Constitutional Commission to Review Specific Aspects of the Elected Presidency

10 February 2016

 

During the debate on the President’s Address last month, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the Government’s intention to appoint a Constitutional Commission to study and make recommendations on aspects of the Elected Presidency relating to:

(1)    The qualifying process for Presidential candidates, particularly whether the eligibility criteria for such candidates should be updated, and if so how; 

(2)    The framework governing the exercise of the President’s custodial powers, including whether the views of the Council of Presidential Advisers can be given more weight, and if so how; and 

(3)    Ensuring that minorities have the chance to be periodically elected to Presidential office. 

The Commission has been appointed. It will be chaired by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, and comprises 8 other members from the private and public sectors, and the Judiciary. Its detailed composition and Terms of Reference are set out in the Annex

The Chairman of the Commission, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, said: “It is a great honour to be entrusted with the responsibility of studying this matter and furnishing our recommendations to the Prime Minister. I look forward to working closely with the distinguished citizens who have been appointed to the Commission and who will bring with them the valuable perspectives of their diverse backgrounds and experience. We will undertake and complete our work with due care and expedition.”

Members of the public will be invited to submit their views and ideas to the Commission in due course. 


PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE 
10 FEBRUARY 2016
 


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Annex

A.    Composition of Committee 

Chairman 

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon 

Members 

(1)    Justice Tay Yong Kwang 
Judge, Supreme Court 

(2)    Mr Eddie Teo 
Chairman, Public Service Commission 

(3)    Mr Abdullah Tarmugi
Member, Presidential Council for Minority Rights  

(4)    Professor Chan Heng Chee
Chairman, Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities, Singapore University of Technology and Design  

(5)    Mr Chua Thian Poh 
Chairman and CEO, Ho Bee Land Ltd

(6)    Mr Philip Ng 
CEO, Far East Organization 

(7)    Mr Peter Seah 
Chairman, DBS Bank Ltd 

(8)    Mr Wong Ngit Liong 
Chairman and CEO, Venture Corporation Ltd

 

B.    Terms of Reference 

(1)    To review the qualifying process for Presidential candidacy, particularly the eligibility criteria for such candidates.

To consider whether the existing provisions in these areas are adequate, taking into account: 

(i)    The President’s custodial role in safeguarding our financial reserves and the integrity of our public service; and

(ii)    The need to ensure that those eligible for candidacy are individuals of character and standing, who possess the experience and ability to discharge these duties and responsibilities of Presidential office with dignity and distinction.  

To recommend any refinements and amendments to the above-mentioned areas which are necessary in view of the considerations in (1)(i) and (ii) above. 

(2)    To consider and recommend what provisions should be made to safeguard minority representation in the Presidency, taking into account: 

(i)    The President’s status as a unifying figure that represents multi-racial Singapore; and

(ii)    The need to ensure that candidates from minority races have fair and adequate opportunity to be elected to Presidential office.   

(3)    To review the framework governing the exercise of the President’s custodial powers, particularly the role and composition of the Council of Presidential Advisers. 

To consider whether the existing provisions in these areas are adequate, taking into account: 

(i)    The custodial powers that the President is entrusted with, and the Council of Presidential Advisers’ central function as an independent body to counsel and advise the President on the exercise of his powers; and

(ii)    The need to safeguard our financial reserves and the integrity of our public service, and ensure that decisions in these areas are made with the support of careful consideration given by a group of persons with substantial suitable experience in the public and private sectors.

To recommend any refinements and amendments to the above-mentioned areas which are necessary in view of the considerations in (3)(i) and (ii) above. 

(4)    To receive and consider representations on (1) to (3) above. 

(5)    To prepare and submit a report of the Commission’s proceedings, findings and recommendations to the Prime Minister. In preparing this report, the Commission may seek legal or other professional advice and/or request for information, on any matters within its terms of reference. 

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