SINGAPORE — George Goh, the founder of Harvey Norman Ossia, declared his intention to run for the Singapore presidency on Monday (12 June), confirming earlier rumours about his intention to contest in the upcoming Presidential Election.
Mr. Goh’s media team released a statement confirming that he would be running as an independent candidate.
“He has no political party affiliations – past or present. He has no political baggage. He was never in the public sector. He is an entrepreneur who started working at the age of 16, and has since built a business empire spanning 14 countries,” the statement wrote.
This makes him the second person to announce his candidacy, following Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who declared his intention to run in the upcoming presidential election and step down from his current positions last week.
According to information provided on his official website, the 63-year-old Goh, who originated from a humble background of nine siblings, experienced the harsh realities of poverty early on.
His early start in the business world led to the opening of his own enterprise at the tender age of 22.
Despite enduring numerous business-related trials and financial challenges over a span of 40 years, Goh succeeded in establishing a multitude of companies in various industries.
His entrepreneurial journey includes renowned names such as Ossia International Ltd., Harvey Norman, World of Sports, and UnitedEnviroTech. Currently, he is comfortably supporting his wife Lysa and their children Joanna, Jonathan, Jovina, and Ingrid, a stark contrast to his early struggles.
Driven by his own experiences with poverty, Goh and his wife founded the Border Mission Charitable Foundation in 2015, as reported on his website.
The foundation is committed to enhancing the lives of Singapore’s most vulnerable, focusing on the elderly and disabled.
Additionally, the foundation reaches out to inhabitants of remote Himalayan villages, providing them with basic necessities such as food, education, and sanitary facilities. It is a source of immense satisfaction for Goh that his businesses are directly involved in bringing about these positive changes.
Besides his business and philanthropic activities, Goh’s website also mentions his role as the Singapore Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco since 2017, reinforcing his dedication to serve his country through enhancing diplomatic relations.
It was previously reported that former newspaper editor Bertha Henson is helping him with media and publicity matters.
Elections Department announces applications for Certificate of Eligibility to begin on 13 June
The current President, Halimah Yacob, announced in May that she would not be seeking re-election.
The Singapore Elections Department (ELD) has announced that the application for the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and submission of community declarations for the upcoming Presidential Election 2023 will open on 13 June 2023.
The department highlighted that applications will close on the 5th day after the Writ of Election is issued and late applications will not be accepted.
This year’s Presidential Election will be an open race, allowing candidates from any racial community to stand.
To qualify, prospective candidates must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC), affirming their integrity, good character, reputation, and the fulfillment of public sector or private sector service requirements.
In addition, they must submit a community declaration to the Community Committee to determine the next reserved election. If a particular community has not held the presidential office for the past five terms, the subsequent election will be reserved for them.