Amid outcry among Singaporeans over the lack of qualified candidates stepping forward to contest this year’s walkover reserved elections, which resulted in Halimah Yacob being declared Singapore president without contest, one man who would have qualified to run against her this year speaks out about why he did not step forward.
47 year-old Shafie Shamsuddin, PT Trans Retail (Carrefour Indonesia) CEO, told reporters in an interview today that he had “thought deeply” about running, but ultimately decided against it because “there is so much more that I have to learn and improve myself first.”
He told reporters: “As a fellow Singaporean who cares, I have contributed in various ways, through non-political channels … To satisfy the financial criterion as a Presidential candidate is important, but more important is the character and temperament of a leader … I am 47 years old and there is so much more that I have to learn and improve myself first.”
With Mr Shafie’s firm, he would have easily satisfied the criterion. Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC bought 17% of his company for more than $500 million last year.
Another candidate who might have qualified had he won is 54 year-old Mr Bahren Shaari, the Bank of Singapore chief executive.