President of Singapore

Last updated
President of the
Republic of Singapore
Singapore Presidental Crest.gif
Presidential coat-of-arms
Flag of the President of Singapore.svg
Presidential standard
Republic of Singapore President Halimah Yacob witnesses the program proper during her visit to the Philippine Eagle Center in Davao City on September 11, 2019 (cropped).jpg
Incumbent
Halimah Yacob

since 14 September 2017
Style Madam President
Her Excellency
Residence Istana
AppointerElected by Parliament (1965–1991)
Direct election
(since 1991)
Term length 6 years; renewable
Constituting instrument Constitution of Singapore, Article 17
Inaugural holder Yusof Ishak
Formation9 August 1965
Salary S$1,680,000 annually
Website istana.gov.sg
President of Singapore
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 新加坡共和國總統
Simplified Chinese 新加坡共和国总统
Malay name
Malay Presiden Republik Singapura
Tamil name
Tamil சிங்கப்பூர் குடியரசுத் தலைவர் Ciṅkappūr kuṭiyaracut talaivar
Coat of arms of Singapore.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Singapore
Constitution
Flag of Singapore.svg Singaporeportal

The President of the Republic of Singapore is the country's head of state. Singapore has a parliamentary system of government. The president is nominally vested with executive authority, but in practice that authority is exercised by the Cabinet led by the Prime Minister of Singapore. The current president is Halimah Yacob, who was elected unopposed at the 2017 presidential election. She is the first female president of Singapore and first Malay head of state in 47 years since the death of Yusof Ishak, Singapore's first president.

Contents

The national constitution sets strict eligibility conditions for the presidency. Before 1993, the president was chosen by the Parliament of Singapore. As a result of constitutional amendments passed in 1991, the presidency became a popularly elected office with certain custodial powers, particularly over government expenditure and key appointments to public offices. Wee Kim Wee was the first president to exercise custodial powers pursuant to the constitutional amendments of 1991. [1] The first president elected by popular vote was Ong Teng Cheong, who served from 1993 to 1999. In 2016, further amendments were passed providing for "reserved elections" for a particular community, if that community has not provided a president in the past five presidential terms. [2] [3]

History

The office of president was created in 1965 after Singapore became a republic upon its secession from the Federation of Malaysia that year. It replaced the office of Yang di-Pertuan Negara , which had been created when Singapore attained self-government in 1959. The last Yang di-Pertuan Negara, Yusof Ishak, became the first president. After his death he was replaced by Benjamin Sheares, who served until his death in 1981, when he was succeeded by Chengara Veetil Devan Nair. Owing to personal problems, Nair stepped down in 1985 and was replaced by Wee Kim Wee, who served as president until 1993.

In January 1991, the Constitution [4] was amended to provide for the popular election of the president, a major constitutional and political change in Singapore's history. Under the revision, the president is empowered to veto the use of the country's past reserves and key civil service appointments. The president can also examine the administration's enforcement of the Internal Security Act [5] and Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act, [6] and authorise corruption investigations (see below).

The first popularly elected president was Ong Teng Cheong, a former cabinet minister. He served as president from 1 September 1993 to 31 August 1999. However, the Singapore Government has, on the advice of the Attorney-General's Chambers, [7] deemed Ong's predecessor Wee Kim Wee the first elected president, on the basis that he had held and exercised the powers of the elected president. This was a result of transitional provisions in the Constitution of Singapore in 2017, [8] which were affirmed by the High Court following a legal challenge by presidential hopeful Tan Cheng Bock. [9] [10] [11] He appealed against this decision, but the Court of Appeal also dismissed it. [12]

The sixth president was S. R. Nathan. He was not elected by the people in a vote, but became president by virtue of being the sole candidate deemed qualified by the Presidential Elections Committee. His first term of office was from 1 September 1999 to 31 August 2005. He was re-elected on 17 August 2005; both his election came on walkovers without any opposing contestants. After he stepped down, Tony Tan won the 27 August 2011 presidential election by a narrow 0.34% margin. He was sworn in as the seventh president of Singapore on 1 September 2011.

