SINGAPORE: George Goh, the founder of Harvey Norman Ossia, took to his Facebook page to thank the public for supporting his team’s charity sale.
Mr Goh, who could not participate in the upcoming Presidential Election slated for 1 September, decided to sell his and his team’s surplus campaign items and donate all profits.
On 23 August afternoon, he announced via Facebook that he and his team would make their Presidential campaign items available at a charity sale on the coming weekend, 26 and 27 August, from 10 am to 4 pm.
Every income generated from the sale will be allocated to Secondmeal, a non-profit organization that is devoted to providing meals to those who lack access to them.
According to his recent Facebook post, which he uploaded on 27 August, Mr Goh and his team managed to raise a total of S$8606.61, which will sponsor 2150 meals for those in need.
“It has been so wonderful meeting each one of you and hearing each of your stories.
You have made a difference with your support today!” Mr Goh said in his post.
He also extended his gratitude to Casper from Secondmeal, who was present on both days of the charity sale.
Mr Goh also shared a link for those who would like to support Secondmeal in his post.
He was also present on both days of the charity sale at around 2-4pm, which took place at 118 Joo Chiat Road, S (427407), #02-03.
George Goh had previously expressed his dissatisfaction regarding PEC’s rejection for presidential candidacy
On 18 August, The Elections Department (ELD) revealed the list of qualified candidates for the upcoming Presidential Election.
Former Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, ex-GIC Chief Investment Officer Ng Kok Song, and former presidential aspirant Tan Kin Lian have successfully secured their positions on the list.
Unfortunately, businessman George Goh did not obtain a Certificate of Eligibility, as he did not meet the requirements during the application process.
In a statement, Goh expressed his disappointment, saying, “I am deeply disheartened by the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC)’s decision to reject my application for a certificate of eligibility.”
“My team and I put forth a compelling case detailing my expertise and achievements in managing five firms that met the equity and profitability benchmarks. Yet, the PEC dismissed our argument, suggesting that my experience did not equate to that of a CEO of a single enterprise.”
Addressing the press regarding the PEC’s decision, Goh commented that it was “a very sad day,” but he harbored no regrets about entering the fray.
He mentioned that he had a cadre of advisors, comprising some of “Singapore’s top professionals”, bolstering his confidence in his qualifications.
“Are you implying they were mistaken? That seems improbable. They all come from within the system,” he argued during a press conference at his residence on Friday afternoon. “I cannot reconcile with their decision. I genuinely believe it lacks fairness.”
George Goh’s claims regarding eligibility rationale refuted by PEC
As per Singapore’s Constitution, individuals running for the presidency from the private sector must have a minimum of three years’ experience as a CEO in a company.
This company should have consistently maintained an average shareholders’ equity of at least S$500 million and sustained profitability.
Mr Goh had pursued eligibility through the private sector’s “deliberative track,” specifically referring to section 19(4)(b)(2) of the Singapore Constitution.
He pointed out five companies he had led for over three years, collectively claiming a shareholders’ equity of S$1.521 billion.
However, certain analysts had previously raised doubts about the legitimacy of combining average shareholder equity from multiple companies to meet the stipulated criterion.
This uncertainty arises from the phrasing in the Singapore Constitution, which refers to “a private sector organisation” rather than multiple such organizations.
Notably, prior to the 2016 revisions, the PEC might have had the authority to assess Mr. Goh’s application similarly to how it did for Mr Tan Jee Say in the 2011 Presidential Election.
Yet, in its current formulation, the PEC is bound by the definitions laid out in the constitution.
In an effort to directly address the controversy, the PEC released a media statement on Friday (18 Aug) night.
The statement announced the committee’s intention to publish its letter sent to Mr Goh.
This letter would elucidate the reasoning behind the denial of his certificate of eligibility.
Within the statement, the PEC highlighted that the Constitution tasks the committee with evaluating whether an applicant has gained experience and competence from overseeing a single, prominent private sector entity.
PEC clarified, “The experience and ability that comes from managing multiple smaller private sector organisations is not equivalent to this.”
Based on its assessment, the committee concluded that the five companies Mr Goh presented did not meet the criteria of “a single private sector organisation.”
While the Elections Department had initially indicated on Friday morning that the reasons for rejections would not be publicly disclosed, following the 2016 Constitutional Commission’s guidelines, it did note that unsuccessful candidates like Mr Goh could access the Committee’s reasoning and subsequently choose to have it disclosed.
This practice aims to prevent potential candidates from being discouraged due to a possible “fear of embarrassment.”