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Photo of Mr Mohamed Salleh from EY Singapore

Founder and CEO of Second Chance Properties expresses interest in standing for upcoming Presidential Election

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".

Under changes to the Constitution approved last November, candidates from the private sector must have been the chief executive of a company with at least $500 million in shareholders' equity, on average, for the most recent three years.

According to ST's report, Second Chance Properties' shareholder equity was between $254.3 million and $263.25 million in the past three financial years. This would mean Mr Mohamed Salleh does not qualify under the criteria.

However, it was said in Parliament that the Presidential Elections Committee has the discretion to certify that a candidate who does not automatically meet the criteria can stand, if it is satisfied that he has the experience and ability to effectively carry out the functions and duties of the office of the President.

It has just been announced by Elections Department (ELD) that the applications for the 2017 Presidential Election certificates will open on 1 June. They will close five days after the writ of election is issued in August, ahead of the elections in September. Applicants will be notified of the outcome before Nomination Day.

Prospective candidates must apply to the Presidential Elections Committee for a certificate of eligibility and to the Community Committee to certify that they are a member of the Malay community. Applications close five days after the writ of election is issued, in late August.

As the upcoming Presidential Election has been reserved for Malay candidates, prospective candidates must apply to the Community Committee for a Malay community certificate. The Malay community sub-committee, will then assess the application.

Below is a write up of Mr Mohamed Salleh in 2012 from EY Singapore for his award of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 – Business and Consumer Products.

Following in his late father’s footsteps, Mohamed Salleh made his first entrepreneurial foray in menswear tailoring in 1974. However, he closed down the business when it did not take off. Undeterred, he re-entered the same business five months on, aptly naming it Second Chance. Realizing that tailoring will not be profitable, he ventured into men’s readymade clothing. This time, he succeeded. By 1983, he had four stores in Singapore. By 1988, he had opened 25 outlets through franchising, with 18 in Singapore and seven in Malaysia. Back then, men’s readymade clothing was extremely popular in Singapore and Malaysia due to foreign brands such as Lee. Riding on the popularity, Mohamed Salleh decided to embrace a Western image for Second Chance when advertising. With its affordable pricing and Western branding, Second Chance soon became a household name.

However, Mohamed Salleh faced his toughest challenge after he won his first big award and customers realized that Second Chance was a local brand. Sales declined sharply in a short period of time. To revive the business, Mohamed Salleh changed his strategy, closing 21 out of 25 stores. In 1992, he identified a niche and diversified into Malay lady readymade wear, First Lady. First Lady was a hit, and remains highly popular today.

Following the success of First Lady, Mohamed Salleh entered the jewelry business with his next venture, Golden Chance to sell mainly gold jewelry. To differentiate Golden Chance, he allowed customers to weigh the gold before making any purchase. This was a new concept in the market that helped to gain customers’ trust.

When the Asian financial crisis struck, he spotted an opportunity again. As people started to let go of commercial properties, he snapped them up at low prices, marking the company’s venture into the property sector. This proved to be his most successful business diversification to date. Today, the company’s property arm contributes more than 60% of Group’s profits.