The eighth and current president, Halimah Yacob, took office on 14 September 2017, becoming the first president elected as she was the sole eligible candidate under the new reform terms which took effect earlier that year. [13] She is also the first female President of Singapore. [14]

Constitutional position and role

The President is the head of state of Singapore. [15] The executive authority of the nation is vested in the President and exercisable by them or by the Cabinet or any minister authorised by the Cabinet. [16] However, the Constitution vests "general direction and control of the Government" in the Cabinet. [17] In most cases, the President is bound to exercise their powers in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or a minister acting under the Cabinet's general authority. [18] The President only exercises limited powers in their personal discretion [19] to block attempts by the government of the day to draw down past reserves it did not accumulate, to approve changes to key appointments, and to exercise oversight over the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau and decisions of the Executive under the Internal Security Act [5] and the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act. [6]

President S. R. Nathan speaking to Russian president Dmitry Medvedev during the latter's visit in 2009 Dmitry Medvedev in Singapore 15-16 November 2009-4.jpg
President S. R. Nathan speaking to Russian president Dmitry Medvedev during the latter's visit in 2009

As a component of the legislature together with Parliament, the President is also jointly vested with legislative authority. [20] The President's primary role in the exercise of legislative power to make laws is assenting to bills passed by Parliament. [21] As the President exercises this constitutional function in accordance with Cabinet's advice and not in their personal discretion except in certain circumstances, [22] in general he or she may not refuse to assent to bills that Parliament has validly passed. The words of enactment in Singapore statutes are: "Be it enacted by the President with the advice and consent of the Parliament of Singapore, as follows:". [23] The President usually opens each Parliamentary session with an address drafted by the Cabinet setting out the Government's agenda for the session, [24] and may address Parliament and send messages to it. [25]

The President has been called "Singapore's No. 1 diplomat". [26] Ambassadors and high commissioners accredited to Singapore present their credentials to the President, and the President is called upon by visiting foreign leaders. In addition, the President contributes to the nation's external relations by undertaking overseas trips on Cabinet's advice. Presidents have also used the office to champion charitable causes. Wee Kim Wee promoted sports and volunteerism; and Ong Teng Cheong culture and the arts, particularly music. In 2000, S.R. Nathan established the President's Challenge with the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports and its statutory board, the National Council of Social Service. As of 2011, the endeavour had raised more than S$100 million for charities supporting disabled and needy people. [26]

Powers

The President has personal discretion as to whether to approve budgets or financial transactions of specified statutory boards and Government companies that are likely to draw on past reserves. The Monetary Authority of Singapore, photographed here in September 2009, is one such statutory board. MASBuilding-Singapore-20090914.jpg
The President has personal discretion as to whether to approve budgets or financial transactions of specified statutory boards and Government companies that are likely to draw on past reserves. The Monetary Authority of Singapore, photographed here in September 2009, is one such statutory board.

The powers of the President of Singapore are divided into those which the President may exercise in their own discretion, and those their must exercise in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet of Singapore or of a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet. [27] In addition, the President is required to consult the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA) when performing some of his functions. In other cases, he or she may consult the CPA if he or she wishes to but is not bound to do so. [28]

The Constitution confers on the President certain executive functions to block attempts by the government of the day to draw down past reserves that it did not accumulate. Thus, a guarantee may only be given or a loan raised by the Government if the President concurs, [29] and his or her approval is also needed for budgets of specified statutory boards and Government companies that draw on their past reserves. [30] The President also possesses personal discretion to withhold assent to any bill in Parliament providing directly or indirectly for the direct or indirect variation, changing or increase in powers of the Central Provident Fund Board to invest moneys belonging to it; [31] and the borrowing of money, the giving of any guarantee or the raising of any loan by the Government if in the President's opinion the bill is likely to draw on reserves not accumulated by the Government during its current term of office. [32] In addition, the President may withhold assent to any Supply Bill, Supplementary Supply Bill or Final Supply Bill for any financial year if in his or her opinion the estimates of revenue and expenditure, supplementary estimates or statement of excess are likely to lead to a drawing on past reserves. [33]

The President is also empowered to approve changes to key civil service positions, such as the Chief Justice, the Attorney-General, the chairman and members of the Public Service Commission, the Chief of Defence Force and the Commissioner of Police. [34] He or she also appoints as Prime Minister a Member of Parliament (MP) who, in his or her personal judgment, is likely to command the confidence of a majority of MPs. [35] The President has certain powers of oversight over the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau [36] and decisions of the Executive under the Internal Security Act [37] and the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act. [38]

The term of office of the first elected president, Ong Teng Cheong (1993–1999), was marked by differences between him and the Government concerning the extent of his discretionary fiscal powers. [39] Discussions culminated in the Government issuing a non-binding white paper entitled The Principles for Determining and Safeguarding the Accumulated Reserves of the Government and the Fifth Schedule Statutory Boards and Government Companies (1999). [40] In 2009, the Government requested approval from President S.R. Nathan to draw $4.9 billion from past financial reserves to meet current budget expenditure, the first time it had done so. The sum was used to fund the Government's Resilience Package consisting of two schemes aimed at preserving jobs and businesses during the financial downturn. [41]

