SINGAPORE: Businessman George Goh formally launched his presidential bid on Friday (4 Aug), submitting his eligibility forms to the Elections Department (ELD).
This move comes nearly two months after the founder of Harvey Norman Ossia declared his intention to run for the Presidency, making him the second candidate after former Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
At a press conference later in the day, Goh, 63, addressed questions surrounding his eligibility, revealing details from his summary of submission to the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC).
His supporters, hailing from diverse backgrounds, were also present to express their confidence in his candidacy.
The presidential eligibility criteria include a three-year tenure as a company’s chief executive, during which the company must have an average shareholders’ equity of at least S$500 million (US$372 million) and have been profitable.
Analysts had earlier questioned whether Goh could satisfy these requirements. However, he revealed that five companies under his leadership collectively had a shareholders’ equity of S$1.521 billion over three years, exceeding the requirement.
Goh, reluctant to disclose the names of the five companies, confirmed they had been profitable every year for the past three years, and that he had held the highest executive position in each.
He also subtly criticized fellow presidential hopeful Ng Kok Song, arguing that a Chief Investment Officer typically ranks fifth or sixth in a company’s hierarchy.
Despite Goh’s insistence, analysts and lawyers have pointed out that the constitution states that only one company is considered when calculating the qualifying shareholders’ equity.
Supporters at the press conference highlighted Goh’s down-to-earth nature and his empathetic understanding of the challenges ordinary citizens face.
Goh’s wife, Mdm Lysa Sumali, expressed full support for her husband’s presidential bid, acknowledging his deep commitment to the people.
Han Fook Kwang, former veteran newspaper editor supporting Goh’s campaign, stressed the importance of a truly independent president without political affiliations.
He commended Goh for his transparency and willingness to step forward despite not being endorsed by the establishment.
With the nomination day yet to be announced, Goh promised to share the names of his proposer, seconder, and assenters at a later date.
As per Singapore’s electoral rules, each presidential candidate’s nomination paper must be signed by a proposer, a seconder, and at least four other registered voters.
Three other prospective candidates have publicly declared their intention to run, including former presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian and former GIC Chief Investment Officer Ng Kok Song.
Of these, only former Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has unequivocally cleared the bar to run in the election via the public sector candidacy route.