Thursday, 25 August 2016

Changes to the Elected Presidency Scheme

Update 9 Sep 2016: Panel proposes key changes to elected presidency

Significant changes are set to be made to the elected presidency to ensure candidates are amply qualified & representative of Singapore's multi-racial society.

A Constitutional Commission has suggested that the bar to contest presidential elections be updated to reflect the growth of the economy & the national reserves.

Candidates from the private sector should have been the top executive of a company with at least $500 million in shareholders' equity, a change from the current rule requiring the person to have been chairman or chief executive of a company with paid-up capital of at least $100 million.

related:
Panel floats idea of returning to an appointed president
Raising bar on eligibility to ensure experience, expertise for the job
Safeguard to ensure minority president from time to time
Greater weight urged for council of advisers
What proposals might mean for 2011 contenders



4 things you should know about the elected-presidency report

The S'pore Government has accepted in principle the main recommendations of the Constitutional Commission, which released a report on Sep 7 on proposed changes to the Elected Presidency (EP). These changes were proposed after months of deliberations by a committee chaired by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.

Upon its release, President Tony Tan Keng Yam said that he was confident that the amendments "will be a milestone for Singapore in ensuring that the EP scheme stays relevant with time and our local context"
  • Tighten eligibility criteria to ensure expertise and experience
  • Reserve elections to ensure minority president
  • Greater role for Council of Presidential Advisers
  • Implementing appointed presidency
read more

Sweeping changes proposed for Elected Presidency
Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon at the Constitutional Commission's public hearing on specific aspects of the Elected Presidency at the Supreme Court Auditorium on April 26, 2016. TODAY file foto

After 6 months of deliberations, the Constitutional Commission tasked to review specific aspects of the Elected Presidency has put up wide-ranging recommendations including a “hiatus-triggered” mechanism to safeguard minority representation, significantly raising the bar for prospective candidates and requiring the President to consult his advisers on all fiscal matters & key public service appointments.

The commission’s 154-page report, which was submitted to the Government last month, was made public by the Government on Wednesday (Sep 7). The nine-member commission led by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon was formed in February & had mulled over ideas culled from four public hearings and more than 100 written submissions.

The commission was asked to study the eligibility criteria for presidential candidacy, safeguarding minority representation in the presidency, & the framework governing the exercise of the President’s custodial powers.

related:
Govt reiterates need for President to have mandate
No lowering of criteria when it comes to eligibility for minority
Possible ways to ensure all major races are represented
Key recommendations by the Constitutional Commission
Proposal to have legal expert on bigger PE Committee
Key recommendations by the Constitutional Commission
Strengthening the Council of Presidential Advisers
Campaigning rules needed to prevent misinformation, Com says



Major changes proposed to elected president system

THE report by a group of 9 Singaporeans tasked to review the elected presidency system was made public on Wed, containing a draft of proposals that are likely to significantly change the landscape of future elections for the highest office in the land.

The Constitutional Commission, headed by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, took 6 months to complete its work and submitted the 154-page document to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong 3 weeks ago.

The government is studying the recommendations and will publish a White Paper with its detailed responses on September 15. The plan is to later table a Constitutional Amendment Bill in parliament & have a full debate in the House on the issue.

related:
Threshold increased for candidates from private sector
'Reserved' elections to guarantee a minority president
Commission calls for bigger CPA - 8 members, up from 6
EP review: Safeguard needed if no minority president after 5 terms
Disruption is 'defining challenge' to economy, says PM Lee
Race remains a factor in elections: PM Lee




Elected presidency: Proposed changes and reasons

The bar for eligibility of Presidential candidates will be raised if these recommendations come into effect:
  • THE CHANGES
  • COMPANY WORTH
  • JOB LENGTH
  • PERFORMANCE
  • DESIGNATION
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Enough qualified Singaporeans of all races to run for president: PM Lee Hsien Loong
Singapore's PM Lee Hsien Loong during the 14th ASEAN-India Summit in Vientiane on Sep 8, 2016

Mr Lee had been asked if there were enough qualified Malay candidates for the elected presidency, after the government accepted in-principle on Wednesday the main recommendations of the Constitutional Commission that reviewed the elected presidency
  • "There are qualified Malays, there are qualified Singaporeans of all races,"
  • "Furthermore, we minimise the risk that we will not have minorities become president from time to time," he said, referring to another recommendation by the commission that an election be reserved for a particular race if no one from that racial group had been elected president for 30 years.
  • "That is very important - I've explained this multiple times - and that's the fundamental reason why I asked the commission to study how we can make an arrangement so that we make sure that minorities get a chance to be president from time to time.
read more