Election

Qualifications

A person who wishes to run for the office of president has to fulfil stringent qualifications set out in the Constitution, which are as follows:

(a) being and having been found or declared to be of unsound mind;
(b) being an undischarged bankrupt;
(c) holding an office of profit;
(d) having been nominated for election to Parliament or the office of President or having acted as election agent to a person so nominated, failing to lodge any return of election expenses required by law within the time and in the manner so required;
(e) having been convicted of an offence by a court of law in Singapore or Malaysia and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year or to a fine of not less than S$2,000 and having not received a free pardon, provided that where the conviction is by a court of law in Malaysia, the person shall not be disqualified unless the offence is also one which, had it been committed in Singapore, would have been punishable by a court of law in Singapore; [47]
(f) having voluntarily acquired the citizenship of, or exercised rights of citizenship in, a foreign country, or having made a declaration of allegiance to a foreign country; [48]
(g) being disqualified under any law relating to offences in connection with elections to Parliament or the office of President by reason of having been convicted of such an offence or having in proceedings relating to such an election been proved guilty of an act constituting such an offence.

The strictness of these qualifications led to the 1999, 2005, and 2017 elections being walkovers as only one candidate had qualified on nomination day. [55] [56]

In November 2016, further amendments provide for "reserved elections" for a particular racial group (Chinese, Malay and Indian/other minority) if that community has not been represented for five presidential terms. [57] [58] Other amendments were made to expand the list of key government companies eligible for the candidacy, [52] and, for candidates using their private sector experience, the use of $500 million of shareholder equity instead of $100 million in paid-up capital. [53] The changes went into effect in April 2017. [2] Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong later explained that while he expected the "reserved election" policy to be unpopular among the population, he believed it was "the right thing to do". [59]

As of 2018, the only ethnic group in Singapore that could benefit from a "reserved election" would be the country's Eurasian population, as the country's only Eurasian president, Benjamin Henry Sheares, served from 1971 to 1981, six presidential terms ago.

Election procedure

The Elections Department, which oversees elections in Singapore ElectionsDepartmentSG.JPG
The Elections Department, which oversees elections in Singapore

The President holds office for a term of six years from the date on which they assume office. [60] The office falls vacant upon the expiry of the incumbent's term or if the President is for some reason unable to complete their term; for example, due to death, resignation, or removal from office for misconduct or mental or physical infirmity. [61] If the office of President becomes vacant before the incumbent's term expires, a poll for an election must be held within six months. [62] In other cases, an election can take place any time from three months before the expiry of the incumbent's term of office. [63]

The procedure for elections is laid out in the Presidential Elections Act. [64] The process begins when the Prime Minister issues a writ of election to the returning officer specifying the date and place of nomination day. [65] Potential candidates must obtain certificates of eligibility from the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC), the function of which is to ensure that such persons have the necessary qualifications to be nominated as a candidate for the election. [66] In particular, the PEC must be satisfied that the potential candidates are persons of integrity, good character and reputation; [49] and if they have not previously held certain key government offices or acted as chairman of the board of directors or CEO of a company incorporated or registered under the Companies Act with shareholders' equity of at least $500 million, that they held a position of comparable seniority and responsibility in the public or private sector that has given them experience and ability in administering and managing financial affairs. [54] The PEC consists of the Chairman of the Public Service Commission, who is also the Chairman of the PEC, [67] the Chairman of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, and a member of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights. [68] For the 2017 presidential election, the members of the PEC are Eddie Teo (chairman), Lim Soo Hoon, Chan Heng Chee, Po'ad Shaik Abu Bakar Mattar, Tay Yong Kwang, and Peter Seah. [69]

In addition, candidates must obtain political donation certificates from the Registrar of Political Donations stating that they have complied with the Political Donations Act, [70] and file their nomination papers with the returning officer on nomination day. [71] A deposit must also be paid. [72] If there is only one candidate nominated, he or she is declared to have been elected president. [73] Otherwise, the returning officer issues a notice of contested election specifying when polling day will be. [74]

During the election period, a candidate may not spend more than $600,000 or 30 cents for each person on the electoral register, whichever is greater. [75] Permits must be obtained to hold election meetings [76] and display posters and banners, [77] and a number of acts are unlawful, including bribery, [78] dissuading electors from voting, [79] making false statements about candidates, [80] treating [81] and undue influence. [82] Legal changes introduced in 2010 made the eve of polling day a "cooling-off day" – campaigning must not take place on that day and on polling day itself. [83]

