Featured News George Goh says he wants to be the "President of all"

George Goh says he wants to be the “President of all”

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Mr Goh said: "I want to be people's president, and I want to serve the people who (are) left behind".

SINGAPORE: Presidential aspirant George Goh told members of the media today (Aug 4) that he wants to be the “President of all”.

During the press conference, The Independent Singapore asked the Malaysian-born Singaporean: “In two sentences, can you please describe yourself and the type of president you will be?” To this, Mr Goh said: “I want to be people’s president, and I want to serve the people who (are) left behind”.

Mr Goh held a press conference after submitting his application for the Certificate of Eligibility earlier today.

Seated alongside a panel of 11 that included Straits Times editor-at-large Han Fook Kwang, hawker Hajjah Roziah Adon (Rozy), ex-convict Johnathan Tan Siang Huat, Mr Goh’s wife Lysa Goh, Paralympic athlete Jack Lai and a number of others.

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Among them are also entrepreneurs, social volunteers and young people – individuals that symbolise the “heart of Singapore” and people who Mr Goh referred to as “ordinary heroes from different segments of society, who have contributed to Singapore’s success and will continue to do so for our future progress”.

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The individuals are:

  • Matthew Fong Kum Fai, founder of flooring solutions The Mill International;
  • Jack Lai, a wheelchair basketball player and marathon racer;
  • Hajjah Roziah Adon, a hawker at Bedok Corner Food Centre;
  • Joey Foo Jye Sen, volunteer with Border Mission and business owner;
  • Alicia Cheong, who is Goh’s niece and COO and co-founder of the online learning platform Geniebook;
  • Bahri Rajib, retired Malay linguist and former president and adviser for the Malay performing arts group Sriwana;
  • Jonathan Tan Siang Huat, ex-offender and founder of The Helping Hand Landscape Cleaning Services;
  • Shureen Teh, a recent graduate from the Singapore Management University and startup founder; and
  • Dayal Khemlani, a semi-retired retailer in electronics, jewellery and textiles.
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Mr Goh was introduced briefly by Mr Han before he spoke a few words.

Mr Han said: It is important to have someone with no political associations. “it is not healthy to have this all the time; we need to get people outside of this small circle. Not many of them want to come forward unless they are endorsed by the powers that be.”

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He alluded to the David and Goliath narrative “because he (Mr Goh) has to take on big machinery”. He is doing it for Singapore, and I hope he will do well”.

Taking questions from the media, Mr Goh said:

“So today, after I submitted my papers, I am putting out some numbers to show that I am a serious candidate.”

Goh described how it is more challenging for candidates from the private sector to qualify for the presidency following the Constitution change in 2017.

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This is because candidates from the public sector “do not have to worry about profit”, he said, whereas private-sector candidates do. The bar was also raised for the latter during the Constitution change, with a minimum shareholder equity requirement of S$500 million from S$100 million.

“How about public sector? Nothing, (it) remained unchanged,” he said. “So private-sector people have to work very hard, and very few people are qualified.” /TISG


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