Mr Mohamed Salleh Marican’s declaration of his interest in running in the upcoming presidential election is not a total surprise.
As a prominent, successful Malay entrepreneur, his name is among several talked about in recent weeks as a possible presidential hopeful for the September election.
Meanwhile, two other figures seen as potential candidates – former minister Abdullah Tarmugi and Bank of Singapore chief executive officer Bahren Shaari – told The Straits Times they were not keen on standing for the election.
Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, 62, who is widely considered a front runner, did not respond to queries from The Straits Times.
Mr Mohamad Salleh, explaining his intentions, told The Straits Times in an e-mail yesterday: “I believe I have done well for myself in business and would like to step up and give back to society in a much larger way.”
When contacted, two other prominent individuals from the Malay community touted as potential candidates confirmed they were not eyeing the election.
Mr Bahren, 54, told The Straits Times in an e-mail: “I am humbled to have my name mentioned as a potential candidate for this year’s presidential election by various media. It is always a privilege and honour to serve the nation.
“At the moment, my focus is on growing the business of Bank of Singapore with my team and deriving the synergies from our recent acquisition of the wealth and investment management business of Barclays Bank PLC.”
Mr Abdullah, 72, said it is “unlikely” he will run in the election.
“I had considered contesting earlier and many had in fact encouraged me to do so. But it is unlikely that I will contest. I have my reasons,” he said, declining to elaborate.
Other names that have been mentioned include Mr Shafie Shamsuddin, 46, the chief executive officer of PT Trans Retail, which operates Carrefour supermarkets in Indonesia.
Mr Shafie, who could not be reached for comment, was named outstanding overseas chief/senior executive of the year at last year’s Singapore Business Awards.
He is the first non-Frenchman named in 2011 as an executive director of the global supermarket giant Carrefour, taking charge of talent management and organisational development.