Debate In 2 Minutes

The House debated proposed changes to the elected presidency for the third and final day before Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean gave a round-up speech. Another 16 MPs made speeches on the issue for six hours, before the constitutional amendments were passed. MPs also had questions on public transport and private estate upgrading.

Bukit Panjang LRT

The authorities are studying a re-design of Bukit Panjang Station, its track layout and the routing of the LRT so that the trains do not need to continually switch tracks.

The authorities are also sourcing for new trains, power rail, signalling system and various other critical components to replace the current first-generation parts, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said yesterday.

LRT won't be scrapped The authorities are looking at improving the alignment of the Bukit Panjang LRT trains with the power rails. The line's reliability is "unsatisfactory'', said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

But replacing the LRT with a bus-only transport system is not a feasible option as the road network in Bukit Panjang cannot cope with the increased congestion, he said.

Estate upgrading

About $187 million has been set aside for upgrading 63 private estates under the Estate Upgrading Programme since the year 2000.

The average budget for each project is about $20 million, Minister of State for National Development Koh Poh Koon said.

New Bill on PMDs

People who ride their personal mobility devices (PMDs), like electric scooters, in a reckless manner could face stiff fines and jail terms under the Active Mobility Bill.

It proposes regulations for the sale of bicycles, PMDs and electric bicycles and how they are to be used on footpaths, shared paths and cycling paths.

Law Minister rebuts WP

Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam slammed the Workers' Party (WP) proposal for an elected senate to safeguard the nation's reserves instead of an elected president, calling the idea flawed and unworkable.

The WP had said the elected presidency - with its stringent eligibility criteria - was elitist in nature. But Mr Shanmugam pointed out that the WP MPs later said the senators would need to have the same qualifications as an elected president.

Changes to elected presidency get nod

After three days of debate and speeches by 38 MPs, Parliament passed amendments to the Constitution concerning the elected presidency.

All 77 PAP MPs present supported the changes, while the six elected WP MPs opposed them.

The changes will raise the eligibility criteria, expand the role of the Council of Presidential Advisers and introduce a five-term hiatus mechanism to ensure minority races can get elected as president.

Joanna Seow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 10, 2016, with the headline 'Debate In 2 Minutes'. Print Edition | Subscribe