Full Coverage:
CCR released; key changes proposed to elected presidency
EP report: 4 things to know about the proposed changes
Panel proposes key changes to elected presidency
Sweeping changes proposed for Elected Presidency
Major changes proposed to elected president system
EP: Broad changes to tighten eligibility criteria proposed
Gov accepts in principle main recommendations on changes: PM Lee
'Incongruous' to defer EP changes until after next presidential election
Elected presidency: Proposed changes and reasons
4 things you should know about the elected-presidency report
Changes to President's veto power, strengthening advisers' role proposed
Elected presidency: Why five terms?
Bigger Council of Presidential Advisers with more responsibilities
Commission proposes tighter eligibility criteria for candidates
A major upgrade to the elected presidency
Tougher criteria required as EP needs to make large-scale, complex calls
Back to appointed President? No chance
Difficult for President to exercise custodial powers without mandate
Idea of having run-off elections rejected
EP: Govt reiterates need for President to have mandate
Proposal to have legal expert on bigger PE Committee
Why was there no mention of gender in the Commission's report
Would the three Tans qualify?
Key changes proposed to elected presidency
Are the changes to Elected Presidency meant to bar certain
Panel proposes key changes to elected presidency
Changes to elected presidency soon,
6 things to know about Singapore's elected presidency
Elected presidency report: 4 things to know about the proposed
Major changes proposed to elected president system, Gov
Changes to EP needed as race still matters in politics
Major changes proposed for Elected Presidency
Sweeping changes proposed for Elected Presidency
Panel proposes key changes to elected presidency
Elected presidency: Proposed changes and reasons
4 things you should know about the EP report
Changes to President's veto power, strengthening advisers' role
Major changes proposed to elected president system
Sweeping changes proposed for Elected Presidency
Are the changes to EP meant to bar certain
Changes to EP not meant to keep out 'difficult' people
Changes to elected presidency: Govt likely to have leeway on
Only silent majority agrees with PM Lee on changes to elected
Changes to elected presidency needed as race still matters in
PM Lee offers preview of elected presidency report
Elected presidency report: 4 things to know about the proposed
Elected presidency report: Broad changes to tighten eligibility
Changes to elected presidency: Provision for minority president
Proposed changes a milestone in ensuring elected presidency
Changes to elected presidency soon
Important for Singapore to have minority race President
Elected presidency: Proposed changes may be at odds with spirit of
Youth dialogue on coming changes to elected presidency
Minority netizens disagree with Minister Ong Ye Kun's case for
Elected presidency report: What proposals might mean for 2011
Only a political decision will disqualify Tan Cheng Bock


Changes to the Elected Presidency Scheme
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivers the National Day Rally 2016 speech at ITE College Central on Aug 21. ST FOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Spore's Constitution will soon be changed to ensure that ethnic minorities are elected as president from time to time.

Individuals who want to run for president will also have to meet stricter requirements.

Announcing the impending changes, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the Government accepts in principle the recommendations of the High-Level panel to review the elected presidency.

related:
Need to ensure a minority president from time to time
Weight of President's job increased, so qualifying criteria require update
PM hopes Chinese community will support changes


read more

Changes to the Elected Presidency Scheme

In his National Day Rally speech, PM Lee said that multiracialism is our founding ideal, the reason for our independence, and the basis on which Singapore was built. In fact, the social harmony that Singapore enjoys today is the result of the Pioneer Generation, especially the strong commitment from the Chinese community which worked together with the government to build the foundations of a multi-racial and harmonious society. Everyone has worked hard together to strengthen multiracialism, while ensuring that each group can preserve its own culture and identity.

PM Lee noted that everyone instinctively understands the importance of multiracialism, and the need to be inclusive and to compromise so as to maintain our social harmony. This includes being accommodating in our cultural and religious practices, as well as in accommodating one another’s food preferences.

PM Lee said that there are other ways to realise the ideal of multiracialism. This includes strengthening our political system so that everyone can identify themselves with Singapore, and for all races to feel that the system is fair.

read more

Constitutional Commission completes review of Elected Presidency

The Constitutional Commission that was tasked to review the system by which Singapore's President is elected announced on Wed (Aug 17) that they have completed their work & have submitted their report to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

"The Commission wishes to thank all contributors for the thought & care put into their submissions and representations. The diversity of views expressed greatly benefited the Commission in its work," the Secretariat of the Constitutional Commission said.