Polling day is a public holiday, [84] and voting is compulsory. [85] Voters must go to the polling stations assigned to them. [86] After the poll closes, the presiding officer of each polling station seals the ballot boxes without opening them. Candidates or their polling agents may also affix their own seals to the ballot boxes. [87] The ballot boxes are then taken to counting centres to be opened and the ballots counted. [88] A candidate or his or her counting agent may ask the returning officer for a recount of votes if the difference between the number of votes for the candidate with the most votes and any other candidate's number of votes is 2% or less. [89] After all counts, and recounts if any, have been completed, the returning officer ascertains whether the total number of electors registered to vote overseas is less than the difference between the number of votes for the two candidates with the highest number of votes. If so, the returning officer declares the candidate with the highest number of votes to be elected as President. If not, the overseas votes may be decisive. The returning officer then states the number of votes cast for each candidate and the date and location where the overseas votes will be counted. [90]

Last contested election

The 2011 presidential election was the first election with a ballot since the 1993 election, and was also Singapore's first presidential election contested by more than two candidates. The election was won by Tony Tan Keng Yam with 745,693 (35.19%) of valid votes.

e    d  Summary of the 27 August 2011 Singaporean presidential election results [91] [92] [93]
CandidateSymbolResults
Votes% of valid votes
Tony Tan Spectacles-SG2001-transparent.png 745,69335.20
 
Tan Cheng Bock Traveller's palm logo, Singaporean presidential election, 2011.svg 738,31134.85
 
Tan Jee Say Heart-SG2001-transparent.png 530,44125.04
 
Tan Kin Lian (Loses deposit) Hand-SG2001-transparent.png 104,0954.91
 
Valid votes2,118,54098.24% of total votes cast
Rejected votes37,8491.76% of total votes cast
Total votes cast2,156,389 Voter turnout: 94.8% of electorate
Absent118,384
Electorate2,274,773

Assumption of office and disabilities

The person elected to the office of president assumes office on the day his predecessor ceases to hold office or, if the office is vacant, on the day following his election. Upon his assumption of office, the President is required to take and subscribe in the presence of the Chief Justice or of another Justice of the Supreme Court the Oath of Office, which states: [94]

I, [name], having been elected President of the Republic of Singapore, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully discharge my duties as such to the best of my ability without fear or favour, affection or ill-will, and without regard to any previous affiliation with any political party, and that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Republic, and that I will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore.

Once elected, the President shall: [95]

Succession

In the case when the President is unable to perform their duties, their powers are temporarily transferred to the Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA). If the Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers is not available, the Speaker of the Parliament performs the duties of the President. If both are unavailable the presidential functions are performed by an individual appointed by the Parliament.

Salary and entitlements

President S. R. Nathan receiving United States Secretary of Defense William Cohen at the Istana William Cohen and S. R. Nathan at the Istana, Singapore.jpg
President S. R. Nathan receiving United States Secretary of Defense William Cohen at the Istana

The Parliament of Singapore is required to provide a civil list for the maintenance of the President, [96] and it does so by way of the Civil List and Gratuity Act. [97] With effect from 17 February 2012, the sum under Class I of the list, which includes the President's personal pay ($1,568,900, known by the British term the "privy purse"), an entertainment allowance ($73,000) and an allowance for an Acting President ($4,500), is $1,646,400. The privy purse was reduced from $4,267,500 after the President accepted the Ministerial Salaries Review Committee's recommendations on the matter. [98]

The salaries for the President's personal staff (Class II) amount to $4,532,400. Speaking in Parliament on 10 March 2011, the Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam explained that this sum was to cater for the salaries of an additional staff officer to support the work of the Council of Presidential Advisers, and a butler manager; and to meet higher variable staff salary payments due to the nation's strong economic growth. [99] [100] The allowance for the Istana's household expenses (Class III) is $2,762,308, an increase from $694,000. This allowance is used to cover the maintenance of the Istana, vehicles, utilities and other supplies, as well as for ceremonies and celebrations. The increase was to cater for higher expenses for maintaining computer systems, buildings and land, and to account for inflation. [98]

Class IV expenses for "special services" are $550,000. In previous years, this sum was used to cover various expenses such as the cost of replacing state cars and installing a new document repository. [101] Overall, the current civil list of $9,491,100 represents a decrease of about 18% from the sum for the past fiscal year of $11,605,000. [102]

