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George Goh will not step back if both he and Tan Kin Lian qualify for the upcoming Presidential Election

George Goh recently stated to the media that he has no agreement with co-presidential hopeful Tan Kin Lian to step down if both non-establishment candidates qualify for the Presidential Election.



SINGAPORE: Businessman George Goh, in a recent press interaction, denied having any agreement with co-presidential hopeful Tan Kin Lian to step down in case both qualify for the Presidential Election.

During Tan’s campaign launch last Friday, he highlighted the importance for Singaporeans to have a chance to vote for an “independent candidate.”

He suggested that if both he and Goh qualify, discussions would be held to decide who might withdraw in favour of the other non-establishment candidate.

Tan, former NTUC Income CEO and 2011 presidential candidate had previously stated that he would wait for the PEC’s final decision on the approved candidate slate before submitting his nomination paper, citing concerns over Goh’s potential eligibility.

At the press conference, Tan reiterated his doubts about Goh’s qualifications and underscored his position as someone from “outside the establishment”.

However, Goh responded in response to media queries on Monday saying, “I don’t think this should be the way.” Clarifying after a dialogue at Bisoux cafe, Goh said every aspiring candidate “must be genuine”, adding, “If you decide to come forward, people will know you genuinely want to serve the nation.”

Questions loom around Goh’s eligibility due to his association with Harvey Norman Ossia. Yet, Goh remains confident, stating that his consortium of five companies – which remains undisclosed – boasts a combined shareholders’ equity of S$1.521 billion over the past three years.

Amid the discussions, former Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and former GIC chief investment officer Ng Kok Song also expressed their interest in the Presidential race.

Ng raised concerns on Sunday about both Goh’s and Tan’s ability to safeguard Singapore’s reserves. Responding to this, Goh cited his extensive international entrepreneurial ventures, dealing with “billions of dollars”, as evidence of his competence.

During his campaign speech, Goh accentuated the distinctive financial perspective of private sector entrepreneurs. “For us, every single cent is precious, and wastage is not an option,” he noted.

Launching his campaign platform “One chance for change”, Goh detailed his vision for an “open and inclusive presidency”. He promised an annual report card detailing his presidential activities. Furthermore, leveraging his business background, Goh pledged to raise S$1 billion for lesser-known welfare organizations.

On preparations for the upcoming election, Goh expressed his proactive approach, emphasizing the need for early preparations rather than waiting for the Certificate of Eligibility from the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC).

Goh continually emphasized his lack of political affiliations as a unique strength. “I don’t have to worry about baggage… I will make decisions that are right for the country,” he asserted.

Interestingly, the eligibility criteria based on Section 19(4)(a) and 19(4)(b) of the Singapore Constitution might pose challenges for Goh, as it suggests that the aggregate shareholders’ equity of multiple companies might not be considered for qualification.

The deadline for obtaining the Certificate of Eligibility is on 17 August, with Nomination Day scheduled for 22 August. If more than one candidate qualifies, Singaporeans will cast their votes on 1 September.

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Mr KiaSu is confident Both Must Qualify to split votes and even activated KoK to the fray.