Saturday, 22 July 2017

Presidential Election 2017: What makes a person Malay?

According a Geomancy Master, The Presidential Election polling day on Sep 23 is a special day:
  • 2 +3 = 5
  • 5 in Thai is "Ha" and in Malay is "Lima"
  • So, it is "Halima"
Hence "5 5 5" in Thai is "Ha Ha Ha"

A doctor’s prescription on ‘who is a Malay’ could settle Halimah’s Malay credentials
To be a Malay, said Mahathir, is no more an ethnic thing as today it is more of a legal matter

Who is a Malay? The debate is still raging in Singapore with many disputing the Malay credentials of the PAP’s Presidential election’s candidate.

But a doctor’s prescription on who is a Malay in Malaysia could save Halimah Yacob the day in the court of the social-media haranguers.

The book A Doctor In The House could eventually settle the issue of ‘who is a Malay’ and could endorse Halimah’s Malay credentials

read more


The following Act was passed by Parliament on 9 November 2016 and assented to by the President on 21 December 2016 : New Article 19B

(6) In this Article —
“community” means —
  • (a) the Chinese community;
  • (b) the Malay community; or
  • (c) the Indian or other minority communities;
“person belonging to the Chinese community” means any person who considers himself to be a member of the Chinese community and who is generally accepted as a member of the Chinese community by that community;

“person belonging to the Malay community” means any person, whether of the Malay race or otherwise, who considers himself to be a member of the Malay community and who is generally accepted as a member of the Malay community by that community;

“person belonging to the Indian or other minority communities” means any person of Indian origin who considers himself to be a member of the Indian community and who is generally accepted as a member of the Indian community by that community, or any person who belongs to any minority community other than the Malay or Indian community;

PE 2017: What makes a person Malay?

GIVEN that the coming Presidential Election in September is reserved for the Malay community, some people have raised questions about the Malayness of potential candidates Mr Farid Khan and Mr Salleh Marican. Mr Farid for his Pakistani heritage, and Mr Salleh for not being able to speak clearly in the Malay language on video.

Under article 19B of the Constitution, which was passed by Parliament on Nov 9 last year, a Malay person is a “person belonging to the Malay community”, not necessarily of Malay ethnic stock. This definition is “inclusive in nature”, said a former Member of Parliament Mr Othman Haron Eusofe, reported TODAY (July 16). A Community Committee will assess if a candidate can be considered to be Malay.

Malay self-help group Yayasan Mendaki however has its own definition of what Malay means, reported TODAY. Recipients of its financial assistance schemes “must be of Malay descent”, and have this stated clearly on their identity cards.

related: Farid Khan navigates Malay waters

What makes one Malay?

So what makes a Malay candidate? This year’s presidential election is reserved for “person(s) belonging to the Malay community. According to Article 19B of the Singapore Constitution, which deals with reserved elections for communities that have not held the office of President for five or more consecutive terms, this means “any person, whether of the Malay race or otherwise, who considers himself to be a member of the Malay community and who is generally accepted as a member of the Malay community by that community”.

By that definition, both Farid and Salleh would qualify to run. Both candidates still have to be assessed by a five-member panel, a sub-committee of the Community Committee, which will determine if prospective candidates belong to the Malay community. But judging by the reactions I have seen on the ground, official – and often arbitrary – definitions do not quite answer complicated questions of race and identity.

It is worth noting that there are many politicians of mixed heritage representing the Malay community, such as Speaker Halimah Yaacob (Indian/Malay parents), who is widely considered to be a strong presidential contender should she run. The likes of Minister for Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim and Members of Parliament Faishal Ibrahim and Fatimah Lateef also have Indian heritage. As far as I know, this is not an issue for the Malay community. Perhaps it is down to the fact that this presidential election is reserved specifically for Malays that definitions and labels become ever more important. Hopefully, it does not become a divisive issue.

Law expert Kevin Tan says the S’pore Constitution’s definition of ‘Malay’ is anomalous

Every time the late President S R Nathan met law professor Kevin Tan, he would always tell people, “Ah this man said I wasn’t properly elected”.

Then one day, Tan got “a bit fed-up” and told Nathan, “Sir, Sir, I never said you were not properly elected, I only said you were not elected.”

Tan, a well-known constitutional law expert, recounted this lighthearted exchange to roaring laughter from more than 300 participants attending the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Forum on The Reserved Presidential Election on Sept. 8. Speaking at the second session of the forum, Tan raised a few thought-provoking points about the upcoming reserved Presidential Election that we should all think about.
  • The definition of race in the Constitution is “tautologous”
  • The definition of “Malay” in the Constitution is anomalous
  • More stringent criteria will result in less minority candidates coming forward
  • Having a contest is important for legitimacy

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PE2017: Unintended consequences for the Malay community

I WAS dismayed to hear on Monday (Sept 4) that only three Malay presidential aspirants had applied for the Certificate of Eligibility to run for PE2017. (Yes, there were another two, both Chinese, and who have made past appearances, presumably to gain some limelight.)

Of the three, Mr Farid Khan, Mr Salleh Marican, and Madam Halimah Yacob, only former Speaker of Parliament Madam Halimah qualifies automatically. The other two aspirants are from the private sector and fall short of the $500 million shareholder equity required.

I held onto the slim chance that a highly qualified aspirant had quietly submitted his or her name. That the Malay community had managed to persuade or cajole a prominent member to throw his hat in the ring. Otherwise it would seem as if there aren’t many qualified people within the community, or that the successful Malays are not interested in stepping up to serve. Either way it looks bad.

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Dearth of candidates in presidential race a worrying sign

The Malay community in Singapore should stop bickering about the “Malayness” of the three potential candidates for September’s presidential election.

What is of greater concern is that despite the election being reserved for Malay candidates, only two – Salleh Marican and Farid Khan – have stepped forward to announce their intentions to run. The third, Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, has only hinted that she is looking to run for the nation’s highest office.

The fact that only two individuals from the private sector have announced their intentions is indeed worrying for the Malay community. Could this be seen as the Malay community being incapable of producing enough potential leaders to serve our country?

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Mr Zainal Sapari is now facing the blunt end of questions directed at him by angry netizens after he shared his views on Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob’s Malayness and his views on having an Indian Muslim contest as a Malay candidate in the upcoming reserved elections.

Mr Zainal Sapari shared a Yahoo News article on his Facebook on 14 July, which stated that Article 19B of the Singapore Constitution now allows “any person, whether of the Malay race or otherwise, who considers himself to be a member of the Malay community and who is general accepted as a member of the Malay community by that community” to run for the upcoming reserved presidential election.

