Two weeks back, I wrote about three reasons why we can expect to see a walkover in this upcoming Presidential Election. However, a recent development seems to imply that there may be an election after all.

Just this morning, Singapore Police Force (SPF) servicemen received a system generated notification message informing that they will be deployed for the upcoming Presidential Election and will be soon given deployment details.

First thing that we have to establish here is that the SPF NS servicemen are not the full-time NSF who can be activated for no apparent reasons and asked to relax one corner when they have real work waiting for them to be done at office. Therefore, the decision to activate them surely would have come from a real need for manpower to be deployed.

Second thing we may derive from the activation is that given the servicemen are being notified via SMS and not via notification letter, the decision to deploy them is likely to be very recent. This is out of the norm, as the number of days that the serviceman have to take time off from his work is nine days long and should be informed six months earlier and not two weeks prior to the activation. While some may say that there has been short notices for servicemen to be activated but it does not make sense for the purpose of the Presidential Election, since it is supposed to be a planned event, and not an unanticipated event.

This to me, would suggest that the overwhelming outpour of negative sentiments of a possible walkover for the People’s Action Party chosen candidate into the Presidential Office has spurred some changes in the mind of the establishment. (That is if we accept the fact that activation of NS personnel for a nine day period should not come just two weeks before activation.)

So if we are indeed looking at a contest, the question here is whether would we be looking at a straight fight between Mdm Halimah Yacob, former PAP MP and Speaker of Parliament and Mr Farid Khan or will Mr Salleh Marican also qualify as a candidate. A tricky question for the establishment, given that past records will indicate a non-PAP candidate will surely win against a PAP candidate while Mr Salleh’s company value is a far distance from the qualifying $500 million mark. So should Mr Salleh qualify as a candidate, does it mean the $500 million figure is of no significance when it comes to a candidate’s qualification and but a determined figure to pick and choose which candidates can contest against PAP’s preferred candidate?

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