List of presidents of the Republic of Singapore

PresidentPrior officeStart of termEnd of termDaysElectionPolitical Party (Before Resignation)Political Party (After Resignation)
1 Yusof Ishak.png Yusof Ishak [103]
尤索夫·宾·伊萨
யூசோஃப் பின் இஷாக்
يوسف بن إسحاق
(12 August 1910 – 23 November 1970)
Yang di-Pertuan Negara
(1963–1965)
9 August 196523 November 1970
[n 1]
5 years, 106 daysElected by Parliament PAP logo variation.svg People's Action Party Independent
During this interval, the Speaker of Parliament, Yeoh Ghim Seng , was installed by Parliament as Acting President.40 days
2 Flag of the President of Singapore.svg Benjamin Sheares [103]
本杰明·亨利·薛尔思
பெஞ்சமின் ஹென்றி ஷியர்ஸ்
(12 August 1907 – 12 May 1981)
Medical practitioner and professor2 January 197112 May 1981
[n 1]
10 years, 131 days
During this interval, Speaker Yeoh Ghim Seng was installed by Parliament as Acting President.165 days
3 Flag of the President of Singapore.svg Devan Nair [103]
சி.வி தேவன் நாயர்
琴加拉·维蒂尔·德万·奈尔
(5 August 1923 – 6 December 2005)
Member of Parliament for Anson
(1979–1981)
23 October 198128 March 1985
[n 2]
3 years, 157 days
During this interval, Chief Justice Wee Chong Jin was installed by Parliament as Acting President.2 days
During this interval, Speaker Yeoh Ghim Seng was installed by Parliament as Acting President.158 days
4 Flag of the President of Singapore.svg Wee Kim Wee [103]
黄金辉
வீ கிம் வீ
(4 November 1915 – 2 May 2005)
Ambassador to South Korea
(1981–1984)
2 September 19851 September 1993
[n 3]
8 years, 0 days
5 Flag of the President of Singapore.svg Ong Teng Cheong [103]
王鼎昌
ஓங் டெங் சியோங்
(22 January 1936 – 8 February 2002)
Deputy Prime Minister
(1985–1993)
1 September 199331 August 19996 years, 0 daysNumber of votes: 952,513 (1993)
6 President of Singapore SR Nathan.jpg S. R. Nathan [104]
塞拉潘·纳丹
செல்லப்பன் ராமனாதன்
(3 July 1924 – 22 August 2016)
Ambassador-at-Large
(1996–1999)
1 September 1999
[n 4]
31 August 200512 years, 0 daysNumber of votes: Uncontested (1999, 2005)
1 September 2005
[n 4]
31 August 2011
7 Tony Tan Keng Yam cropp.jpg Tony Tan
陈庆炎
டோனி டான் கெங் யாம்
(b. 7 February 1940)
Deputy Prime Minister
(1993–2005)
1 September 201131 August 20176 years, 0 daysNumber of votes: 745,693 (2011)
During this interval, the Chair of the Council of Presidential Advisers, J. Y. Pillay , served as Acting President. [105] 15 days
8 Republic of Singapore President Halimah Yacob witnesses the program proper during her visit to the Philippine Eagle Center in Davao City on September 11, 2019 (cropped).jpg Halimah Yacob
哈莉玛·雅各布

ஹலிமா பின்தி யாகொப்
حليمه بنت يعقوب
(b. 23 August 1954)

Speaker of Parliament
(2013–2017)
14 September 2017Incumbent
(Term expires 13 September 2023)
2 years, 196 daysNumber of votes: Uncontested (2017)
Notes
  1. 1 2 Died in office of natural causes.
  2. Resigned.
  3. After the Constitution was amended in 1991, the term of President Wee was fixed to end on 1 September 1993.
  4. 1 2 S.R. Nathan was returned unopposed on Nomination Day in 1999 and 2005.

Living former presidents

PresidentStart of termEnd of termDaysElectionPolitical Party (Before Resignation)Political Party (After Resignation)
Tony Tan Keng Yam cropp.jpg Tony Tan
陈庆炎
டோனி டான் கெங் யாம்
(b. 7 February 1940)
1 September 201131 August 20176 years, 0 daysHighest Votes : 745,693 Votes (2011) PAP logo variation.svg People's Action Party Independent

Acting presidents of the Republic of Singapore

Acting PresidentPrior officeStart of termEnd of termDaysPolitical Party
1 Yeoh Ghim Seng Speaker of Parliament 24 November 19701 January 197140 days PAP logo variation.svg People's Action Party
2 Speaker of Parliament 13 May 198122 October 1981165 days
3 Wee Chong Jin Chief Justice 29 March 198531 March 19852 days
4 Yeoh Ghim Seng Speaker of Parliament 1 April 1985 1 September 1985158 days
5 J. Y. Pillay Council of Presidential Advisers 1 September 201713 September 201715 days

Related Research Articles

Politics of Singapore Political system of Singapore

The politics of Singapore takes the form of a parliamentary representative democratic republic whereby the President of Singapore is the head of state, the Prime Minister of Singapore is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the cabinet from the parliament, and to a lesser extent, the President. Cabinet has the general direction and control of the Government and is accountable to Parliament. There are three separate branches of government: the legislature, executive and judiciary abiding by the Westminster system.

