Entrepreneur George Goh, on Tuesday (13 Jun), expressed optimism about his qualification for the upcoming presidential elections, insisting that the people of Singapore deserve an opportunity to vote.
His declaration followed his collection of an application form for a certificate of eligibility from the Elections Department.
Mr Goh, at a doorstop interview outside the Elections Department at Novena, emphasised the need for an elected President, saying, “(If) you look at the last five Presidential Elections, three (were) walkovers… I think the people deserve it to vote for their President… so I’m coming forward.”
The 63-year-old group executive chairman of Ossia International, accompanied by his wife Lysa Sumali, their four children, and a group of around 50 supporters, declared his intent to serve the nation.
Mr Goh said, “When I started, I didn’t have anything, but this land has given me a lot. It’s time for me to serve the nation… Today, I want to give my people a choice,”
In response to doubts about his eligibility, Mr Goh, who has over 41 years of independent entrepreneurial experience and no links to government companies or political parties, expressed confidence in his qualification.
“I believe I am qualified,” he affirmed, adding that he has assembled a team of professionals “to discuss eligibility”.
In Mr Goh’s press release to the media on Monday, it is said that he has owned more than 100 companies, including five that he had listed on the stock exchanges of Singapore and the United Kingdom, besides acquiring two other companies, which were also publicly listed.
In all, they have a collective market capitalisation value of S$3.15 billion. While none of his companies individually meet the S$500 million equity requirement by a candidate from the private sector, Mr Goh plans to submit the records of all companies he has been associated with to the Presidential Elections Committee.
“In due course, I will submit the number of companies I founded, incorporated, am a shareholder of, a founding member… I’ll put (them) together and submit to the Presidential Elections Committee.”
Unfazed by the listing of Ossia International on the SGX-ST watch list, Mr Goh dismissed its potential impact on his candidacy. “This is only one of the listed companies… it’s not going to affect my eligibility,” he assured.
When queried about the implications of not “clearly qualifying” on his credibility and chances, Mr Goh reemphasized his belief in his ability to meet the criteria. “In due course… we will know the answer,” he confidently stated.
If he eventually qualifies, Mr Goh will compete against Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who announced on 8 June his intent to resign from the Government and the People’s Action Party on 7 July to contest the election.