Mr Zainal also appears to subscribe to that definition, which he repeated in his Facebook caption.

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Zainal Bin Sapari 14 July at 04:12 · Singapore

What constitute a Malay person? - “any person, whether of the Malay race or otherwise, who considers himself to be a member of the Malay community and who is generally accepted as a member of the Malay community by that community”.

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A netizen shared this conversation with his son:
  • Son: “Papa, why are some jobs and roles in Singapore defined by the skin colour or race?”
  • Me: “What do you mean?”
  • Son: “Singapore going have a new president right?”
  • Me: “(In my mind oh Sh*t….how to explain) I’m not sure what you trying to say, son”
  • Son: What does “I’ve been certified four times by the Community Committee as a member of the Malay community” means?
  • Me: ehhhhhhhhh.
  • Son: “Then why gor gor army camp only has Chinese and Indian.”
  • Me: “When you grow up you will understand”
How to answer? Am I suppose to tell my him President election is reserved to Malays yet the person is not even a Malay. “I’ve been certified four times by the Community Committee as a member of the Malay community”. I didn’t know race can be certified? How to explain? If i explain this he will start asking me how to get certified. (My son used to said he wants to become president)

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Reserved Election is a Can of Worms

So, we’re having a hiatus-triggered-reserved-election for the Malay community because we didn’t have any Malay President elected into office in the previous five elections leading up to the current presidential elections. How nice!

But, we’re not sure who was our first elected president – Was it Wee Kim Wee or Ong Teng Cheong? If the parliament says it’s Wee Kim Wee, then it is Wee Kim Wee. What you and I think, doesn’t really matter! The real bone of contention, in some circles, is about the Malayness of the potential candidates. It seems odd that that three of the four candidates that have stepped forward are of mixed heritage and not ethnically Malay. This is hotly debated and discussed in social media.

I only learnt this a few days ago that the colonial government introduced the Malay Land Reservation Enactment in 1913 and needed a definition for “Malay.” A Malay is anyone who speaks the Malay language, follows the Malay customs and is a Muslim.

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Definition of a “Malay person” opens up a can of worms about Mendaki and apparent double standards

Member of Parliament from People's Action Party, Mr Zainal Bin Sapari opened a can of worms about Mendaki when he made a Facebook post about the definition of what constitutes a Malay person with citizens voicing the treatment that they got from the Yayasan MENDAKI in their request for financial assistance.

With anecdotes of double standards when comes to approval of financial aid, netizens raise questions of whether the government is shifting the goalpost or definition of race to suit their purpose, and whether it is in anyway unfavourable to the country's progress for the government to be playing the race card for political means. Earlier on 14 July, Mr Zainal shared a link from Yahoo News which touched about the issue of race surrounding the upcoming Presidential Election which will be a reserved election for the Malay community.

In the post, the Yahoo author highlighted that this year’s presidential election is reserved for “person(s) belonging to the Malay community. According to Article 19B of the Singapore Constitution, which deals with reserved elections for communities that have not held the office of President for five or more consecutive terms, this means “any person, whether of the Malay race or otherwise, who considers himself to be a member of the Malay community and who is generally accepted as a member of the Malay community by that community”. This was further emphasised by Mr Zainal by repeating it as caption on his Facebook share.

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Sorry, Malays Only

Adding to the confusing issue of “Malayness” and the Presidential Election, a mother, Zarina Jafar, has accused Malay/Muslim help group Mendaki of refusing to lend financial assistance to Indian Muslims.

Giving the example of her daughter, Zarina called Mendaki a hypocritical organisation. She said that while denying financial aid to needy Indian Muslim children to pay for their education, the organisation is more than happy to call them back and present them with awards to claim credit for their success. This is what Zarina had to say about her situation:
  • “I’M INDIAN MUSLIM AND THAT DEFINES MY TRAIL OF THOUGHTS! The upcoming PE has definitely once again throw the spotlight on Malays and Indian Muslims. In Singapore context, Indian Muslims have always been the sandwich race. We are sandwich between our Malay living lifestyle and our identity. Mendaki double standard is not helping in this matter.
  • Malay and Muslim are used interchangeably in Singapore context as and when they feel the need for it (Senang cakap ikut suka hati mak bapak dorang lah). I give you a true point in case. Most of my Indian Muslims relatives contributed to both Mendaki and Sinda. When their children applied for the bursary or financial assistance, the favorite quote would be ‘sorry, Mendaki are for Malays. You can try applying to Sinda.”
  • But lo and behold, when any of this INDIAN MUSLIMS did well, suddenly they will be invited to Mendaki for whatever not ceremony to pose for pictures with you know who and claim their success under MENDAKI MALAY / MUSLIM banner. And Sinda never does that before. It’s very confusing tau for us! it leads to our own IDENTITY CRISIS…..Sad right?…..

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Reserved presidential election casts spotlight on ‘Malayness’
Presidential hopeful Farid Khan Kaim Khan, whose race is indicated as “Pakistani” on his identity card, had to fend questions about his “Malayness” when he announced his intention to run for president. TODAY file photo

The issue of whether a presidential hopeful is “Malay enough” to contest in the coming presidential election reserved for Malays has come into sharp focus in recent weeks.

While the topic has stirred much public discussion, Malay community leaders whom TODAY spoke to felt that the definition for the purpose of the election should be inclusive & not too narrow, given Singapore’s multi-racialism and multi-culturalism. “Even though the person may not be 100% Malay but practises its culture, mixes with members of the community & so on, should the person be considered a Malay? Or you want to say, no, & then divide the community further?” said Mr Othman Haron Eusofe, a former Member of Parliament.

Political analysts also felt that voters should not be overly-fixated with a candidate’s ethnicity – albeit being an election reserved for a particular race – as it would “detract from the raison d’être of the elected presidency and of the elected president as a symbol of our multiracialism”, as Singapore Management University law don Eugene Tan put it.

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PM Lee hopes next President will be ‘as well-loved’ as Yusof Ishak
PM Lee hopes next President will be ‘as well-loved’ as Yusof Ishak
PM Lee Hsien Loong and Puan Noor Aishah at the book launch of "Puan Noor Aishah-Singapore's First Lady", at The Arts House, on Jul 18, 2017. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong expressed hopes on Tuesday (Jul 18) that Singapore’s next President would bring “as much distinction and honour to the office” as its first — the late Yusof Ishak.

Launching a book on Mr Yusof’s widow, Mdm Noor Aishah Mohammad Salim, 84, Mr Lee said Mr Yusof — who died in office in 1970 at the age of 60 — played an important part creating Singapore, but did not live to see its development and transformation.

