By Leong Hse Hian
I refer to the article “Halimah Yacob only one to get eligibility certificate, set to be Singapore’s next President” (Straits Times, Sep 11).
It states that “Marine services firm chairman Farid Khan, 61, and property company chief executive Salleh Marican, 67, have been informed they did not qualify to contest the election.
This means Madam Halimah will be declared the country’s eighth President shortly after nominations close at noon on Wednesday.
The committee announced its decision on Monday (Sept 11), two days before Nomination Day, which falls on Sept 13.
Mr Salleh’s and Mr Farid’s bids had been uncertain because neither man helmed a company with $500 million in shareholder equity for the most recent three years, a condition set out in the Constitution following amendments passed last year.
The Elections Department said that it notified all five individuals on the outcome of their applications, and also told the rejected applicants why they did not get certificates of eligibility.
However, the names of the unsuccessful applicants or the reasons given to them will not be published, said the ELD.
This follows the Constitutional Commission’s recommendation (183 pages) that unsuccessful applicants should not be disclosed to the public.
Such public disclosure would dissuade potential applications from stepping forward to contest the elections, it said in a statement.
However, an unsuccessful applicant is free to publish the reasons given to him or her.”
I agree one hundred per cent with the Government that “the names of the unsuccessful applicants or the reasons given to them will not be published … Such public disclosure would dissuade potential applications from stepping forward to contest the elections … However, an unsuccessful applicant is free to publish the reasons given to him or her”.
Not only will keeping the names and reasons for rejection of the candidates not “dissuade potential applications from stepping forward to contest the elections” – this may encourage more candidates to contest.
So, there may hundreds of presidential applicants in the next and future elections because the embarassment of letting the public know who you are and the reasons why you are rejected may no longer be a deterrent.
After all, if you are asked why you were rejected – you could simply say “If the Government says it is “secret”, who am I not to follow?” Hahahaha
By the way, I have tried to search and read all the articles in the media to try to find this new rule of keeping the names and reasons for rejection secret.
But, I do not seem to be able to find any mention of it.
Was this new rule ever announced in the media?
If indeed this is the case – why was a new rule to encourage more candidates to come forward to contest not published widely in the media?
I believe that had this new rule been widely known – many more Malay Singaporeans may have been encouraged to come forward to apply to contest.