(Source: www.straitstimes.com)

SINGAPORE – The chairman of marine service provider Bourbon Offshore Asia Pacific, Mr Farid Khan Khaim Khan, is mulling over standing in the upcoming presidential election.

Four men were at the Elections Department on Friday (June 16) to collect application forms for a potential presidential candidate they declined to identify. They would describe him only as a Malay/Muslim man in his early 60s, who is a chairman at a multinational company.

But sources told The Straits Times that the man in question is Mr Farid, 62. They said he is giving serious thought to running for president but has yet to make a decision.

When contacted, Mr Farid declined to comment.

He has been working at Singapore-based Bourbon Offshore Asia Pacific for more than 10 years and is married with two children.

The firm, which employs about 800 workers in the region, is part of French company Bourbon, which has more than 10,000 employees.

Mr Farid is also the director of several other entities, including Greenship Holdings, which is also in the marine sector.

The upcoming presidential election is reserved for candidates from the Malay community, following changes to the elected presidency scheme last year to ensure minority representation.

One of the changes states that private-sector candidates must have run a company with at least $500 million in shareholder equity, to qualify automatically.

The Straits Times understands that the shareholder equity of Greenship Holdings is about US$200 million (S$277 million), while that of Bourbon Offshore Asia Pacific is more than US$300 million.

Mr Borhan Saini, 54, who was one of the men who showed up at the Elections Department on Friday, said: “We believe our candidate is eligible to stand.”

Mr Borhan, the director of administrative and business development at Future Energy Solutions, added that he is convinced the person for whom he is collecting the forms could win the support of “all races in Singapore”.

He also said that the potential candidate will call a press conference possibly in the first week of next month, after Hari Raya.

The other three in the group gave their names as Mr Jimmie Wee, Mr Rahman Kamin and Mr Sukumaran, and declined to say more. Checks show that all are in the marine sector.

The group had sent an e-mail to the media on Thursday from an anonymous account, saying some “multiracial representatives” would collect documents the following day for the presidential election.

Mr Borhan said: “We are a multiracial group that supports our candidate because the president is not just for Malays, but for people from all walks of life in Singapore.”

The group, he added, is not linked to any political party.

The presidential election will be held in September.

Second Chance Properties chief executive officer Mohamed Salleh Marican has said that he intends to run. Another name widely mentioned for the presidential bid is Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, who has yet to make her decision known.

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