Address misperceptions, increase transparency

The Constitutional Committee did a wonderful job with its report on the elected presidency (EP), considering the tight schedule it had ("Panel proposes key changes to elected presidency"; Thursday).

Limited by the terms of reference, the committee did not deal with other weaknesses or misperceptions of the EP system in detail. Since a president is mandated through an election, some may think that the EP system is a full-fledged "check and balance" system, like the role played by opposition parties in Parliament, rather than a custodial mechanism mainly in the spending of national reserves.

The EP was introduced in 1991 but many of us are still not familiar with the way it works within our political system.

The process could be more transparent. For instance, the president and prime minister could settle any differences and come to an agreement behind closed doors, but citizens should know what compromises have been made, if any.

This will help dispel the perception that a president who has close associations with the Government cannot perform his duty independently.

Albert Ng Ya Ken

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2016, with the headline 'Address misperceptions, increase transparency'. Print Edition | Subscribe