Commission's terms of reference

Former Cabinet minister S. Dhanabalan (seated, with back to camera) speaking at a Constitutional Commission hearing on the elected presidency. The commission's members are (from left) Mr Chua Thian Poh, Mr Abdullah Tarmugi, Mr Wong Ngit Liong, Justic
Former Cabinet minister S. Dhanabalan (seated, with back to camera) speaking at a Constitutional Commission hearing on the elected presidency. The commission's members are (from left) Mr Chua Thian Poh, Mr Abdullah Tarmugi, Mr Wong Ngit Liong, Justice Tay Yong Kwang, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Mr Eddie Teo, Mr Peter Seah, Professor Chan Heng Chee and Mr Philip Ng.ST FILE PHOTO

In January, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that he would appoint a Constitutional Commission to study and recommend improvements to the elected presidency.

The nine-member panel's terms of reference spanned three areas.

First, review the eligibility criteria for presidential candidates. It had to consider the president's custodial role over the reserves and public service, and ensure individuals had the character, experience and ability to do the job with "dignity and distinction".

Second, recommend provisions to ensure minority candidates have "fair and adequate opportunity" to be elected, given the president's status as a unifying figure who represents a multiracial Singapore.

Third, consider refinements to the role and composition of the Council of Presidential Advisers. This is to ensure that key decisions are made after careful consideration by people with substantial and suitable experience in the public and private sectors.

Formally appointed on Feb 10, the panel was chaired by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon. The remaining eight members are:

•Public Service Commission chairman Eddie Teo;

•Supreme Court Judge Tay Yong Kwang;

•Former Speaker of Parliament Abdullah Tarmugi;

•Ambassador-at-Large Chan Heng Chee;

•Mr Chua Thian Poh, chairman and CEO of Ho Bee Land;

• Mr Philip Ng, CEO of Far East Organization;

•Mr Peter Seah, chairman of DBS Bank; and

• Mr Wong Ngit Liong, chairman and CEO of Venture Corporation. The commission invited people to submit their views from Feb 18 to March 21, and received more than 100 written submissions.

It heard oral representations from 19 individuals and groups at public hearings that took place over four days in April and May.

It gave the report to PM Lee on Aug 17, six months after its appointment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2016, with the headline 'Commission's terms of reference'. Print Edition | Subscribe