By Tan Jian Zhong
SINGAPORE, Sept 11 (Campus Eye) – Former Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob is set to become Singapore’s next president after the Elections Department announced on Monday that only one Certificate of Eligibility was issued.
Although its press release did not name who was given the certificate, Halimah met the media outside the Elections Department office shortly after the announcement was made.
“I promise to do the best as I can to serve the people of Singapore … I would like Singaporeans to work with me, so that we can work together for a united Singapore,” said Halimah, 63, outside the Elections Department building after receiving her certificates.
Aiming to strengthen a sense of inclusivity, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in last November that the 2017 presidential election would be reserved for members of the Malay community.
Laws governing presidential elections were amended and applicants would have to obtain the Certificate of Eligibility from the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) and a Certificate of Community from the Community Committee (CC) to run.
This constitutional amendment is based on the hiatus-triggered model.
Under the model, the next election will be reserved for applicants from a racial community that had not been represented in the presidential office for five consecutive terms. Given that the last Malay president of Singapore was Yusof Ishak (term of office 1965-1970), this meant that the 2017 election would be reserved for the Malay community.
Among five applicants who applied for the Certificate of Eligibility, two declared they did not belong to the Malay community and were rejected.
The remaining three applicants received the Certificate of Community from the CC, but only one – Halimah – received the Certificate of Eligibility from the PEC. This means the presidential election is headed for a walkover with only one eligible candidate.
Both Farid Khan and Salleh Marican’s applications were rejected because they did not fulfil the private sector service requirement of helming a company with at least $500 million shareholders’ equity.