Allow thorough debate on proposals

With the conclusion of the hearings involving the 19 individuals and groups invited to give their views on proposed changes to the elected presidency, we eagerly await the Constitutional Commission's recommendations to the Government.

Based on past practice, it is expected that our Government will, in principle, accept the recommendations.

Prior to its acceptance, though, since changes to the elected presidency will have manifest consequences for Singapore, it is prudent to ensure that the remaining processes continue to be transparent and representative, and that deliberations by Parliament bear greater legitimacy.

Here, perhaps two things could be considered.

First, the commission should enable easy public access to the rest of the more than 100 submissions it received.

It is natural for the public to wonder what has been proposed and articulated in the bulk of the submissions.

Second, would the Government consider lifting the Whip when this issue is later debated in Parliament?

If this can be done, all MPs, after securing feedback from their constituencies, can speak and vote freely, according to their conscience and what they consider best for Singapore.

Hussin Mutalib (Associate Professor)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2016, with the headline 'Allow thorough debate on proposals'. Print Edition | Subscribe