Top Stories


    Sep 16, 2016

    Stricter checks of candidates by beefed-up committee

    POTENTIAL presidential candidates will have their reputation, character and integrity assessed more stringently by the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC), which will also double in size and be given more powers.

    These were among the Constitutional Commission recommendations the Government accepted in its White Paper yesterday.

    With the change, applicants will have to detail their work experience and accomplishments before they are given a Certificate of Eligibility.

    The commission had suggested, for example, that relevant information could include their involvement in community activities or initiatives demonstrating engagement with ethnic groups other than their own.

    Applicants would also be required to list any "negative incidents", such as disciplinary proceedings by professional bodies and market regulators in and out of Singapore, bankruptcy orders, personal protection orders for family violence and whether they have been the subject of legal proceedings of any sort.

    In its report, the Constitutional Commission said applicants should disclose "matters pertaining to both the requirements of character and integrity, as well as to any other question of eligibility that the PEC may have to consider or decide upon".

    This is a step up from the current laws where a potential candidate need only declare his employment history, any previous convictions, and a description of his occupation and company.

    The Government also agreed with the commission that the PEC be strengthened too, to allow it to assess applicants more critically.

    The PEC, which has the final say on whether an applicant has satisfied the eligibility criteria, will be expanded from three to six members.

    It will be given more powers to ask for additional information from candidates, or revoke a candidate's Certificate of Eligibility if the person is found to have made false declarations, even after the person is elected president.