George Yeo may consider running for President

By Paul Lim

IN AN abrupt about-turn from his previous comments to the media, former foreign minister George Yeo has said that he is "thinking hard" about running for President.

He posted on his Facebook page saying “Many Singaporeans from different walks of life, young and old, have asked me to reconsider my decision on the Presidency, some impassionately. Thinking hard about it and praying for wisdom.”

The post has garnered more than 2000 "likes" and 673 comments as of 9.45pm. Many of the comments voiced encouragement and support. 

One such comment posted by Facebook user Allan See read "Sir, you should go for it. A well loved and respected President is someone whom citizens can count on and be proud. You possess these qualities."

Mr Yeo had told the media on May 10 that he would not run for President as he didn’t think his temperament was suitable for the job.

"I'm flattered by all these proposals but I'm a free spirit. I don't think my temperament is suited for such a job," he said at a media conference.

He also told the media at the same press conference that he would not contest in the next General Election. 

“Many of my supporters asked me to stay on to win back Aljunied in five years time. I wanted to level with them and told them last night that it is better for a younger person to take on this important task. I'm already 57 years old and would be 62 by then,” he said.

Mr Yeo was part of the People's Action Party (PAP) team which contested Aljunied GRC in the recent May 7 General Election.

The PAP team lost to The Workers’ Party team, which won the constituency with 54.71 per cent of the votes.

Aspiring presidential candidates

Mr Yeo is not the only one who have indicated interest in running for President.

Another potential presidential candidate emerged today, an entrepreneur named Mike Lee.

In an interview with Shin Min Daily News, Mr Lee said he had sent someone to collect the application forms for the Certificate of Eligibility from the Elections Department.

The 57-year-old is currently a private consultant for American company Maxsys Holdings.

He told the Chinese newspaper that he had 35 years of industrial experience and that Singapore’s reserves could be better put to use. For example, the reserves could be used to help the elderly battle rising inflation and medical costs, he said.

Former MP Tan Cheng Bock confirmed that he would be a candidate in the coming presidential election.

Dr Tan, 71, quit the PAP in early May.

When asked if he had sufficient relevant experience to be President, he cited his work as non-executive chairman of Chuan Hup investment holding company since 1991. Company documents state its issued and paid-up capital as $189 million.

Applications for the presidency opens today. Aspiring presidential candidates can apply for a Certificate of Eligibility and collect application forms from the Secretary of the Presidential Elections Committee at the Elections Department.

Applications will close on the third day after the Writ of Election is issued.

paullim@sph.com.sg


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