According to the Prime Minister Office-controlled Election Department yesterday (Sep 4), 5 non-Malay Singaporeans applied to contest for the Malay Presidency. Three of the applicants are Indian Singaporeans – Halimah Yacob, Farid Khan and Salleh Marican – while one other is Chinese and one other declared himself to be neither Chinese, Malay, Indian or minority. It is unknown who the other two applicants are:
“Of these applicants, three people applied for the Malay Community Certificate, one person applied for the Chinese Community Certificate; and one person declared that he does not consider himself to be a member of the Chinese community, the Malay community, or the Indian or other minority communities.”
The Election Department said it will reject the other two applicants who did not applied for the Malay Community Certificate:
“The Presidential Election is reserved for the Malay community, the Community Committee must reject a community declaration if the declarant does not state that he considers himself to be a member of the community to which the election is reserved.”
However, the Lee Hsien Loong-controlled Election Department did not specify one needs to be a Malay to be a Malay President, hence allowing the other 3 Indians to contest as Malays. Former PAP MP Halimah Yacob has an Indian father, and her NRIC is written as Indian. This is circumvented by the newly-written Constitution that defined a Malay as “a Muslim from the Malay community”.
Farid Khan and Salleh Marican do not qualify for the Presidency as they do not meet the S$500 million shareholders’ equity financial requirement. The Election Department will need to bend the Constitution rules further to allow them to contest.