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Presidential Elections Committee refutes George Goh’s claims regarding eligibility rationale

Singapore’s Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) rebuts George Goh’s eligibility claim. The sole bidder, among four, denied a certificate, Goh criticized the PEC for their “narrow interpretation”. The committee maintains that Goh’s combined experience from multiple companies doesn’t match managing a single large entity as required by the constitution.



SINGAPORE: In a recent turn of events surrounding the upcoming presidential elections, the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) has countered businessman George Goh’s claims regarding the rationale behind his eligibility rejection.

“On Friday (18 Aug), amid rising media attention, the committee emphasized its stance on the decision regarding Mr Goh’s application for a Certificate of Eligibility, which is required for a candidate to run for the presidency.

Goh, the founder of Harvey Norman Ossia, stood out as the only aspirant among the four public bidders for the Singapore presidency who did not receive the said certificate.

The three other candidates who got their COEs include Ng Kok Song, former GIC chief investment officer; Tan Kin Lian, ex-NTUC Income chief executive; and ex-Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

In a statement released by Mr Goh’s media team earlier on Friday, it was alleged that the PEC adopted “a very narrow interpretation of the requirements without explaining the rationale behind its decision.”

In detail, the statement from Goh’s team argued that the PEC dismissed a “very strong case” that illustrated Mr Goh’s vast experience in managing five companies, all of which purportedly fulfilled the shareholders’ equity and profitability benchmarks.

According to Singapore’s Constitution, presidential candidates from the private sector must have a minimum of three years of experience as the CEO of a company.

This company must have maintained an average shareholders’ equity of at least S$500 million and consistently turned a profit.

Mr Goh had applied for eligibility via the private sector “deliberative track”, specifically under section 19(4)(b)(2) of the Singapore constitution, citing five companies he spearheaded over three years, with a claimed cumulative shareholders’ equity of S$1.521 billion.

However, some analysts have previously voiced uncertainty regarding whether an applicant can amalgamate the average shareholder equity from various companies to meet the outlined criterion.

The ambiguity arises from the Singapore Constitution‘s reference to “a private sector organisation”, as opposed to multiple “private sector organisations”.

Notably, before the 2016 revisions, the PEC could have had the discretion to evaluate Mr Goh’s application as it did for Mr Tan Jee Say in the 2011 Presidential Election. But in its current phrasing, the PEC is bound by the definitions within the constitution.

In a bid to address the controversy head-on, the PEC, in a media release on Friday night, announced its decision to publicize its letter to Mr Goh.

This letter would shed light on its rationale for denying him the certificate of eligibility.

In the release, the PEC emphasized that the Constitution mandates the committee to gauge whether an applicant has derived experience and capability from directing a single, prominent private sector entity.

“The experience and ability that comes from managing multiple smaller private sector organisations is not equivalent to this,” stated the PEC.

The committee’s evaluation determined that the five companies presented by Mr Goh did not qualify as “a single private sector organisation”.

While the Elections Department made it clear on Friday morning that reasons for any rejections wouldn’t be disclosed publicly, following the 2016 Constitutional Commission’s guidelines, it did note that unsuccessful contenders, like Mr Goh, could access the Committee’s reasoning and subsequently opt for disclosure.

The rationale behind this practice is to prevent potential contenders from being deterred due to a potential “fear of embarrassment”.

Reacting to the PEC’s verdict, a disheartened Mr Goh remarked, “it is a very sad day.”

Nevertheless, he expressed no remorse over his decision to participate. Mr Goh also mentioned an advisory group comprising “top people in Singapore” that had bolstered his confidence in qualifying.

Challenging the PEC’s decision during a press conference at his residence, he said, “Are you saying they’re all wrong? Cannot be. They’re all from the system. I cannot accept the decision given by them. I personally think it’s not a fair decision.”

PEC statement_18 Aug 2023

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ForeSEE GGoh will join PSP in the coming GE.

Running a big company or a number of small companies amounting to $million as compared to one being charged in court and fine $1500? Which one is more serious? What do you think?

GG : Don’t give up. Its a Sad day for Singapore indeed. !!

What a joke !!!

If Donald Duck tells you he have 100 companies, he is worth a multi billionaire, so we tell Donald Duck he is only worth $100 million based on one company ? HAHAHAHAHA !!!

Vote wisely. Now you have no choice to vote. Vote TKL !!!!! No Pappy President Please !!!

George Goh should take up the issue with his financial advisors as to why a person is fined for $!500 is eligible to be Presidential candidate? What do you think?

George Goh had six years and yet failed the basics…He could have put all companies under one Corporation but manage them as Divisions. He would have met the criteria. He was not rejected due to being of poor character. Just one critiera…the financial benchmark.

Next step, given his popularity is to enter Parliament and contribute in Parliament. Serve the nation and need not be the President.

So, it’s pretty straightforward issit not.

If your heart beats to the pap rhythm, … it’ll be Tharman all day, and we’ll just have a continuation, … of all things pap !!!

If your heart has trouble beating, owing to the stress of the rising cost of living, securing a job and struggling to even subsist, … then it’s gotta be TKL.

Not much else left to lose, that’s not already lost, … is there ?!!!

The establishment told my dad the Reserves was for his son’s generation during rainy days. The establishment tells me the Reserves is for children’s generation during their rainy days. The establishment will most like tell my children the Reserves is for my grandchildren’s generation for their rainy days. In the meantime, the establishment does not bat an eyelid when our reserves loses $70 odd billions recently. They will cite the fact that every investment has risk. Investing in the country and its people, is also an investment. Perhaps the people who manage the Reserves gets remunerated by a percentage of… Read more »

Just a simple PE already so many wayang, roadblocks, restrictions on campaigning, limiting to Ownself desired candidates, kelong this and that, etc. Can’t wait to see how more messy the GE2024/25 will be. Can Kayu Son claw back the people’s trust and get at least 86++% votes to show that he is better than Daddy?

Only Tharman is worthy

Challenging the PEC’s decision during a press conference at his residence, he said, “Are you saying they’re all wrong? Cannot be. They’re all from the system. I cannot accept the decision given by them. I personally think it’s not a fair decision.”

Then file a legal challenge. After all, the people backing & advising you that gave you confidence to launch were from the “system”… and you would have set aside a few hundred thousand dollars if not a million or 2.

Keep the dream alive. File a legal challenge.. 6 years to wait for a hearing ..

My concern for TKL is something I hope he don’t take it negatively but productively.

He said he not being cocky but is confident of winning. This kind of statement is not wise.

I suspect even among oppo camp, some may spoil votes than vote him for some reason of preference.

So, he need to learn fast or lose again. But as long as we try our best to cut down TM win margin, they also malu.

Everything is communicated using ART called language which by its dna allows Multiple Interpretations which is a Loophole for lawyers and politicians to roti prata

so… The committee’s evaluation determined that the five companies presented by Mr Goh did not qualify as “a single private sector organisation”.

that mean 1.5 bil divide by 5 = 300 mil avg per company, so not enough? sad did NTUC even have 500 mil stock, or turn profits every single year? yes i am making fun of the Sudoku man.