believe all Singaporeans are ready to vote. It would be good for Singapore if there is a contest. For if there is a contest, the people of Singapore will be satisfied that we have a chance to choose their next President.”
Marican’s company does not meet the minimum $500 million shareholder equity threshold for automatic qualification, but he can still seek discretionary qualification. His candidacy, therefore, hinges on the approval of the Presidential Elections Committee, which will deliberate over whether or not to grant him an eligibility certificate. But Marican is optimistic.
“I think I qualify on all the criteria, except for the S$500 million threshold. If I do not qualify, it will be because of that particular criteria. But those who do not have the S$500 million equity can still apply, the person needs to convince the PEC that he or she has the ability to manage a S$500 million company. I believe that I can easily manage a S$500 million company, because the thinking process, that evaluation, whether it’s S$250 or S$500 million is the same.”
He also needs to be certified as a member of the Malay community, as he is an Indian-Malay Muslim. But Marican believes the shareholder equity is the bigger obstacle, although he has an answer to that as well.
“I have spent more than one hundred hours to ensure I do my very best to answer all the questions. You can see the file, how many pages we put in. In the end, it depends on the Presidential Elections Committee whether I’m eligible or not. But I’m confident that I should be eligible.”
Marican was accompanied by a group of well-wishers and supporters, mainly fellow businessmen. Kulbir Singh, 55, of the Better Choice garments supplier, said that Marican had spoken to him and other friends before deciding to throw his hat in the ring.
“He is a thorough gentleman. I’ve dealt with him in business for many years and know him to be a gentleman.”
Another supporter, Kenny Yeo, 52, of Fullhouse Real Estate, said that Marican is a down-to-earth man who’s easy to associate with. He’s also confident that the Presidential Elections Committee will find him eligible to run.
“I will be surprised if he is not certified.”
The other potential private sector candidate, Farid Khan, is slated to submit his documents for candidacy on Thursday morning.
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Top photo by Angela Lim