Changes to the elected presidency

Just who should hold the second key?

The Presidential Chair in the Istana.
The Presidential Chair in the Istana.
The panellists at the Straits Times roundtable were (above) Law Minister K. Shanmugam, Nominated MP Azmoon Ahmad, IPS deputy director (research) Gillian Koh and NUS law professor Cheah Wui Ling.
The panellists at the Straits Times roundtable were (above) Law Minister K. Shanmugam, Nominated MP Azmoon Ahmad, IPS deputy director (research) Gillian Koh and NUS law professor Cheah Wui Ling. MAIN PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
The panellists at the Straits Times roundtable were Law Minister K. Shanmugam, (above) Nominated MP Azmoon Ahmad, IPS deputy director (research) Gillian Koh and NUS law professor Cheah Wui Ling.
The panellists at the Straits Times roundtable were Law Minister K. Shanmugam, (above) Nominated MP Azmoon Ahmad, IPS deputy director (research) Gillian Koh and NUS law professor Cheah Wui Ling.
The panellists at the Straits Times roundtable were Law Minister K. Shanmugam, Nominated MP Azmoon Ahmad, IPS deputy director (research) Gillian Koh (above) and NUS law professor Cheah Wui Ling.
The panellists at the Straits Times roundtable were Law Minister K. Shanmugam, Nominated MP Azmoon Ahmad, IPS deputy director (research) Gillian Koh (above) and NUS law professor Cheah Wui Ling.
The panellists at the Straits Times roundtable were Law Minister K. Shanmugam, Nominated MP Azmoon Ahmad, IPS deputy director (research) Gillian Koh and NUS law professor Cheah Wui Ling (above) .
The panellists at the Straits Times roundtable were Law Minister K. Shanmugam, Nominated MP Azmoon Ahmad, IPS deputy director (research) Gillian Koh and NUS law professor Cheah Wui Ling (above) .

Has the qualifications bar for candidates been raised too high?

Does the reserved presidency for minorities conflict with meritocracy?

Are there sufficient checks and balances, bearing in mind that the elected president has custodial powers - the so-called "second key" safeguard mechanism - against a government that might wish to draw on past reserves?

 

These and other questions reared their head during a Straits Times roundtable discussion on Friday, a day after the Government released its White Paper accepting - with some modifications - recommendations put forward by the Constitutional Commission reviewing the elected presidency.

Insight reports on what the panel comprising two politicians, including Law Minister K. Shanmugam, and two academics had to say.

 

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 18, 2016, with the headline 'Just who should hold the second key?'. Print Edition | Subscribe