Elections in Singapore periodic selection for members of parliament

There are currently two types of elections in Singapore: parliamentary and presidential elections. According to the constitution of Singapore general elections for parliament must be conducted within 3 months of the dissolution of parliament, which has a maximum term of 5 years from the first sitting of parliament, and presidential elections are conducted every 6 years.

Government of Singapore Executive branch of government made up of the President and the Cabinet of Singapore

The Government of Singapore is defined by the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore to mean the Executive branch of government, which is made up of the President and the Cabinet of Singapore. Although the President acts in his/her personal discretion in the exercise of certain functions as a check on the Cabinet and Parliament of Singapore, his/her role is largely ceremonial. It is the Cabinet, composed of the Prime Minister and other Ministers appointed on his/her advice by the President, that generally directs and controls the Government. The Cabinet is formed by the political party that gains a simple majority in each general election.

Nominated Member of Parliament member of the Parliament of Singapore appointed by the President who is not affiliated to any political party and does not represent any constituency

A Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) is a Member of the Parliament of Singapore who is appointed by the President. They are not affiliated to any political party and do not represent any constituency. There are currently nine NMPs in Parliament. The introduction of NMPs in September 1990, effected to bring more independent voices into Parliament, was an important modification of the traditional Westminster parliamentary system that Singapore had.

Tony Tan 7th President of the Republic of Singapore

Tony Tan Kheng Yam is a Singaporean politician who was the seventh President of Singapore & the commander-in-chief of the Singapore Armed Forces holding office from 2011 to 2017 after winning the 2011 Singaporean presidential election with 35.20% of the votes, winning by a narrow 0.34% margin over Tan Cheng Bock when former president S.R. Nathan stepped down from the position. Tan was sworn in as president on 1 September 2011 and held office until 31 August 2017. He is the only living former president of Singapore.

Cabinet of Singapore Executive branch of the Singapore government

The Cabinet of Singapore forms the Government of Singapore together with the President of Singapore. It is led by the Prime Minister of Singapore who is the head of government. The Prime Minister is a Member of Parliament (MP) appointed by the President who selects a person that in his or her view is likely to command the confidence of a majority of the Parliament of Singapore. The other members of the Cabinet are Ministers who are Members of Parliament appointed by the President on the Prime Minister's advice. Cabinet members are prohibited from holding any office of profit and from actively engaging in any commercial enterprise.

Non-constituency Member of Parliament Member of an opposition political party in Singapore who enters Parliament despite not winning a majority of votes in their district

A Non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) is a member of a Singaporean opposition political party who, according to the Constitution and Parliamentary Elections Act, is declared to have been elected a Member of the Parliament of Singapore despite having lost in a general election by virtue of having been one of the best-performing losers. NCMPs enjoy most of the privileges of ordinary Members of Parliament.

Parliament of Singapore the legislature of Singapore

The Parliament of the Republic of Singapore and the President jointly make up the legislature of Singapore, which is based on the Westminster system. Parliament is unicameral and is made up of Members of Parliament (MPs) who are elected, as well as Non-constituency Members of Parliament (NCMPs) and Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs) who are appointed. Following the 2015 general election, 89 MPs and three NCMPs were elected to the 13th Parliament. Nine NMPs were appointed during the first session of this Parliament. The first sitting of the 13th Parliament took place on 15 January 2016.

Presidential Council for Minority Rights Government body in Singapore

The Presidential Council for Minority Rights (PCMR) is a non-elected government body in Singapore established in 1970, the main function of which is to scrutinize most of the bills passed by Parliament to ensure that they do not discriminate against any racial or religious community. If the Council feels that any provision in a bill amounts to a differentiating measure, it will report its findings to Parliament and refer the bill back to Parliament for reconsideration. The Council also examines subsidiary legislation and statutes in force on 9 January 1970. One member of the PCMR is nominated by the Chairman to the Presidential Elections Committee, which is empowered to ensure that candidates for the office of President have the qualifications required by the Constitution. The President also appoints and dismisses the chairman and members of the Presidential Council for Religious Harmony ("PCRH"), established by the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act, on the advice of the PCMR, and the PCMR is responsible for determining whether PCRH members who are not representatives of major religions in Singapore have distinguished themselves in public service or community relations in Singapore.

