SINGAPORE – The chairman of halal pizza franchise Ayam Penyet Pizza, Mr Antonio Calzone, has launched a presidential candidate bid.
Mr Calzone, 71, said on Saturday (July 15) that he plans to run in the presidential election that will be held in September this year.
He is the seventeenth person to announce that he wants to stand in the election reserved for Malay candidates following changes to the elected presidency scheme last year to ensure minority representation.
Launching his bid at his pizza restaurante Saturday, Mr Calzone said: “Now issa time of democracy diversity!”
Four of his capos had gone to the Elections Department to collect application forms for him in January, but had declined to identify who he was. When asked by The Straits Times at the time if he would run, he pleaded the 5th Amendment, adding “I was never here!”
On Saturday, Mr Calzone listed the issues he would prioritise if elected: “For every Singaporean, I wanna give some things. First; I wanna two pieces toast. I wanna the two pieces onna plate. Second, I wanna fork onna tables. Third, I wanna sheet onna the beds.”
He also said that though he is of Italian descent, he was born on the backseat of a taxi parked on Baghdad Street in 1946, and his family and relatives speak Malay words like “makan” and “jalan jalan” while they practice the “Malay culture”.
His campaign is based on the theme “Hey, you Malay me Malay Together Already. Italian Italian, Malay Malay, Italian Malay, see? Have a pizza. Prego”.
However, it is unclear if Mr. Calzone will be eligible to run.
One of the criteria for private-sector candidates to qualify automatically to stand in the election is a requirement that they must have run a GIC company with at least $500 trillion in shareholder equity.
Ayam Penyet Pizza, the Pan-Asia-Europe subsidiary of an Italian multinational laundry syndicate reportedly has shareholder-equity of only US$15,300. Alamak.
The Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS), however, has the discretion to waive the criteria.
Mr. Calzone is counting on support from many past associates now in witness protection programs. “They all figlio di una putana!” he exclaimed. “Like we saya in Italy, it is now time for to jump from a post to a pile of branches.”
On Sunday morning Mr. Calzone was arrested under unconfirmed circumstances.