19 groups, individuals to speak at Constitutional Commission's public hearings on elected presidency

A total of 19 groups and individuals will be giving their views on proposed changes to the elected presidency across four public hearings.
A total of 19 groups and individuals will be giving their views on proposed changes to the elected presidency across four public hearings. PHOTO: ST FILE
Former Cabinet minister S. Dhanabalan will be giving his view on the proposed changes.
Former Cabinet minister S. Dhanabalan will be giving his view on the proposed changes. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A total of 19 groups and individuals will give their views on proposed changes to the elected presidency, at four public hearings to be held in April and May.

Among them are former Cabinet minister S. Dhanabalan, academics and groups such as The Eurasian Association and the Association of Women for Action and Research.

The Constitutional Commission formed to review Singapore's elected presidency had invited 20 groups and individuals who had contributed written submissions on the matter, to speak at the hearings.

In a statement on Thursday (April 14), the commission said 19 of them had said yes.

The Workers' Party had declined to participate as it intends to debate the matter in Parliament, the commission added.

The nine-member Commission had received a little over 100 written submissions on the elected presidency, after it invited the public to send in their views on Feb 18 this year.

It said it "has carefully considered all submissions and has decided to invite a number of contributors to make oral representations clarifying or elaborating on their written submissions".

The commission, led by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, expects to submit its recommendations by the third quarter of this year.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said during the debate on the Presidential Address at the opening of Parliament this year that the President had to remain elected, but that certain aspects of the process had to be reviewed.

The growth in Singapore's reserves, of which the President is custodian, means that individuals with character as well as competence are needed, he had said.

There is also another consideration: the need for candidates from minority races to get a chance to be elected from time to time.

The public hearings, to be held at the Supreme Court auditorium, are scheduled for April 18, 22, 26 and May 6, between 9.30am and 5pm.

They will be open to the public.

The Commission said in its statement that those attending should be properly dressed, and should not wear singlets, shorts, bermudas, slippers and any clothing with controversial and inflammatory slogans or messages.

Those wearing any other attire deemed inappropriate by the Commission secretariat will also not be allowed in.

Taking of photographs, shooting of videos or making of audio recordings are also not allowed at the hearings.