“But Puan Noor Aishah has witnessed how Singapore, after its tentative beginnings as a nation, has prospered over the last 50 years,” he said. “She celebrated SG50 with us & she should soon see Singapore have another Malay President, if all goes well. I hope it will be a President who will bring as much distinction & honour to the office & will be as well-loved & remembered by Singaporeans as Encik Yusof Ishak”.

Am I Malay enough to be the next President?
Presidential hopeful Farid Khan, who announced his run for office on 12 July. PHOTO: Nicholas Yong

I enjoy my nasi lemak and I aced my Malay language examinations at PSLE, ‘O’ and A levels. I look just like the average Malay man. I celebrate Hari Raya Puasa. I even wrote for Singapore’s only Malay newspaper for four years. But for all that, in the eyes of many in the community, I am still not Malay enough.

Just like presidential hopeful Farid Khan, my identity card states that I am Pakistani. You see, my late paternal grandfather came from Pakistan and married a local woman. My father, who looks slightly more Pakistani than me, followed in his father’s footsteps and married a Javanese woman.

If I were to throw my hat in the ring for this year’s presidential election, which is reserved for Malays, that would be the biggest obstacle. Aside from the fact that I have never managed a company worth $500 million and I am only 39, whereas a presidential candidate must be at least 45 years of age.

Excuse me, are you Chinese, Malay, Indian or none of the above?

WHAT if someone who doesn’t look Malay and speaks bad Malay, but Malay is clearly stated on his or her identity card and both parents are Malay, wants to stand in a presidential election reserved for Malays? What if he or she doesn’t belong to the Sunni majority? What if he or she is married to a non-Malay who doesn’t practise Islam?

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Chan Chun Sing, talks about taking an “inclusive approach” in the presidential election. By that, he means that the Community Committee screening candidates will probably be more indulgent towards those who declare their affiliations to a community.
“By adopting an inclusive approach, we are allowing more people to be identified with a certain community. Our approach is quite different from the approach suggested by some other members who want to be even more clearly defined as to who forms what community,” he said."
By that, he means that the Community Committee screening candidates will probably be more indulgent towards those who declare their affiliations to a community. Nicely said but the G cannot suppress more visceral, even primitive, feelings from surfacing just on its say-so. You can just imagine what voters will say, especially now that there will be a photograph of the candidate on ballot slips: “But he doesn’t look like a Malay!” Or what television viewers well-versed in the language will say about his vocal skills when he goes on television to make his pitch.

Reserving The Next Presidential Election For Malay Candidates – What 15 Singaporeans Think
Singapore’s next presidential election will be reserved for Malay candidates

Our last Malay president was also our first — Yusof Ishak, whose presidency was from 1965 to 1970, more than 46 years ago.

The changes to the constitution call for a reserved election for a particular racial group if no one from that group has been president for five continuous terms. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that this is so every citizen shall “know that someone of his community can become president, and in fact from time to time, does become president”. These changes have caused a stir among Singaporeans, and many have formed an opinion on the reserved election. They are either indignant — thinking the change serves as a form of tokenism to the Malay community; or buoyant — thrilled that someone of a minority race is taking up the role of President.

Some remain indifferent, saying that as long as that the new president is good at his/her job, race or religion doesn’t make a difference to them. Here’s what some have to say, taken from Reddit and Quora.
  • Opposed
  • Supportive
  • Mixed reactions

This September, Singapore will vote for a Malay president

In case you missed it, the Presidential Election will be held this September. Also, reminder: it will be reserved for Malay candidates. (Sorry, Tan Cheng Bock.) The proposed changes to the Presidential Elections Act were passed on Monday, with only the WP MPs opposing the Bill. Oh, and Kok Heng Leun the arts NMP, too.

In a nutshell, the timeline has been adjusted to give candidates and the authorities more time, taking into consideration the new reserve elections format. As such, the Election will be in September so that campaigning activities do not clash with National Day festivities. See the nice graphic done by ST here.

The bulk of the remaining debate, helmed by Minister Chan Chun Sing, was about the new community committee that will review the declarations submitted by candidates on which ethnic community they belong to.

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2017 presidential election will be reserved for Malay candidates

As a Malay I'm conflicted about this. I understand you want representation from different ethnic groups but, I personally feel that the President represents all Singaporeans regardless of his or her race. Also I thought we were all about Meritocracy, so what happen to that. But to Play Devils advocate I understand how Minority groups feel, they feel that there is a lack of repgresentation of their group. I just don't know that this is a step into the right direction.

I'm very curious, how do your Malay friends/family members feel about this? It can be seen as a ploy to show that Singapore is multi-racial blah blah blah, but at the same time, isn't it prejudiced towards other races and inadvertently a slap to the Malays as it insinuates that Malays require affirmation action to be on the same standing? This is a very controversial issue, but to be frank, meritocracy is unfair to begin with since those from a poorer socio-economic background have less opportunities to excel. I really wonder what the Malay community feels towards this.

When my parents heard about this they said that, they don't care about the ethnicity of the Singaporean president, however they welcome the fact that Singapore is due to have a Malay President after 40 plus years. Me and my brothers on the other hand felt that this is quite unfair, that the Singaporean president shouldn't be decided by ethnicity. You know it creates the idea that the Singaporean President is just a token of their ethnic group. However, my brothers and I do understand that even in 2016, that race still is a very touchy subject here in Singapore and we sort of understand why they decided. But you know this are just the views of my Family I can't speak on the behalf of the Malay community.

What do Singaporeans think of the fact that their next president will be a Malay?

But this new law is simply ridiculous!
  • The first problem with it is that it disregards the words of our pledge on building a democratic society “regardless of race, language or religion”. This law completely takes race into regard now.
  • The second problem, a corollary of the first, is that it is racist and implies that Malays will not be able to achieve that office of their own accord and merit. This is completely untrue as seen by the number of Malay ministers and MPs that we have. A Malay president would not need to be propped up by a racial quota in order to get to that post as long as he or she is capable of it.
  • The third problem with it is that it completely exposes the ceremonial purpose of the office of our president. It tells the world that our president is someone not to be taken seriously as he or she can be elected in such an un-democratic way by being put through this sort of racist filter. A question here that can be given some thought is - “Can the same law of racial selection be applied for our ministers and the prime minister as well?” If not, the office of our President is completely undermined.
  • The fourth and final problem lies with the definition of race and the selection process of which race has not served yet. Why choose a Malay president now instead of a Eurasian, Chindian, European, Malay-Chinese or a Malay-Indian? And where are racial boundaries defined? To what extent am I Indian, Malay, Chinese or European? And how will the ballot of which race serves as our next president take place?

