Constitutional Commission on elected presidency: Rey Foo's submission

Lawyer Rey Foo at the Constitutional Commission hearing on April 22, 2016.
Lawyer Rey Foo at the Constitutional Commission hearing on April 22, 2016. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE - The electoral process for the presidency was the focus of lawyer Rey Foo Jong Han as he spoke at the Constitutional Commission hearing on Friday (April 22).

Mr Foo, 49, said in his written submission that candidates should refrain from making "grandiose promises" and proposed that candidates must declare they will not be making populist statements or promises that are outside the powers of the president to fulfil.

To enforce this, he suggested that a tribunal be set up to look into complaints of breaches.

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon noted that this was similar to the role of an Election Judge who looks into wrongdoing during elections.

 

The Commission then discussed the viability of such an arrangement. Former Parliament Speaker Abdullah Tarmugi said if the public could submit complaints, there could be an overwhelming number. On the other hand, if only candidates could raise complaints, the process could be politicised.

Near the end of his time, Mr Foo summed up his concern: "The electoral process for the elected presidency should be of an entirely different flavour as compared to a normal general election for parliamentary seats.

"The whole reason being the office of the elected president has limited powers enshrined by the Constitution. The style of election that has been conducted in the past election was very similar to the political type of election. I don't think that should be the case."