Who is George Goh? 5 facts about the businessman who intends to run for Singapore presidency
Mr George Goh, who brought Harvey Norman to Asia, is the second person to indicate his intention to run in the Presidential Election.
SINGAPORE: Businessman George Goh Ching Wah on Monday (Jun 12) announced his intention to enter the race to become President of Singapore.
The 63-year-old founder of Harvey Norman Ossia said he would contest as an “independent candidate” and stressed his financial and managerial skills as an entrepreneur.
“To maintain the integrity of the office, the President must not only be above politics but be perceived as such,” he said in a press statement.
President Halimah Yacob’s six-year term expires on Sep 13 and she has said she will not stand for re-election.
Media reports previously said the Presidential Election must be held by Sep 13. The Elections Department (ELD) said on Monday that the election may be held at any time from Jun 13, and if it has not been held by the expiration of the term of the incumbent President, it should be held shortly after.
Mr Goh is the second person to indicate his intention to run, after Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Here are five things to know about Mr Goh:
1. FAMILY LIFE
Mr Goh, who is married to Madam Lysa Sumali, has four children – daughters Joanna, Jovina and Ingrid, and son Jonathan. Mr Goh’s first wife died when he was 40.
He was born in Negeri Sembilan, according to an interview with Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao, and has eight siblings.
His childhood was marked by poverty. At 16, he dropped out of school and came to Singapore to work in a shoe factory.
Writing on social media, Mr Goh recalled of his mother: “Long after I had established my career, she would worry that I didn’t have enough money, slipping me a S$100 note when she could.”
Mr Goh is the chairman of Ossia International, an SGX-listed company with a market capitalisation of about S$45 million (US$33 million) as of Monday.
He co-founded the investment holding group with two of his brothers, Mr Steven Goh Ching Huat and Mr Joe Goh Ching Lai.
He is best known as the founder of Harvey Norman Ossia, which distributes consumer electronics and furniture in Asia under the Australian brand.
Mr Goh also chairs ITG International, whose main project is a property development investment in Jiangxi, China, according to the company’s website.
He was also the founder of VGO Corporation, known for the World of Sports brand.
As a young entrepreneur, he set up his first business in shoemaking at the age of 22.
3. PUBLIC SERVICE AND CHARITY
Mr Goh began serving as Singapore’s non-resident ambassador to Morocco in 2017. He tendered his resignation this month. He also sits on the council of the Red Cross Society.
In 2015, he and his wife set up the Border Mission Charitable Foundation for their philanthropic activities.The foundation focuses on serving elderly cardboard collectors and people with disabilities and their families in Singapore, and remote communities in the Himalayas.
4. RELIGIOUS FAITH
Mr Goh is an executive board member of the Presbyterian Community Services and Presbyterian Preschool Services.
In a recent interview with local Christian publication Salt&Light, he spoke about the importance of Christianity and religious missions to him.
“I set up my life in three pillars. The first is my family – always my family first – and the second is my business. Third is my mission field,” he said.
5. MUSICAL PURSUITS
The businessman is a music lover. He obtained a degree in music from Trinity College London last year, focusing on classical singing.
He told Salt&Light that he still makes time to sing in the church choir.
Tham, D. (2023, June 12). Who is George Goh? 5 facts about the businessman who intends to run for Singapore presidency. CNA. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/george-goh-5-things-businessman-singapore-presidential-election-harvey-norman-ossia-founder-3555891