<Facebook post by Abdul Salim Harun>

This coming Reserved Presidential Election has open up a can of worms. Race issues is being hotly debated on what it means to be a Malay, what defines a Malay.

For me, I can consider myself lucky. After being born as a Malay (my IC indicates that I'm a Malay), and now turning to 36, I have been twice certified and approved (2006, 2011) by the Malay community committee set up by the Government that indeed, i am a Malay and is a member of the Malay community.

I am deeply saddened though, for my fellow brothers and sisters who has not been certified yet as a Malay (even though their IC indicates so), as the committee has not certified them to be as one.

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Is the Reserved Presidential Election a Trojan Horse?

To the Malays aligned with the People’s Action Party (PAPpies), I like to assure them that I too believe we, the Malays, should be accommodative to the PAP.

I also agree that we should be appreciative of the slow but steady progress that our little red dot has made towards true multiracialism and equality for all citizens.

Over the last 52 years, the ruling party has steadily dismantled the invisible structures that Lee Kuan Yew (LKY)  and his lieutenants had erected to limit our participation in areas deemed as ‘’sensitive,’’ which at one period, even extended to the Foreign Service.

Malay community must retain some semblance of its pride, honour and integrity, to call a spade a spade

To the PAPpie Malays, I like to assure them that I too believe we, the Malays, should be accommodative to the People's Action Party (PAP).
I also agree that we should be appreciative of the slow but steady progress that our little red dot has made towards true multi-racialism and equality for all citizens.

Over the last 52 years, the ruling party has steadily dismantled the invisible structures that Lee Kuan Yew and his lieutenants had erected to limit our participation in areas deemed as ‘’sensitive,’’ which at one period, even extended to the Foreign Service. What I disagree with the PAPpies is over what we, as individuals and in groups, should do to speed up the process so that the aspirations contained in our National Pledge, will become a reality, not only in name but also in practice.

Should we continue to demonstrate our remarkable patience quietly, and wait with arms outstretched, accepting with forbearance, whatever is doled out to us, at the total discretion of the ruling party? And should we also stop talking about past discriminations, practise the ‘’see no evil, hear no evil, talk no evil,’’ approach in the belief that it will further soften the hearts of our leaders and make them drop their ambivalent attitude towards the community.

Why is the next Presidential Election reserved for Malays?

That being the case, how can the government still justify reserving the next presidential election for Malays? To understand, you must perform some mental gymnastics. Ready? Let’s start with the recommendation of the Constitutional Committee. From paragraph 5.37 of the report of the Constitutional Committee Report:
“… the hiatus-triggered safeguard could be structured as follows: When a member from any racial group has not occupied the President’s office after “x” continuous terms (emphasis ours), the next Presidential election will be reserved for a candidate from that racial group.”
We can assume that the Commission was referring to the office of the Elected President. In paragraph 5.39 of the report, the Commission proposed setting “x” at the value of 5. In other words, the Commission proposed that if a member from any racial group has not occupied the Elected President’s office after 5 continuous terms, then the next Presidential election will be reserved for a candidate from that racial group.

Ismail Kassim’s Facebook 18 Jul 17 at 08:08

Already, the proposed Malays only EP election slated for September has caused divisions among Malays and created resentments from a significant proportion of the people towards our community, particularly towards those rejoicing over the poison-laced gift.

This is the greatest setback to multiracialism since independence and a blow against meritocracy and the concept of having the best man for the job, to be freely chosen by the electorate. I wonder what carrot and what stick and in what proportion have been used to snare two respectable and successful businessmen from our community to want to throw their hat into a contest from which they know they cannot win.

By taking part in this pretence of a democratic election, they and their supporters will inflict an injustice to the nation and to the people. It takes a lifetime to build up a sterling reputation, but it takes just one error of judgement to turn all to ashes. I think history will judge this controversial EP race harshly; in time it will be regarded as the greatest PAP blunder over the last 58 years – even worse than the bungling over Oxleygate.

Abang Writes Simple and Well-Researched Explanation of How “Malayness” is Defined

“So how does one define who is or isn’t Malay? Having actually researched this for my thesis for the past two years, please let me share with ya’ll SOME of what I’ve learned.

How Malays define Malayness has always been head-scratchingly confusing to those who are not Malay and even to us who identify as Malay in Singapore, it’s blatantly inconsistent. It is something of a pet passion of mine, probably because people keep assuming I’m chinese. Also, why is Malayness confusing? This is because there are actually competing definitions of Malayness. Dr. David Tantow identifies three which can be found in Sg:
  • there is the Islamic ummah, which basically imagines ALL Muslims in the Malay archipelago regardless of ethnicity as being part of the larger Malay community (basically, it’s: you are Arab? Pakistani?
  • Then, for the second, we have Malayness defined by cultural signifiers and codes, where we talk about people who practise Malay customs (adat), speak the Malay language (Bahasa), and practise Islam (agama).
  • The third definition is the one Mendaki and the gahmen loves cuz it’s the simplest one; using parentage/ancestry or “genetic and territorial qualifiers”.
  • THEN, as if these three ways of defining Malayness is not enough, we’ve not even touched on the fact that “Malay” also refers to an umbrella term for “the Malay races”,
  • THEN, as if I don’t have a migraine already, not only are all these different ways of defining Malays competing with each other, they are COEXISTING in some kind of strange equilibrium 
  • THIS EQUILIBRIUM SHIFTS, because Malays cannot duduk diam-diam, between each other but also internally within the three definitions as well. For example, increased religiosity in recent decades means many Malays absolutely require someone to be Muslim to be considered Malay 
  • So, really, what I am trying to say is defining who is Malay and how has been one long historical ?&$?? that has resulted in the inconsistency many people are now seeing in how the Malay community is treating the candidates
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Presidential Election: Tidak cucup Melayu (not Malay enough)?

Two parallel debates are going on over the Presidential Election in September. They will shape public perception of the next President of Singapore – not necessarily for the better.

The first debate is linked to Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s continuing challenge to the legal legitimacy of the election. He has filed an appeal against the High Court’s rejection of his earlier application.

In simple colloquial terms, Dr Tan feels he has been cruelly and unfairly hard done. He lost that last election in 2011 by a whisker to Dr Tony Tan and was looking forward to taking part again. He even declared his intention long before the latest constitutional changes which have resulted in a Malay candidates-only election for the next term of office. His pre-emptive move has itself been pre-empted by the changes, at least in the eyes of his supporters. Bear in mind that 738,311 Singaporeans voted for him in 2011.

