Elections Department gets 220 applications for political donation certificates

SINGAPORE - There were 220 applications for the Political Donation Certificate by the 5pm deadline on Friday, the Elections Department (ELD) said in a statement.

All candidates contesting the coming general election must obtain the certificate.

The ELD also received 35 applications for the Certificate of the Malay Community Committee, and 33 applications for the Certificate of the Indian and Other Minority Communities Committee.

Every group of candidates who wishes to stand for parliamentary election in a group representation constituency (GRC) is required to have at least one candidate belonging to either the Malay community, or the Indian and other minority communities.

The group must produce a Certificate of the Malay Community Committee or a Certificate of the Indian and Other Minority Communities Committee to the Returning Officer on Nomination Day which is on Sept 1.

More than a dozen people streamed in and out of the ELD building at Prinsep Link on Friday, the deadline for submitting forms for the political donation and minority certification. They include several more potential independent candidates as well as party representatives.

A group of long-time friends who turned up said they plan to team up and contest a GRC as independents in the coming election, if they find that the candidates fielded by existing parties are no better than a "potted plant".

Architect Fatimah Akhtar, speaking for the group, said they were eyeing Tanjong Pagar, Jurong or Ang Mo Kio, where Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is standing for re-election. They are prepared to contest if they feel the candidates fielded in any of these GRCs is not up to the mark.

Ms Fatimah, 46, a former member of the Singaporeans First Party, announced their intention on Friday when she and her four friends collected nomination forms for two five-member GRCs and one for a six-member GRC at the ELD, where they also submitted pre-nomination forms. If their nomination papers go through, they will be the first team of independents to contest a GRC since the scheme began in 1988.

The four others in the group are Dr David Tan, 62, chief executive of a regional medical group, businessman Eric Seow, who is in his 60s, and two retirees: Mr Eddie Ng, 72 and Ms Soon Siew Tin, 58.

"Some of the candidates fielded inspired me to run, because with their background, my potted plant can be an MP," said Ms Fatimah .

Others who handed in forms included Democratic Progressive Party chairman Mohamad Hamim, whose party will team up with Singapore People's Party to contest Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.

Also seen were People's Power Party's secretary-general Goh Meng Seng and Singapore Democratic Party chairman Jeffrey George, who told reporters he was not contesting in the coming election.

Potential independents such as business manager Prabu Ramachandran, 26, former National Solidarity Party secretary-general Tan Lam Siong, and housewife Chew Lay Hwa, 43, submitted the relevant forms.

Ms Sabeena Ahamed, 35, did so on behalf of her husband, software company managing director Samir Salim Neji, 45, who is away on business.

Besides obtaining the relevant certificates and submitting the required documents, each candidate must also make an election deposit of $14,500.

Under the Parliamentary Elections Act, each candidate's deposit is 8 per cent of the total allowances paid to a Member of Parliament in the preceding year, rounded to the nearest $500.

In the last general election in 2011, the deposit was set at $16,000.

The deposit will be forfeited if a candidate in a single- member constituency or a team in a GRC receives less than 12.5 per cent of the votes in their constituency.

This article was first published on August 28, 2015.
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