General elections in Singapore Singaporean democratic elections

General elections in Singapore must be held within three months after five years have elapsed from the date of the first sitting of a particular Parliament of Singapore. However, in most cases Parliament is dissolved and a general election called at the behest of the Prime Minister before the five-year period elapses. The number of constituencies or electoral divisions is not permanently fixed by law, but is declared by the Prime Minister prior to each general election pursuant to the Parliamentary Elections Act, which governs the conduct of elections to Parliament, taking into account recommendations of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee. For the 2015 general election, there were 89 seats in Parliament organised into 13 Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) and 16 Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs). Each SMC returns one Member of Parliament while each GRC returns between three and six MPs, at least one of whom must be from the Malay, Indian or other minority communities. A group of persons wishing to stand for election in a GRC must all be members of the same political party, or a group of independent candidates. The voting age in Singapore is 21 years.

Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore head officer of legislature

The Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore is the head officer of the Parliament of the Republic of Singapore.

Group representation constituency Type of constituency defined in Singapores constitution

A group representation constituency (GRC) is a type of electoral division or constituency in Singapore in which teams of candidates, instead of individual candidates, compete to be elected into Parliament as the Members of Parliament (MPs) for the constituency. The Government stated that the GRC scheme was primarily implemented to enshrine minority representation in Parliament: at least one of the MPs in a GRC must be a member of the Malay, Indian or another minority community of Singapore. In addition, it was economical for town councils, which manage public housing estates, to handle larger constituencies.

1993 Singaporean presidential election 1st presidential election in Singapore, polling day for which was 28 August 1993

The Singaporean presidential election of 1993 was the first direct presidential election held in Singapore, as president had previously been elected by Parliament. Polling day was 28 August 1993, just before the end of president Wee Kim Wee's term on 31 August.

Powers of the President of Singapore

The powers of the President of Singapore are divided into those which the largely ceremonial President may exercise at his own discretion, and those he must exercise in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet of Singapore or of a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet. In addition, the President is required to consult the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA) when performing some of his functions. In other cases, he may consult the CPA if he wishes to but is not bound to do so.

Presidential elections in Singapore

Presidential elections in Singapore, in which the President of Singapore is directly elected by popular vote, were introduced through amendments to the Constitution of Singapore in 1991. Potential candidates for office must meet stringent qualifications set out in the Constitution. Certificates of eligibility are issued by the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC). In particular, the PEC must assess that they are persons of integrity, good character and reputation; and if they have not previously held certain key government appointments or were the chief executives of profitable companies with shareholders' equity of an average of S$500 million for the most recent three years in that office, they must demonstrate to the PEC that they held a position of comparable seniority and responsibility in the public or private sector that has given them experience and ability in administering and managing financial affairs.

Voting rights in Singapore

The right to vote in Singapore is not explicitly stated in Singapore's Constitution, but the Government has expressed the view that it may be inferred from the fact that Singapore is a representative democracy and from specific constitutional provisions, including Articles 65 and 66 which set out requirements for the prorogation and dissolution of Parliament and the holding of general elections. Speaking on the matter in Parliament in 2009, the Minister for Law, K. Shanmugam, said that the right to vote could not be a mere privilege as this would imply the existence of an institution superior to the body of citizens that is empowered to grant such a privilege, but that no such institution exists in a free country. In 1966 a Constitutional Commission chaired by Chief Justice Wee Chong Jin advocated entrenching the right to vote within the Constitution, but this was not taken up by the Parliament of the day. When this proposal was repeated during the 2009 parliamentary debate, the Government took the view that such entrenchment was unnecessary.

2011 Singaporean presidential election 4th presidential election in Singapore, polling day for which was 27 August 2011

The Singaporean presidential election of 2011 was the fourth Singaporean presidential election, held on 27 August 2011 after president S. R. Nathan term ended in September 2011. Nomination Day for eligible candidates was held on 17 August 2011.

Tan Cheng Bock Member of Parliament

Adrian Tan Cheng Bock is a Singaporean politician and medical practitioner. He stood for the 2011 presidential election and won the second highest number of votes at 34.85% among all four candidates, losing marginally to the winner Tony Tan.

Representative democracy in Singapore

Singapore has a multi-party parliamentary system of representative democracy in which the President of Singapore is the head of state and the Prime Minister of Singapore is the head of government. Executive power is vested in the President and the Cabinet. Cabinet has the general direction and control of the government and is collectively responsible to the Parliament. There are three separate branches of government: the legislature, executive and judiciary.

2017 Singaporean presidential election

The Singaporean presidential election of 2017 was the fifth Singaporean presidential election after President Tony Tan's term ended on 31 August. Following amendments to the Constitution of Singapore, the election was the first to be reserved for a particular racial group under a hiatus-triggered model. The 2017 election was reserved for candidates from the minority Malay community, who had not held the presidential office since 1970.