The Malay president this year, is actually the 9th Malay to Head Singapore

Bet you didn’t know that Singapore has had at least 8 Malays who carried out the roles of the head of state:
  • Sang Nila Utama - The first Malay in such a leadership role was Sri Tan Buana also known as Sang Nila Utama.
  • His 4 descendants - There were subsequently four kings after Sang Nila Utama. They were his descendants. (1) Sri Wikrama Wira, (2) Sri Rana Wikrama, (3) Sri Maharaja dan (4) Parameswara.
  • Sultan Mahmud Shah - Several hundred years later, according to historians, Singapore once again had a Malay Ruler. He was Sultan Mahmud Shah. He was the Sultan of Johor, Pahang and the Riau Archipelago, including Singapura.
  • Sultan Hussein Shah - His eldest son, Tengku Hussein was subsequently made the head of state by Sir Stamford Raffles and William Farquhar who thought that Sultan Mahmud Shah was situated too far away to govern Singapore ‘effectively’. 
  • Post Independence Singapore - Mr Yusof Ishak was sworn on 3 December 1959 as Singapore’s Yang di-Pertuan Negara (head of state) after the PAP won the first election held in Singapore after Singapore’s self-governance. He then became the first President of Singapore after the country gained independence on 9 August 1965.
History has shown Singapore have had at least 8 Malay head of state. – The upcoming one this September will be our ninth.

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Between Halimah Yacob, Salleh Marican and Farid Khan, who is most Melayu?

The essence of the minority rule is, to ensure that the official races in Singapore i.e. Chinese, Malay, Indian, Others all have an equal chance of qualifying to be the President of Singapore.

So what if MENDAKI has a rigid definition of your race? We have enough anecdotal evidence to show that it’s silly  – Why then do you want to follow their silly definition?
TODAY (15 Jul): "Malay-Muslim self-help group Yayasan Mendaki has a set of criteria for its financial assistance schemes for students administered on behalf of the Government. Among other things, the recipients “must be of Malay descent” as stated in their identity cards. It spells out a list of what it considers to be “Malay descent”, and this includes 22 ethnicities including Acehnese, Javanese, Boyanese, Sumatran, Sundanese and Bugis. Students with “double-barrelled” race are eligible if the first race is listed on the identity cards as Malay, said a Mendaki spokesman. For example, a student who is Malay-Arab would qualify for the schemes but an Arab-Malay student would not, he added."
Aspiring candidates for the presidential election have to see the office, not as a job but a calling and the President has to ultimately unite Singaporeans, beyond just the Malay community. Asking an individual from the community if he/she is Malay enough question is harmful and are generally asked by people who have more to gain by distracting and fragmenting the Malay community further. It achieves nothing.

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Halimah Yaacob indicates she may run for President. Second Chance boss Salleh Marican, and Bourbon Offshore Asia Chairman Farid Khan also wants to contest the coming Presidential Election. The three hopefuls have something in common. They are not Malays. It is ironic that the coming presidential election is reserved for a Malay candidate but so far, no Malays have come forward. Personally, I would prefer a Malay candidate to only be eligible but have no issue accepting these three hopefuls to contest.

Im still more concern whether they are able to stand up and execute their roles if elected. This is crucial. We had ineffective Presidents before and it did more harm to the country and people for failing to carry out their duties.

Im still wondering where these hopefuls were during the past open presidential elections? Why only when it is reserved for a Malay candidate do they come forward? Maybe they are self-defeating and have low self esteem to contest in an open-election knowing they will not stand a chance. If the above is right, then they are not fit to be a leader.

Speaker Halimah Yacob Finally Speaks About Presidential Election, And It’s A Definite Maybe

The worst-kept secret in town is finally being addressed in public — and although it’s not 100% confirmed yet, we think that the fact that it’s being addressed now means it’s only a matter of time before it is.

The woman at the centre of it all is Parliament Speaker Halimah Yacob — the person everyone thinks is going to be the next president of Singapore.

The only thing that will stop her is herself, as she had yet to say anything about whether she is going to run in the upcoming Presidential Election in the first place — until now.

Mdm Halimah Yacob indicates clear intention to stand in upcoming Presidential Election
"Under the Section 19 (3) (a) of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore for the qualifying criteria of the President, "The public sector service requirement is that the person has held office for a period of 3 or more years as Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker, Attorney-General, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Auditor-General, Accountant-General or Permanent Secretary."
Therefore, Mdm Halimah qualifies to stand as a candidate from the public sector, without having to be a chairperson of a company with $500 million worth of shareholders equities.
Mr Farid Khan who had earlier announced his intention to stand for the Presidential Election, commented that he welcomes Madam Halimah's intention to contest in the upcoming Presidential Election.

Indian Muslim not an issue - Although Mdm Halimah is a Indian Muslim due to inheriting her father race as per Singapore immigration regulation prior to changes in 2010, that will not be an issue for her in the upcoming Presidential Election. Minister at Prime Minister's Office, Chan Chun Sing has stated it clearly in the Parliamentary earlier this year:
  • "On the issue of language, I would say that the community committee and the respective sub-committees will need to assess the person holistically. Yes, language will be one of the criteria. But we are also keenly aware that all of us, regardless of our race, language or religion, may practise our religions slightly differently, may live our lifestyles differently. But the key is this: do the respective sub-committees consider the person belonging to their community, as the package, holistically? That is the key point.
  • As to how Committees work, I would not want to prescribe their role and it will be not my remit to comment on how they should go about doing their function. But the philosophy has never changed. The philosophy is that, as a package, do you believe that this person belongs to your community. And I believe that the people in the committees are wise enough to know how to make the judgement call, considering all the factors that you have mentioned."
Therefore, even if one is of Indian descent or Pakistani descent, one can qualify as a Malay candidate so long the Malay Community Committee endorses the candidate as an individual seen to be representing the committee.

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Did Halimah Yacob delete info about Indian descent from Wikipedia page?

Speaker of Parliament Mdm Halimah Yacob’s Wikipedia page appears to have been edited recently. Her page now does not show that she is a “Singaporean politician of Indian descent” as it previously did. Her page may have been spruced up in anticipation of the upcoming Presidential election which Mdm Halimah is considering contesting.

The presidential election this year has been reserved for Malay candidates. There has been wide speculation about whether Mdm Halimah qualifies since she is an Indian Muslim, whose father is of Indian origin. This was disclosed in an ST article in 2013 when Halimah was selected to be the new Speaker of Parliament after her predecessor, Michael Palmer, resigned from politics due to his marital affair with a PA woman. In the article, it mentioned: “Her (Halimah’s) Indian-Muslim father was a watchman who died when she was eight years old.”