In a separate press release, the Prime Minister's Office said Mr Lee has received the report. He also thanked the Commission's Chairman, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, & other members for the deliberation and care with which they have carried out their tasks.

read more

First hearing today on changes to elected presidency

The hearings on proposed changes to the elected presidency will start today, with at least four academics and a researcher set to speak on the matter.

They are Singapore Management University law dons Eugene Tan and Jack Lee, Institute of Policy Studies senior research fellow Mathew Mathews, academic Loke Hoe Yeong from the European Union Centre in Singapore, and human rights researcher Brian Chang.

The five are among 19 individuals and groups who will give their views at four hearings on the elected presidency, instituted in 1991.

read more

Why no women on the Presidential scene? AWARE asks Constitutional Commission

Women’s rights group AWARE took issue with the glaring lack of women on the Presidential scene as public hearings held by the Constitutional Commission on the Elected Presidency got underway on Mon (Apr 18).

AWARE kicked off its presentation with an image captioned “All the President’s men”, showing current President Tony Tan Keng Yam surrounded by the 6-member Council of Presidential Advisers – all of which are men.

Executive director of AWARE, Ms Corinna Lim, pointed out that this was the case despite there being “many highly qualified women (and) female talent at the highest levels”.

read more

AWARE on the elected presidency
The following letter is by AWARE on the elected presidency:

We agree that the representation of diverse races in political leadership is important, and welcome the greater recognition that racism and prejudice are urgent and enduring problems that require proactive solutions.

Members of minority groups need to see people like themselves being represented meaningfully in important public institutions.

This applies to women, too. Singapore has not reached a stage where we are free from gender biases—some unconsciously held—that limit women's chances to participate fully in the political sphere. For example, some still believe that mothers do not belong in politics because of childcare.

read more

PM Lee quote his father to fix the Presidential election

“This is not a Malay Singapore, not an Indian Singapore, not a Chinese Singapore. This is for everyone.”

Quoting his father Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that it is necessary to fix the upcoming Presidential election and allow only the Malay race to contest this round because it is their turn. PM Lee Hsien Loong then went on to explain using unrelated reasonings why he is re-writing the country’s Constitution:

“The symbolism of the President must ring true with the day to day experience of Singaporeans living in our multi-racial society. In many other societies, multi-racialism are celebrated on stage during occasions such as independence days but they are “not a reality”. “But in Singapore, (the racial relations we experience) in real life have to match and do match what we celebrate on National Day. When people incite division and misunderstanding between different races or religions, we have to act firmly against them…This is one of the areas where we are hypersensitive and it is a no-go.”

read more

Elected Presidency: Symbolism must ring true in S'poreans' daily experience, says PM Lee

In a White Paper put up last week, the Government broadly accepted recommendations put up by the Constitutional Committee tasked to review various aspects of the EP scheme, including a "hiatus triggered" mechanism where presidential elections will be reserved for a particular race which has not been represented in the office for five consecutive terms.

Mr Lee said: "Racial harmony is one of the major motivations for us to make changes to the Elected Presidency... Every citizen must feel that one of his community can become President and regularly does become President because that is a symbol representing all of us."

He quoted the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's words on the Republic's first national day in 1965: "This is not a Malay Singapore, not an Indian Singapore, not a Chinese Singapore. This is for everyone." The symbolism of the President "must ring true with the day to day experience of Singaporeans living in our multi-racial society", stressed Mr Lee.

read more

UN General Assembly Opening Session

UN chief delivered hard-hitting final Speech warning leaders not to rewrite Constitution
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivered a hard-hitting Speech in his tenth and final speech at the U.N. General Assembly. His Speech was directed against a host of world leaders from Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to South Sudan’s Salva Kiir Mayardit

In the Speech filled with frustration, Ban charged that: “In too many places, we see leaders rewriting constitutions, manipulating elections and taking other desperate steps to cling to power.”

Adding: “My message to all is clear: serve your people. Do not subvert democracy; do not pilfer your country’s resources; do not imprison and torture your critics.”


