Constitutional Commission hearing on elected presidency: Submission by Jaclyn Neo and Swati Jhaveri

Assistant professors Jaclyn Neo (left) and Swati Jhaveri at the Constitutional Commission hearing on elected presidency on April 26, 2016.
Assistant professors Jaclyn Neo (left) and Swati Jhaveri at the Constitutional Commission hearing on elected presidency on April 26, 2016.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

SINGAPORE - To ensure there is minority representation in the office of the president, the various councils and committees that advice the president and decide on presidential candidates should also have minority members, said two law professors from the National University of Singapore.

This means measures should be put in place to ensure that people from minority races are appointed to the Council of Presidential Advisers, the Presidential Elections Committee and the Presidential Council for Minority Rights.

This suggestion was made by assistant professors Jaclyn Neo and Swati Jhaveri, who were speaking at the Constitutional Commission hearing on the elected presidency on Tuesday.

 

Dr Jhaveri said this is "part of a holistic view of safeguarding minority representation".

But Chief Justice Sudaresh Menon, who chairs the commission, asked if this approach would be "too interventionist". He said the reason it is important for there to be a minority president from time to time is because of the president's special symbolic role. He questioned if there was a similar need for minority members to be entrenched in the councils and committee related to the president's office.