In fact, news of Halimah becoming Singapore’s first woman speaker also made its way to India. The Hindu described her as an “Indian-origin politician.” It has been revealed that despite her ancestry, Mdm Halimah has been certified as a Malay by the Malay Community Committee at least three times in 2001, 2006 and 2015 when she was fielded as a Malay minority candidate during the general elections. It is a requirement for minority candidates contesting general elections to to be certified as a member of his or her respective ethnic community.

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If Indian Muslim Halimah Yacob can run for this “reserved” Presidential Election, a Chinese Muslim can also too
Halimah is an Indian Muslim

Take Mdm Halimah for example, she is actually not a Malay as her father is of Indian origin. This was disclosed in an ST article in 2013 when Halimah was selected to be the new Speaker of Parliament after the former one, Michael Palmer, resigned from politics due to his marital affair with a PA woman.

ST did a write-up to feature Halimah (‘A strong advocate for workers, women and minorities‘, Jan 2013): In the article, it mentioned: “Her (Halimah’s) Indian-Muslim father was a watchman who died when she was eight years old.” In fact, news of Halimah becoming Singapore’s first woman speaker also made its way to India. The Hindu described her as an “Indian-origin politician” (‘Indian-origin politician to be Singapore’s first woman speaker‘).

So, what all this means is that in the coming Presidential Election which is reserved for the Malay community, a non-Malay person who is a Muslim can also contest.

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There’s an epic battle going on now over one detail in Halimah Yacob’s Wikipedia entry
Race: It started on July 12 on Wikipedia, with this edit

No race: Let’s call the group of people who edited this, Team Edit. Cool!

Speaker of Parliament, Halimah Yacob, is thinking of running for president.

This has caused quite a stir in the ongoing presidential race, ahead of the September election. Some analysts quickly proclaimed her the strongest candidate in the field.

But while they may be unanimous in their support of a potential Halimah Yacob run (save for one), there has been a little feud brewing online for nearly a week now.


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Halimah Yacob, my HDB neighbour, my Mdm Speaker

By today, most of us would have heard that Madam Halimah Yacob has for the first time, publicly revealed that she is considering running for President of Singapore. To many, our Speaker of Parliament needs no introduction.

But just in case you need, here are three aspects of Mdm Halimah that form her endearing personality:
  • She is a heartlander and a filial daughter
  • She comes from a humble background
  • She is a strong supporter of the vulnerable groups in the society


It is one of the worst kept secrets this year, where she decided not to say yes until everything has been sorted out (she had to talk to her family, residents, consider her existing duties etc etc).

It’s not like she can suka suka drop everything and go for the presidency, and if she loses, it’s not like she can just say “Can put me back as Speaker?” right?

So what other worst-er kept secrets did Halimah Yacob have that maybe you already knew (or can just pretend you did)?
  • Halimah Yacob’s a Malay (no, you don’t say!)
  • She was a lawyer who took companies to court over workers’ rights
  • She started working at 8 years old at an illegal pushcart
  • She studied at Singapore Chinese Girls’ School
  • She lives in a 5 room HDB flat in Yishun

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PE2017: Interview with Farid Khan
So who is this man who wants to be President?

Like his rival contender, Mr Salleh Marican, Mr Farid, 62, has a rags-to-riches story that has made the rounds of media publications. He stopped school when he was 13-years-old to support his family. He worked his way through jobs like cleaning toilets, and cutting grass before ending up in the marine sector as a captain’s steward on a ship when he turned 21. Now, he’s chairman of a regional marine sector company with a shareholder’s equity of US$300 million (S$407 million).

Jokingly, I said that a scion of some billionaire family would do well to stay out of the presidential fray given the sterling background credentials of the two potential candidates. It is a story that he hopes would resonate with the populace – a poor boy made good who is now trying to serve his country. But why president? The answers came out readily: about being asked to serve, having reached the stage of life when he can put aside family and business cares, and deciding to heed the call of duty. A man, he said, had asked him if he was willing to die for his country. He said he would and the man retorted: “Then why are you afraid to serve?”

He laughs easily. He is a tall, strapping man who would dignify any room of people. He looks the part but can he play the part? Over an hour, we ranged over several issues.

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“I am of Pakistani descent and my wife is of Arabic descent. Yet, our family and relatives do speak Malay and practise the Malay culture. So I am part of the Malay community,” he said.

In his speech, Farid said he was concerned with the “growing threat of radicalism” and that, if elected, he would work closely with the government and various groups to “resolve this issue”.

He also cited wanting to strengthen the “trust among the people regardless of race and religion”, “helping the needy, including our troubled youth” and “creating more opportunities” to enhance Singapore’s prosperity as motivating factors for his presidential bid.


The presidential wheel starts turning

From today (June 1), Malays who want a shot at the presidency can start picking for forms from the Elections Department in Pinsep Street. Be warned that they are pretty lengthy forms, requiring plenty of information, especially from a prospective candidate from the private sector. Data demanded includes the financial performance of the corporation he led over a period of at least three year’s of service.

Also be warned that the applicants who clear the expanded six-member Presidential Elections Committee chaired by Mr Eddie Teo, head of the Public Service Commission, will have their forms made public for all to see. The G has picked up a recommendation made to the Constitutional Commission looking into changes to the presidency last year, that such transparency would have a “salutary effect” on those who think they can fudge their credentials.

Given that this year’s presidential election is reserved for members of the Malay community, applicants must, after clearing the credentials hurdle, go through a committee to confirm their ethnicity, much like candidates competing in parliamentary elections as members of a Group Representation Constituency. The chairman of the Malay sub-committee is Mr Imran Mohamad, who was the former chairman of the Association of Muslim Professionals.

Elected Presidency: M Ravi’s rant
Cheng Bock stirs the presidential pot
Tan Cheng Bock finally breaks his silence
Excuse me, are you Chinese, Malay, Indian or none of the above?

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Singapore High Court hasn’t decided on the reserved presidential election, and today can go take application form ah? Why so kancheong?

Wah lao eh, Singapore High Court hasn’t decided on the reserved presidential election, and today can go take application form ah?  Why so kancheong?  Must be cool like Dr. Tan Cheng Bock mah, wait until garmen pass the law then take action.

Why must reserve election for race?  Why garmen so racist?  Or garmen thinks that we are racist?  Very insulting to our Malay brothers and sisters you know.

Garmen say it’s meritocratic, a presidential election candidate still must meet the same qualification.  Can give chance to 2nd Chance Founder & CEO or not?  His 2ndChance Clothing became 3rd Chance Property, so 4th  Chance for President!!

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Salleh Marican furore : Second Chance to speak Malay?
Alah Salleh Marican bro, kau cakap Melayu berterabur macam aku. Macam gitu aku pun boleh jadi presiden jugak? (Alamak Salleh Marican bro, you speak malay as like me.  Like dat i can be president too?)

