Whether he qualifies as a candidate in the upcoming Presidential Election is based on the discretion of the Presidential Electoral Committee (PEC), but Mr Mohamed Salleh Marican has already gone about recruiting people for his campaign.
The 62-year-old chief executive officer of Second Chance Properties told TODAY that he has assembled three out of 10 people for his campaign team, and he aims to complete the search by the end of the month.
He now has a campaign manager, a communications in-charge, and an election agent, who will be his brother, Mr Mohamed Hasan Marican, who is deputy CEO at Second Chance, an investment holding firm that also retails garments.
The September election is reserved for the Malay community, and has a tightened criteria for candidacy.
For example, those contesting, who have private-sector experience, must have a company with at least S$500 million shareholder equity.
Mr Salleh does not automatically qualify, because his company’s shareholder equity registered between S$254.3 million and S$263.25 million over the last three financial years.
Collecting the application forms Monday morning (June 5), Mr Salleh said that he is “optimistic” that he can convince the PEC he is a deserving candidate, adding that he “can’t be worried if he will fail” before he starts.
He also said that he was moved to run for presidency by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who, at an Association of Muslim Professionals event last November, expressed hope that candidates would step forward and contest.
“I was moved by (Mr Lee’s) speech, and that triggered my intentions,” Mr Salleh said.
“After that, my friends, business associates, suppliers and even some of my employees urged me to step forward and serve the nation (because) this is a noble cause. (With) 100-per-cent support from my family members, I made a decision to contest.”
The entrepreneur, who set up the first company owned by a Malay to be listed on the Singapore Exchange, sees this as a way “to do good”, to give back to society, and as a challenge to see “how much better I can do compared with other presidents”.
Mr Salleh singled out Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob as a formidable contender should she contest, as she is “very popular” and someone who “takes her responsibilities very seriously”.
Applications for Singapore’s first reserved Presidential Election opened on June 1, and at least two presidential hopefuls had been seen collecting forms from the Elections Department.
The writ of election is expected to be issued in late August, ahead of the September polls.