Elected Presidency review

Public's views must be given considerable weight

The nine-member Constitutional Commission appointed by the Government to review our Elected Presidency (EP) has to work within the given terms of reference, which cover three areas: eligibility of presidential candidacy, safeguarding minority representation in the EP, and the framework governing the exercise of the elected president's custodial powers ("Nine-member panel to review Elected Presidency"; Feb 11, and "How to give your feedback on Elected Presidency"; yesterday).

The reports said the commission would consult the people in its work.

As the EP is part of our political system, let us hope that the review commission will give considerable weight to the public's aspirations and opinions of the EP institution in its deliberation.

To achieve this, the modus operandi of the review commission should be more open and informal in certain circumstances.

The commission should also identify weaknesses or shortcomings of the existing setting and rules.

Though no big changes with regard to the roles of the EP are expected, the final outcome of this review will likely have a great impact on the development of our political culture in the long term.

Much can be learnt from the 2011 Presidential Election by researching news reports, commentaries and opinions in the media.

Though no big changes with regard to the roles of the EP are expected, the final outcome of this review will likely have a great impact on the development of our political culture in the long term.

The commission must come up with ideas on how to enhance the presidency to better serve the nation for many years to come.

Let us hope the Government and the review commission will adopt a longer-term perspective, taking into account foreseeable future trends, and allow a wider spectrum of views in making these important changes to our political system.

Ng Ya Ken

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2016, with the headline 'Public's views must be given considerable weight'. Print Edition | Subscribe