‘Malay enough’ to run for Singapore president?


PETALING JAYA: Singapore Parliament Speaker Halimah Yacob has said she is qualified to run as a Malay candidate in September’s presidential election reserved for Malays.

The Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC MP said she had been certified as a member of the Malay community four times in the past several general elections, reported Singapore’s Straits Times.

“I am still mulling over whether to run in this presidential election,” she told reporters after an inter-faith post-Hari Raya celebration organised by the Singapore Muslim Women’s Association yesterday.

If she runs in the presidential election, she will have to resign as speaker and quit the People’s Action Party.

The election will be the first reserved for Malay candidates following changes Parliament passed last November to ensure multiracialism of the office and to tighten standards for candidates.

However, there is controversy over whether the candidates proposed are “Malay enough”.

Halimah has been criticised on social media that she should be considered an Indian as her father is an Indian-Muslim and mother a Malay.

Online critics have also slammed Second Chance Properties chief executive Salleh Marican, who also has Indian heritage, for his inability to speak fluent Malay. Salleh said he is now taking Malay lessons.

Another candidate, a marine company chairman, Farid Khan, said although his identity card indicates his race as Pakistani, he and his family practised Malay culture and spoke Malay, and so he was part of the Malay community.

The next Singaporean presidential election is due to be held in September 2017.