What makes a Malay candidate Malay?  Is it the way he dresses, what he eats or how he speaks?  Who decides whether a Presidential candidate is Chinese, Malay or Indian?   It is the Community Committee to decide if brudder Salleh is a Malay or not. Rofl.

So after brudder Salleh clears the Community Committee, the Presidential Election Committee will evaluate if he meets the $500m shareholders’ equity criteria. Alamak!!  Brudder Salleh company shareholder equity was between $254.3m and $263.25m in the last three financial years.

Can Salleh Marican give second chance or half price for Presidential Election?

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Second Chance CEO Salleh Marican calls Halimah Yacob a ‘good candidate’
Presidential Election 2017: Second Chance CEO Salleh Marican calls Halimah Yacob a ‘good candidate’ Photo of Mohamed Salleh Marican: Safhras Khan/Yahoo Singapore

Two days after Second Chance Properties founder and CEO Mohd Salleh Marican announced that he plans to run for president of Singapore, the 67-year-old is already busy setting up a team for his election campaign.

But even as Salleh outlined his plan for a 10-member campaign team, Salleh said he is mindful of a potential challenge from Speaker of the House, Halimah Yacob, who is widely tipped to be a presidential candidate.

Calling 62-year-old Halimah “a good candidate”, Salleh said, “Whoever is the government candidate will be my opponent but if you ask me who I prefer not to contest against, it will be Madam Halimah.

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This Self-Made Abang Entrepreneur Could be Singapore’s Next President
Mr Mohamed Salleh is the founder and CEO of Second Chance properties

All eyes may be on Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, but this local entrepreneur Mohamed Salleh Marican could be the next president of Singapore.

The 67-year-old has declared his interest in running for the presidency come September, and his name has been bandied in several circles as a potential candidate.

His started out the business as a tailoring service back in 1975 and has since expanded its operations into several industries.

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Mohamed Salleh Marican, The Potential Presidential Candidate
Application for arguably Singapore’s most controversial presidential election to date has opened today (June 1), and will close 5 days after the writ of election is issued in August

Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli and former Cabinet minister Abdullah Tarmugi are just some of the high-profile names that were bandied around after changes to the Elected Presidency were announced in November 2016 –which reserved the 2017 election for members of the Malay community.

However, a surprise name has popped up — that of Mr Mohamed Salleh Marican.

The 67-year-old sent an e-mail to The Straits Times on Wednesday (May 31) confirming his interest in running for the election, and stated he’d be collecting the application forms from the Singapore Elections

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President hopeful struggles to speak Malay
"When it comes to a $2 million or $20 million shop, my thinking process and how I evaluate the purchase is the same. It does not mean I must have 10 times the ability (to buy the $20 million shop),"

Despite not being able to be automatically qualified as a candidate for the upcoming election, Mr Mohamed Salleh expresses optimism that he can convince the Presidential Elections Committee he is deserving.

Also for this year's Presidential Election, the candiancy is reserved for a candidate from the Malay community which Mr Mohamed Salleh is likely to qualify.

However, some have made fun of Mr Mohamed Salleh's apparent difficulty in putting up a proper sentence in Malay (as seen in the video) as he is standing as a Malay candidate. In defence of the independent applicant, many have highlighted the inability of the current President, Mr Tony Tan to speak in fluent Chinese.

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Halimah Yacob run for this “reserved” Presidential Election

Yesterday (1 Jun), ST published a news report stating that PAP MP and Speaker of Parliament, Halimah Yacob, is widely considered a front runner for the forthcoming Presidential Election.

It will be the first election reserved for candidates from the Malay community, following a recent review of the constitution.

According to the amended Singapore Constituion Section 19B, the Presidential Election will be reserved for a community if none of its members has held office of President for 5 or more consecutive terms.

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Applications for Presidential Election to open Jun 1

Applications for the 2017 Presidential Election certificates will open on Thursday (Jun 1), the Elections Department (ELD) announced on Wednesday.

They will close 5 days after the writ of election is issued in August, ahead of the elections in September.

Application forms can be obtained from the ELD website and office from Thursday.

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Dr Yaacob rules himself out of Presidential Election, as applications for Sept polls open
Dr Yaacob rules himself out of Presidential Election, as applications for Sept polls open
Dr Yaacob Ibrahim. TODAY file photo

Communications & Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim has ruled himself out of the upcoming Presidential Election, which is reserved for the Malay community, saying he is happy in his current role.

Applications for the historic polls in September opened on Thursday (June 1) morning, and will close 5 days after the writ of election is issued.

Prospective candidates must submit one form to the Presidential Elections Committee to get a certificate of eligibility, and another form to a newly set-up Community Committee, to declare that they are part of the Malay community & get a Community Certificate.

Applications open for first reserved Presidential Election
Presidential Election: Details of assessment process for candidates’ eligibility
Panel to assess eligibility of Malay EP candidates unveiled
Tan CB files High Court application challenging reserved Presidential Election
Tan Cheng Bock’s legal challenge could be heard in June
Tan Cheng Bock legal challenge: High Court likely to be mindful of Sep
Dr Yaacob rules himself out of Presidential Election, as applications for Sept polls
Panel to assess eligibility of Malay EP candidates unveiled
Tan Cheng Bock questions timing of reserved election for president

Founder and CEO of Second Chance Properties expresses interest in standing for upcoming Presidential Election
Photo of Mr Mohamed Salleh from EY Singapore

According a report by Straits Times last night, there might not be a walkover in the upcoming Presidential Election after all.

The newspaper reported that Mr Mohamed Salleh Marican, the founder and chief executive officer of Second Chance Properties had expressed interest in standing for the upcoming Presidential Election in September and will be collecting the application forms required to assess his qualification prior to the nomination day.

Mr Mohamed Salleh was quoted to have said, "The short answer is that, I believe I have done well for myself in business and would like to step up and give back to society in a much larger way. The position and influence of the Elected President will have a great impact on whatever activities he or she choose to promote." and that he "can also fulfill the call of most Singaporeans who desire a truly independent Elected President, one who is untainted by party politics".

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2 names emerge for presidential contest; anticipation for Halimah’s candidacy

Two names have emerged as potential candidates for the upcoming presidential elections in September, which is reserved only for Malay candidates.

They are those of the founder and chief executive officer of Second Chance Properties, Mr Mohamed Salleh Marican, 67, and Bank of Singapore chief executive officer Bahren Shaari, 54.

Mr Mohamed Salleh has confirmed that he will be collecting the application forms from the Election Department, although he does not actually qualify under the stated rules for the election.

