9-member Constitutional Commission formed to review Elected Presidency

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon will head a nine-man committee tasked to review the Elected Presidency system. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Nine members have been appointed to the Constitutional Commission which will review the Elected Presidency system ahead of the polls due to be called by August 2017.

The Commission, chaired by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, will look into three key aspects of the system, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement on Wednesday (Feb 10).

These areas are to keep the eligibility criteria for potential candidates up to date, to beef up the powers of the Council of Presidential Advisers, and to ensure minority candidates have a chance to be elected.

The Commission will consult the public and make recommendations on improving the system by the third quarter of this year.

CJ Menon said: "It is a great honour to be entrusted with the responsibility of studying this matter and furnishing our recommendations to the Prime Minister.

"I look forward to working closely with the distinguished citizens who have been appointed to the Commission and who will bring with them the valuable perspectives of their diverse backgrounds and experience. We will undertake and complete our work with due care and expedition."

The other eight members who have been appointed to the Commission led by CJ Menon are:

- Justice Tay Yong Kwang, Judge, Supreme Court

- Mr Eddie Teo, Chairman, Public Service Commission

- Mr Abdullah Tarmugi, Member, Presidential Council for Minority Rights

- Professor Chan Heng Chee, Chairman, Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities, Singapore University of Technology and Design

- Mr Chua Thian Poh, Chairman and CEO, Ho Bee Land

- Mr Philip Ng, CEO, Far East Organization

- Mr Peter Seah, Chairman, DBS Bank

- Mr Wong Ngit Liong, Chairman and CEO, Venture Corporation

The Supreme Court said in a separate statement on Wednesday that CJ Menon has established Senior Assistant Registrar Christopher Tan as a Secretariat to assist the Commission in its work.

Mr Tan will in turn be assisted by Mr Shaun Pereira and Mr Ramasamy Nachiappan, who are both Assistant Registrars of the Supreme Court.

The Government's intention to appoint the Commission - for only the second time in independent Singapore's history - was first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at last month's debate on the President's Address.

The Commission will, according to its Terms of Reference, review the qualifying process for potential presidential candidates.

In doing so, it will consider whether existing provisions are adequate, taking into account the President's custodial role in safeguarding financial reserves, and the need to ensure that those eligible for candidacy are individuals of character and standing.

It will also make recommendations to "safeguard minority representation in the Presidency", taking into account the President's status as a unifying figure that represents multi-racial Singapore, and the need to ensure minority candidates "have fair and adequate opportunity to be elected to Presidential office".

Lastly, it will also review the framework governing the exercise of the President's custodial powers, particularly the role and composition of the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA), which is an independent body to counsel and advise the President on the exercise of his powers.

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