Constitutional Commission hearing on elected presidency: Jack Lee's submission

SMU law professor Jack Lee (second from right) speaking at the public hearing.
SMU law professor Jack Lee (second from right) speaking at the public hearing. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

SINGAPORE - Singapore Management University law professor Jack Lee called on Tuesday (April 26) for greater transparency in the workings of the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) and that its decisions should be better communicated with prospective candidates.

Candidates for the elected presidency should have the right to communicate with the PEC to "correct erroneous information about him" and be able to apply for a judicial review to challenge the PEC's if it decides not to issue a certificate of eligibility, Dr Lee said.

But Dr Lee agreed with commission member Chan Heng Chee that such a judicial review has to be limited in scope so as not to "surround the whole election with controversy and contestation".


Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon also said Dr Lee's proposal amounts to " vesting a political decision in the courts".

"Those are judgments the PEC makes, and I wonder if the courts are the best body to play that role when you have constructed a group of people in the PEC best-placed to play that role," he said.

Dr Lee also wants the PEC to provide detailed reasons to a candidate when he is found ineligible to run in a presidential election.

"It goes down to having a procedure for the candidate to validate his or her view and understands why he did not qualify," he said.