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    Feb 11, 2016

    CJ leads review group on Elected Presidency

    NINE members have been appointed to a Constitutional Commission which will review the Elected Presidency system ahead of the polls due to be called by August next year.

    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 yesterday.

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

    Members of the public will be invited to submit their views and ideas. No timeline was given but Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has told Parliament he hoped the Commission could make its recommendations by the third quarter of the 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, a judge in the Supreme Court

    Eddie Teo, chairman of the Public Service Commission

    Abdullah Tarmugi, a member of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights

    Chan Heng Chee, chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities at the Singapore University of Technology and Design

    Chua Thian Poh, chairman and CEO of Ho Bee Land

    Philip Ng, CEO of Far East Organization

    Peter Seah, chairman of DBS Bank

    Wong Ngit Liong, chairman and CEO of Venture Corporation

    The Government's intention to appoint the Commission - for only the second time in independent Singapore's history - was first announced by PM Lee 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 who represents multi-racial Singapore, and the need to ensure that 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 CPA, which is an independent body to counsel and advise the President on the exercise of his powers.