Sunday, 1 October 2023

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Presidential hopeful George Goh Ching Wah refutes online misinformation, reiterates commitment to serve Singapore

The presidential race in Singapore is set to heat up as Prime Minister is soon to announce the Writ of Election, which must take place before President Halimah Yacob’s six-year term concludes on 13 September.

To date, only two individuals have revealed their intent to run in the forthcoming election – Entrepreneur George Goh Ching Wah and Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam from the People’s Action Party (PAP).

On Tuesday evening, the media team of Mr Goh released a detailed statement addressing a surge in online misinformation since he announced his bid for the presidency on 12 June.

The team has called out and clarified several falsehoods circulating on the internet and various messaging platforms.

One of the false claims involved Mr Goh’s purported links to political organizations, including the People’s Association and its grassroots groups such as the Citizens’ Consultative Committee. The team confirmed that Mr Goh is not affiliated with any political party, quashing rumours triggered by a WhatsApp image erroneously identifying him as the chairman of a CCC.

The team also addressed the incorrect allegations about Mr Goh being a “puppet” or a proxy for others, stating it is against his nature and his track record as an entrepreneur. In line with this, Mr Goh clarified the confusion surrounding his former role as Singapore’s honorary ambassador to Morocco. It was emphasised that this unpaid position did not render him a government employee, and he has since resigned from this post upon his decision to run for the presidency.

To further counter online misinformation, Mr Goh’s team confirmed that a request has been submitted to Twitter to remove a fake account (@GeorgeGoh_CW) posing as him. They reiterated that Mr Goh’s official Twitter handle is @georgegohcw and asked the public to exercise caution when sharing unverified information.

It is said that Mr Goh decided to participate in the presidential race in 2017, fully aware of the stringent eligibility criteria for private-sector candidates.

According to the media team, Mr Goh assembled a team of legal and financial experts to ensure his qualifications met the election requirements. He has extensively studied the Constitution with a lawyer’s aid, understanding the President’s crucial role in safeguarding the country’s reserves and maintaining high standards of public governance.

Mr Goh emphasised his non-partisan candidacy, stating that a presidential candidate must not only be above politics but must also be perceived as such. With over four decades of global business experience and ownership of over 100 companies, including five publicly listed on Singapore and UK stock exchanges, Mr Goh brings a wealth of financial and technical skills to the table.

In total, they have a collective market capitalisation value of S$3.15 billion. While none of his companies individually meet the S$500 million shareholders equity requirement for 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.

This, however, leads observers to question whether PEC would grant Mr Goh a Certificate of Eligibility to contest in the election.

In the upcoming election, if only one candidate qualifies, they will be declared the winner by default, similar to President Halimah’s uncontested win in PE2017.

Mr Goh believes that the presidential election should not go uncontested, advocating for citizens’ opportunity to make an informed choice.

Despite the attempts to discredit his campaign, Mr Goh remains determined to serve Singapore and its people.

He pledges to act in the country’s interest, not serve any political party, and collaborate with the Government of the day to advance Singapore’s interests.


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