Survey on elected presidency

Most agree changes are in S'pore's interest

A government survey has found that two out of three Singaporeans felt proposed changes to the elected presidency were done in the best interest of Singapore.

The same proportion of citizens also agreed that the Government was sincere in reviewing the elected presidency scheme. These figures were highlighted by government feedback unit Reach yesterday, a day after Law Minister K. Shanmugam cited some results of the survey at an Institute of Policy Studies forum on the elected presidency.

The survey, conducted last month, found that 66 per cent of 1,058 citizens polled agreed that the proposed changes to the scheme were in the nation's best interest. As for the rest, 23 per cent were neutral and 7 per cent disagreed, while 4 per cent were unsure.

The survey also found that 67 per cent of respondents agreed the Government is sincere in reviewing the scheme, while 22 per cent were neutral, 6 per cent disagreed, and 5 per cent were unsure.

A Constitutional Commission reviewing the elected presidency proposed, among other things, to raise the eligibility criteria for candidates and have reserved elections for certain racial groups if nobody from that group had been elected president for five terms. The Government has accepted the proposals in a White Paper, and tabled a Constitutional amendment Bill that Parliament will debate on when it sits on Nov 7.

66%

Of 1,058 polled agreed that the proposed changes are in the best interest of Singapore.

67%

Of respondents agreed that the Government is sincere in reviewing the elected presidency scheme.

77%

Of respondents agreed that ensuring racial representation for the elected president is important for Singapore's multiracial society.

The Reach survey also found that 77 per cent agreed that ensuring racial representation for the elected president is important for Singapore's multiracial society. Nine per cent disagreed, while 12 per cent said they were neutral and 2 per cent were unsure.

Six in 10 agreed with the need to ensure minorities can be periodically elected as president. On this issue, 23 per cent were neutral, while 14 per cent disagreed. The remaining 3 per cent of respondents were unsure.

Last Friday, Mr Shanmugam noted that while Singapore has come a long way in racial harmony, race is still a factor in elections.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 23, 2016, with the headline 'Most agree changes are in S'pore's interest'. Print Edition | Subscribe