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Straits Times: Only 4 out of 3 million eligible to contest Presidential Election

Straits Times today (June 1) shortlisted 4 eligible candidates out of the country’s 3 million citizen population for the upcoming racist and elitist Presidential Election reserved for only the Malay race and ultra-rich. Two of the four candidates are however ruling party PAP member and ex-member:
  • First on Straits Times’s list is the current Speaker of Parliament, Halimah Yacob, who was flagged in Minister of State Chan Chun Sing’s hint as the next “Mdm President”. When queried by reporters, Halimah Yacob decline to comment whether she is contesting or not. The PAP MP will have to resign from her MP position but according to Minister Chan Chun Sing, no by-election will be called for in her Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC constituency. Halimah Yacob is also a mix Indian-Malay (her father is Indian), but the PAP-appointed Presidential Elections Committee will unlikely to rule her out as a Malay.
  • Second is Abdullah Tarmugi, the former PAP Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) from 1994 to 2000, resigned from politics in 2011. Abdullah Tarmugi told state media reporters that it is “unlikely” he will contest in the racist election.
  • Third on the list is Bahren Shaari, the chief executive of the Bank of Singapore, but he has declined to contest as well.
  • The last one is Mohamed Salleh Marican, who is the only person who has openly signaled his intention to contest yesterday (May 30). Mohamed Salleh Marican is the founder and owner of a retail and property corporation, Second Chance. However, the state media pointed out that his SGX-listed company do not fulfill the S$500 million shareholders’ equity requirement in the election

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Chinese Uber driver Shirwin Eu wants to run for presidency reserved for Malay candidates

In the hopes of throwing a spanner in the works, Uber driver and previously unsuccessful Bukit Batok by-election candidate Shirwin Eu showed up again at the Elections Department. This time, he was there to collect the application forms for the upcoming presidential election to be held in September.

June 1 marks the start of Singapore’s first presidential election reserved for Malay candidates. Candidates have to apply not only for a certificate of eligibility, but also a community certificate confirming they belong to the Malay community, unlike the past elections.

In addition, they have to make a formal declaration that they understand the role of the president.

related: The race to Istana starts from June 1. Will there be a contest?

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Private-Hire Driver Shirwin Eu Ownself Wants to Contest

Private-hire driver Shirwin Eu has picked up forms to contest in the 2017 Presidential Election, despite the election being reserved for Malay candidates only.

All potential candidates were allowed to pick up their nomination forms from the Elections Dept today, and Eu was the first to arrive.

Speaking to the press, the 34-year-old said a Malay would make a poor president because Malays are bad at mathematics. It’s unclear if Eu was trying to be funny when he said that.

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Criticisms of Elected Presidency persist despite explanations and justifications

In a Today report dated 15 September 2017, it is reported that despite the fact that it was the week of firsts for Singaporean to have the first reserved election which resulted in the city state's first woman President and the first Malay Head of State in 47 years, criticism of the election process for the Elected Presidency (EP) has persisted online.

Madam Halimah Yacob, 63, was sworn in on 14 September as President. However, instead of revelling in her role on a historic occasion, she had to answer questions about how she was going to unite a country divided by her election.

The report noted that the biggest reason why the criticism arose was because Singaporeans were denied to vote as the government had disqualified two other potential candidates.

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DPM Tharman ‘would have preferred a contest’ for Presidential Election
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said on Wednesday that he would have preferred a contest in the recent Presidential Election

Speaking at the first Majulah Lecture organised by the Nanyang Technological University on Wednesday (20 Sept), Tharman was quizzed on the 2017 Presidential Election after the lecture, according to media reports.

One student asked if the reserved presidential election is an indication that Singapore is “regressing as a society”, despite Singaporeans growing up reciting a pledge with the words “regardless of race, language or religion”.

In response, Tharman said while he was “proud” that Halimah Yacob was the first Malay president in 47 years, he told the audience of more than 1,500 it was “understandable” that Singaporeans had questions about the recent election, which was reserved for Malay candidates.

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Singapore’s first elected president Ong Teng Cheong gets a mountain named after him

Somewhere out there in south-eastern Kazakhstan, there’s a mountain named after a Singaporean — the first of its kind. And not just any Singaporean, but Singapore’s first elected president, Ong Teng Cheong himself.

The 4,743m-tall mountain sits in the middle of a remote Tien Shan range that stretches along the border between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and China, reported The Straits Times. Ong Teng Cheong peak — so named because it was first conquered by a Singapore team on July 29, 2005 — was formally recognized on June 28 this year by the Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Federation of Kazakhstan.

Mountaineers David Lim, Wilfred Tok, Mohd Rozani Maarof and Shani Tan were the first ones to ascend the mountain, and they named it after Ong, who was the patron of Singapore’s first Everest expedition in 1995 during his presidency.

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A Tribute to Singapore’s First Elected President
SM Emeritus Goh Chok Tong recognisd Ong Teng Cheong as Spore's 1st Elected President

redwire singapore ong teng cheong first elected president goh chok tong 2
The National Library Board calls Ong Teng Cheong Singapore’s first president to be elected into office

HistorySG, a government-run portal called Ong Teng Cheong the first elected president

redwire singapore ong teng cheong first elected president 5
Our National Archives shows that Ong took part in and won Singapore’s first presidential election

Then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong also called Ong Teng Cheong Singapore’s first elected president in a condolence letter to to Ong Teng Cheong’s wife on his passing in 2002

redwire singapore ong teng cheong first elected president 3
The Istana website calls Ong Teng Cheong the first president to be popularly elected by the people

redwire singapore ong teng cheong first elected president 6
Even international news calls Ong Teng Cheong Singapore’s first elected president

So, government records say Ong Teng Cheong is Singapore’s first elected president

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related: "An Indian Muslim can be a Malay but a Malay Christian cannot be a Malay"
Decision On Who's Spore’s 1st Elected President Was Decided By Gov
Malay President, Chinese Prime Minister and Indian Chief Justice
Silent sit-in protest against PE2017
Singapore's 8th and first female President
No contest for Singapore Presidential Election 2017
President Tony Tan reflects on his six years at the Istana
PE2017: Mr Owl for President?
Presidential Election polling day will be on Sep 23
High Court dismissed Tan Cheng Bock's challenge on Elected Presidency
Presidential Election 2017: What makes a person Malay?
The presidential wheel starts turning
Elected President: CC vs AGC
2017 Presidential Election to be reserved for Malay candidates
Public Forum on Elected Presidency cancelled due to poor response
White Paper on Elected Presidency scheme
Spore push for minority President but not ready for non-Chinese PM
Changes to the Elected Presidency Scheme