'I'm not a gambler but I'll put all my money into politics'

'I'm not a gambler but I'll put all my money into politics'
PHOTO: My Paper

He's the man who doesn't give up.

After trying to run for the presidency and failing at the General Election (GE) a combined total of five times over the past 15 years, Mr Ooi Boon Ewe, 74, is back.

He intends to stand as an independent candidate in Sengkang West single-member constituency in the coming GE.

The real estate executive's attempted career in politics has not been smooth: he was rejected for the presidential race thrice and failed on both attempts he tried to contest in the GE.

But he said this time, it will be different.

"I'm not a gambler but there's one thing I would gamble on: put all my money into politics, to make the election deposit.

"I might lose the deposit but this time, I want to make sure my nomination is secure."

Under election rules, candidates who secure less than 12.5 per cent of valid votes cast would lose their deposits. In the 2011 election, the deposit was $16,000.

Mr Ooi said the deposit for the upcoming GE is what he saved from his unsuccessful application at the last one in 2011.

He said he chose Sengkang West because he has lived there for more than 10 years.


If elected as a Member of Parliament, Mr Ooi will make changes that include increasing the frequency of public transport, opening more childcare centres and sports facilities, as well as organising more activities to bring residents together.

Mr Ooi, who has five children, said that raising the election deposit has not been easy, especially when he still has to support his two younger children, who are 11 and 15.

But he wants to give it a shot.

"It is my dream to be an MP.

"I want to achieve something in life, a status and a dream. Maybe this is a chance, an opportunity.

"Who knows, maybe I'll make history."

Ooi Boon Ewe's Report Card

Presidential Election

1999: Application unsuccessful

Statement from the Presidential Election Committee (PEC) said that Mr Ooi did not qualify for the certificate of eligibility as he was made a bankrupt on two occasions and his application was incomplete.

2005: Application unsuccessful

PEC deemed that his career history showed that he did not hold any similar or comparable position of seniority and responsibility as spelt out in the Constitution that was required of an elected president.

2011: Application unsuccessful

PEC said Mr Ooi submitted an incomplete application form.

General Election

2001: Application successful

Mr Ooi ran in Joo Chiat SMC and polled 16.5 per cent of the vote. He managed to get his $13,000 deposit back.

2011: Application unsuccessful

He was short of one assentor and was unable to be successfully nominated to run in Sengkang West SMC.


2013: Did not apply

Mr Ooi was one of the first to collect the nomination papers for the Punggol East by-election, but did not file the papers.

This article was first published on August 14, 2015.
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