Walkover 2017: Protest the Process, Not the Person 

Several to-be-participants of the sit-in protest at Hong Lim Park have issued a statement on their views on the process of the elected presidency and also their concerns over the comments made over Mdm Halimah Yacob’s appointment as the Elected President being the sole candidate who received the Certificate of Eligibility from the Presidential Election Committee.

Below is their statement in full and the link for their statement.

On 13 September 2017, Mdm Halimah Yacob was declared Singapore’s 8th President.

In any other circumstance, the election of our first Malay woman President—who had also previously served as the deputy secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress, and Speaker of Parliament, amongst other capacities—would have been celebrated as a progressive step for Singapore society.

However, the recent changes to the rules of the Presidential Election have generated disappointment and outrage.

We are aware that discontent is being expressed through a sit-in called Silent Sit-In Protest #NotMyPresident that will be held at Hong Lim Park’s Speakers’ Corner on 16 September (Saturday) at 4.30pm. This sends a clear signal that there is a significant proportion of Singaporeans who regard the so-called “hiatus-triggered model” as deeply undemocratic and politically motivated.

To that end, we will be attending this sit-in as an expression of sharing in the disappointment and outrage of the attendees and other Singaporeans.

However, we would like to clarify and urge that our disappointment and outrage should be pointed specifically to the political process and not towards Mdm Halimah Yacob’s character.

That is,

  1.  We reject the “hiatus-triggered model” as undemocratic and degrading of the elected office
  2.  We are disappointed with the Presidential Election Committee’s direct decision to disqualify the two other potential candidates, and indirect declaration of a walkover
  3.  We are against the recent tightening of the eligibility criteria for private sector candidates which disqualifies various competent citizens from serving the office
  4.  We question Mdm Halimah Yacob’s presidency to be sufficiently independent given the functions of the Elected President, and her affiliation to the People’s Action Party (PAP) terminated only in August 2017

In addition to these objections against the political process:

  1.   We do not wish to question Mdm Halimah Yacob’s qualifications, capabilities, gender, or racial identity as relevant to her execution of duties in the office.
  2. We disapprove of any rejection of her presidency which resorts to character assassinations, and/ or questioning of her identity, as short-sighted and unfair.
  3.  We are expressing our reservations regarding the hashtag #NotMyPresident as it might be used to make attacks on Mdm Halimah Yacob’s character, and suggest that we instead focus on the unfair political processes behind this walkover.

We, the signatories, recognise the great outpour of feelings and ask that it be directed to its source: the government’s undemocratic proposals and failure to consult the Singaporean people on matters of national importance. Any accusations made towards Mdm Halimah Yacob distract from the broader political forces behind her election.

With these concerns in mind, we urge everyone to attend the Silent Sit-In Protest as a means of registering our frustrations and disappointments. If you are a Singaporean or Permanent Resident (PR) who would like to express solidarity with our principles, please indicate your name on the following Google form: https://goo.gl/forms/MVNuvqxC5xoLUsm62



Shawn Hoo
Anthea Chua
Yogesh Tulsi
Rachel Ooi
Swarnima Sircar
Saza Faradilla
Kwok Yingchen
Jiang Haolie
Paul Jerusalem
Jay Wong Cai Jie
Tsoi Sau Yee
Natalie Sutanto
Herman Lim
Gilbert Goh
Benny Phang
Kwan Zhaoting
Neo Albert
Salina Bte Rahiman
Abdul Aziz Bin Hussain
Sasha Aman
Koh Wei Jie
Joy Yang
Ng Qi Siang
Hellen Sebestian
Tan JY
Yap Xin Ran
Sharan Kaur Sambhi
Tan Heng Yeng
Tan Hwee Peng
Naomi Lourdesamy
Tan Yan Ru
Muhammad Faris Bin Joraimi
Gabriel Tng
Cephas Tan
Wong Kong Shing
Rakesh Prabhakaran
Elsie Lee
Arunima Sircar
Mock Tian Qi Annika