Although the Government of Singapore has changed the Republic’s Constitution a few times (including a pending change to the Elected Presidency scheme); although the ruling party has been accused of gerrymandering elections to give itself an unfair advantage to cling onto power; although citizens who have been detained without trial allege torture; it is highly unlikely that Ban was targeting Singapore in his Speech.

read more

Full Coverage:
Why changed the constitution everytime it suffers electoral defeats?
Submission to the Constitutional Commission on Elected Presidency
NDR 2016: PM Lee says changes to Elected Presidency needed to
Maruah rejects changes to Elected President rules | TODAYonline
Changes to elected presidency soon

Final public hearing on changes to Elected Presidency yields diverse
The Elected Presidency: 3 aspects under review - Channel NewsAsia
PM calls on Chinese community to support proposed EP changes
Powers of the President of Singapore - Wikipedia
Differences between Government and first directly elected President
Netizens call out move to debar Dr Tan Cheng Bock from Presidential
PM calls on Chinese community to support proposed EP changes
6 things to know about Singapore's Elected Presidency, Politics News
The Elected Presidency: 3 aspects under review - Channel NewsAsia
The roles and reality of Singapore's Elected Presidency - NUS News
New Elected Presidency for Singapore: Is an update or rethink really
'Why I can and should be Singapore's next President' - The Middle
Submission to Constitutional Commission – Elected Presidency
Lee Hsien Loong to change criteria for Presidential Election | States
The race to the 2017 Presidential Election has started, you just haven't
Let's talk about policy failures and the elected presidency
Elected Presidency and proposed changes | The New Paper
Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong for ensuring minority representation
Singapore's Elected Presidency. Is there a need to change the system
Tweaking the Singapore Presidential Election System - IPS Commons
The Straits Times - Need to ensure a minority president from
Ensuring minority representation in EP delicate problem that must
Leadership succession takes on fresh urgency as big challenges loom
NDR 2016: PM Lee hopes Chinese community can support changes
Mixed-race teams for presidential contest most plausible approach
Why Singapore needs a minority president from time to time
Panel submits report on elected presidency
PM hopes Chinese community will support changes
Commentary: The roles and reality of Spore's Elected Presidency
Standing together to face down challenges
NDR 2016: Pressing for a minority president
Race issue on Elected President: A convenient excuse to head off
Majority willing to accept president or PM of another race, but prefer
PM Lee Hsien Loong announces changes: 6 things to know about
PM Lee Hsien Loong moots changes to GRC, NCMP, Elected
SDP: Reform, not adjust, the election system
The Straits Times - Changes to political system to prepare
A closer look at NCMP, Elected Presidency reforms
Updated benchmarks needed for future presidential candidates: PM

Why The President Had To Be A Malay Always
Elected President – What is the truth?
The Divine Curse and Radical Change
Animal Farm: What if the pigs were public-spirited?


related:

State Funeral for ex-President SR Nathan

Ong’s contender Chua Kim Yeow in Spore's 1st Presidential Election Also died

A Tribute to Singapore’s First Elected President
redwire-singapore-ong-teng-cheong-first-elected-president-t
SM Emeritus Goh Chok Tong recognisd Ong Teng Cheong as Spore's 1st Elected President

redwire singapore ong teng cheong first elected president goh chok tong 2
The National Library Board calls Ong Teng Cheong Singapore’s first president to be elected into office

redwire-singapore-ong-teng-cheong-first-elected-president-7
HistorySG, a government-run portal called Ong Teng Cheong the first elected president

redwire singapore ong teng cheong first elected president 5
Our National Archives shows that Ong took part in and won Singapore’s first presidential election

redwire-singapore-ong-teng-cheong-first-elected-president-8
Then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong also called Ong Teng Cheong Singapore’s first elected president in a condolence letter to to Ong Teng Cheong’s wife on his passing in 2002

redwire singapore ong teng cheong first elected president 3
The Istana website calls Ong Teng Cheong the first president to be popularly elected by the people

redwire singapore ong teng cheong first elected president 6
Even international news calls Ong Teng Cheong Singapore’s first elected president

redwire-singapore-ong-teng-cheong-president-x813
So, government records say Ong Teng Cheong is Singapore’s first elected president

read more

related: An Indian Muslim can be a Malay but a Malay Christian cannot be a Malay
Elected President: CC vs AGC
2017 Presidential Election to be reserved for Malay candidates
Public Forum on Elected Presidency cancelled due to poor response
White Paper on Elected Presidency scheme
Spore push for minority President but not ready for non-Chinese PM
Changes to the Elected Presidency Scheme