SINGAPORE: Last Friday (11 Aug), the Elections Department (ELD) revealed significant details about the Singapore Presidential Election. The designated Nomination Day is scheduled for 22 August, with the polling day set for 1 September.
In response to this announcement, Entrepreneur George Goh, who formally launched his presidential bid earlier this month, expressed strong confidence in obtaining his Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for participating in Singapore’s PE 2023.
In a Q&A-style video shared on his official Facebook page, George Goh addressed questions about his eligibility for the presidential bid.
He highlighted his dedicated efforts over the past six years, during which he diligently worked to increase the total shareholders’ equity of his companies to an impressive $507 million. This substantial achievement was a key factor in his submission to the ELD.
“I’m confident that I will get my COE,” he said.
“I’m truly independent, ” says George Goh
When asked about the reasons Singaporeans should consider voting for him, George Goh asserted that he is “truly independent” as he did not participate in any political parties, “and I’m not involved in any grassroots activities or advisor roles.”
He added that he did not sit in a government-linked company and no sovereign fund had ever invested in his organization.
“I made my equity throughout the 41 years, to achieve the S$507 million (total assets).”
“Because of that, I can unify all the political parties. Because I did not take side in any political parties in my history. I can bring people together, and be an unifying figure, ” Goh asserted.
Netizens voice their desire for an independent President
As George Goh’s supporters and online users engage with his post, a multitude of voices have emerged, each expressing their hopes for his eligibility to be approved by the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC).
Simultaneously, many have underscored the longstanding aspiration of Singaporeans for a truly independent president.
Concurring with Mr. Goh’s sentiments, a netizen shared his perspective, asserting that the presidency should be occupied by independent candidates rather than those with established political backgrounds.
Netizens question whether Goh would uphold his principles against external pressures or choose to assume a symbolic role
Concurrently, there were also reminders directed towards Goh, urging him to serve the citizens of Singapore with sincere dedication rather than merely occupying a seat for financial gain.
Alongside these sentiments, other individuals implored Goh to thoroughly examine the country’s reserves and a range of government policies, including issues related to vaccine injuries.
One netizen directly queried Mr Goh, inquiring about his stance on utilizing his legislative powers to prevent a proposal from progressing into law. The netizen raised the question of whether he would uphold his principles against external pressures or choose to assume a symbolic role.
George Goh earlier claims he had a group of five companies with a combined shareholders’ equity of S$1.521 billion
On 4 August, in response to media inquiries, George Goh asserted, “I have a group of five companies that have a combined shareholders’ equity of S$1.521 billion over three years.”
He further elaborated that this cumulative figure corresponds to an average annual shareholders’ equity of S$507 million for the entire consortium.
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.
Section 19(4)(a) of the Singapore Constitution states that the presidential eligibility criteria for a private candidate include a three-year tenure as a company’s chief executive. During this period, the company must have an average shareholders’ equity of at least S$500 million (US$372 million) and must be profitable.
Section 19(4)(b) which Goh is relying on for his eligibility, states that the person has to have served for a period of 3 or more years in an office in “a private sector organisation” and satisfy paragraph (a) before the Presidential Elections Committee can even consider his or her qualifications.
Notably, this criterion specifies “a private sector organisation” suggesting that multiple companies or the aggregate shareholders’ equity of several companies might not be considered for the purpose of qualification.