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George Goh thanks volunteers following failed Presidential Election eligibility bid

George Goh, founder of Harvey Norman Ossia, failed to secure his certificate of eligibility for the September 1 Presidential Election after the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) said that managing multiple smaller enterprises does not equate to the experience gained from steering a single prominent private-sector company.

Despite this setback, he took to Facebook to thank the countless volunteers supporting his campaign, underscoring his deep appreciation for their unwavering commitment.



SINGAPORE: George Goh, founder of Harvey Norman Ossia, expressed heartfelt appreciation to his volunteers on Monday after failing to secure his certificate of eligibility for the upcoming Presidential Election slated for 1 September.

Taking to Facebook, Mr Goh shared his gratitude, saying, “I want to extend my deepest thanks to every Singaporean who signed up as volunteers for my campaign. Every single one of you willingly offered your time and effort, and for that, I will always be grateful.”

His sentiments come on the heels of the Elections Department (ELD) announcement on Friday (Aug 18), revealing that Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Ng Kok Song, and Tan Kin Lian are the eligible candidates. Regrettably, Mr Goh’s bid to join the Presidential race was unsuccessful.

In Singapore, acquiring a certificate of eligibility is pivotal for presidential candidates. It signifies that they possess integrity, a good reputation, and meet the necessary service requirements either from the public or private sectors.

However, the journey to the coveted seat is stringent. Candidates must provide various documents, including the certificate of eligibility, on Nomination Day (Aug 22).

In an event where multiple candidates are nominated, the public will cast their votes on September 1, a day that will be observed as a public holiday.

Under Singapore’s Constitution, private sector presidential hopefuls should have helmed a company for a minimum of three years. This company should consistently be profitable with an average shareholders’ equity of at least S$500 million.

Mr Goh, hopeful about his candidacy, applied under section 19(4)(b)(2) of the Constitution. He quoted the leadership of five companies with an impressive S$1.521 billion cumulative shareholders’ equity.

However, tensions rose when Mr Goh’s team alleged that the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) adopted a limited view of these requirements without sharing the underlying logic.

In response to the mounting controversy, the PEC released their letter addressed to Mr Goh explaining their reasons for the rejection.

They stressed that managing multiple smaller enterprises does not equate to the experience gained from steering a single prominent private-sector company. The PEC concluded that Mr Goh’s companies did not fit this criterion.

Although the Election Department’s policy is to maintain discretion on rejection reasons, they clarified that candidates could choose to disclose the Committee’s reasoning to the public. This practice aims to protect candidates from the apprehension of potential humiliation.

Reacting to the PEC’s decision, a dejected Mr Goh previously stated, “it is a very sad day.”

However, he holds no regrets and remains confident in his qualifications, especially with the support of a prominent advisory group.

He defiantly challenged the PEC’s decision, noting, “Are you saying they’re all wrong? They’re all from the system. I cannot accept the decision given by them.”

Sign up: Volunteer as a counting/polling agent in the upcoming 2023 Presidential Election on 1 Sept

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Good try GG, but unfortunately you drew your joker card too early in the game and the dealer felt the threat you’d win the game. You should have kept the ‘Accountability’ card for your win and then they have to face the music. You went guns blazing before you even got into office which scared the holier than thou movement so it was obvious they had to pull the plug on you in the early part of the game before you got too much support. The MIW’s MO is to operate on a platform where they call the shots and… Read more »

Since he is CEO of five profit-making companies and is very rich himself, perhaps he can take out $2 million from his wealth and gift them to the volunteers for their efforts. Unless that violates any laws. A gift is not taxable.

George Goh : Time for you to form your own party. I will vote for you.