References

Citations
  1. Joanna Seow (7 July 2017). "Law allows Parliament to count Wee Kim Wee's term in triggering reserved presidential election: High Court". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 8 July 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  2. 1 2 "Elected Presidency: Amendments to Constitution passed in Parliament". Channel NewsAsia. 9 November 2016. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  3. "Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Act 2016". sso.agc.gov.sg. 3 January 2017. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  4. Now the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore ( 1985 Rev. Ed.,1999 Reprint ).
  5. 1 2 Internal Security Act ( Cap. 143,1985 Rev. Ed. ).
  6. 1 2 Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act ( Cap. 167A,2001 Rev. Ed. ) ("MRHA").
  7. Kotwani, Monica (6 July 2017). "Tan Cheng Bock's legal challenge on the reserved presidential election explained". Channel NewsAsia. ChannelNewsAsia. Archived from the original on 31 July 2017. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  8. Constitution, Art. 163(1).
  9. Loh, Quentin (29 June 2017). "TAN CHENG BOCK v ATTORNEY GENERAL [2017] SGHC 160 DECISION DATE: 07 Jul 2017 HC/OS 495/2017" (PDF). High Court of the Republic of Singapore. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 February 2019. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  10. "Law allows Parliament to count Wee Kim Wee's term in triggering reserved presidential election: High Court". 7 July 2017. Archived from the original on 8 July 2017. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  11. "Tan Cheng Bock's constitutional challenge dismissed by High Court". Channel NewsAsia. 7 July 2017. Archived from the original on 9 July 2017. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  12. "Perpetual presidential hopeful Tan Cheng Bock bows out gracefully". Mothership.sg. 23 August 2017. Archived from the original on 27 August 2017. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  13. Lee, Justina (12 September 2017). "Singaporeans miffed by 'reserved' presidential election - Nikkei Asian Review". Nikkei Asian Review. Archived from the original on 5 December 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  14. "Halimah Yacob set to be Singapore's first female president: A timeline of her career". The Straits Times. 11 September 2017. Archived from the original on 27 January 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  15. Constitution, Art. 17(1).
  16. Constitution, Art. 23(1).
  17. Constitution, Art. 24(2).
  18. Constitution, Art. 21(1).
  19. Constitution, Art. 21(2).
  20. Constitution, Art. 38.
  21. Constitution, Art. 58(1).
  22. Constitution, Art. 21(2)(c).
  23. Constitution, Art. 60.
  24. Standing Orders of Parliament (as amended on 19 October 2004) (PDF), Parliament of Singapore, 19 October 2004, archived from the original (PDF) on 9 May 2010, retrieved 2 November 2009, Standing Order 15(1).
  25. Constitution, Art. 62.
  26. 1 2 Tommy Koh (15 June 2011), "Demystifying the presidential office" (PDF), The Straits Times , p. A21, archived from the original (PDF) on 8 June 2012.
  27. Constitution, Arts. 21(1) and (2).
  28. Constitution, Arts. 22(3) and (4). The Legislature can pass a law requiring the President to act after consultation with, or on the recommendation of, any person or body of persons other than the Cabinet in the exercise of his or her functions other than those exercisable in his personal discretion or in respect of the Constitution has made other provision: Art. 21(5).
  29. Constitution, Art. 144(1).
  30. Constitution, Arts. 21(2)(e), 21(2)(f), 22B and 22D.
  31. Constitution, Art. 22E.
  32. Constitution, Art. 144(2).
  33. Constitution, Arts. 148A and 148D.
  34. Constitution, Art. 22(1).
  35. Constitution, Art. 25(1).
  36. Constitution, Art. 22G. The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau's powers of investigation derive from the Prevention of Corruption Act( Cap. 241,1993 Rev. Ed. ).
  37. Constitution, Arts. 21(2)(g) and 151(4); Internal Security Act ( Cap. 143,1985 Rev. Ed. ), s. 13A.
  38. Constitution, Arts. 21(2)(h), 22I; MRHA, s. 12.
  39. Hu, Richard Tsu Tau (Minister for Finance), Ministerial Statement, "Issues Raised by President Ong Teng Cheong at his Press Conference on 16th July 1999", Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Official Report (17 August 1999), vol. 70, cols. 2018–2029; Roger Mitton (10 March 2000), "'I had a job to do' whether the Government liked it or not, says ex-President Ong – extended interview with Roger Mitton", Asiaweek , vol. 26 no. 9, pp. 28–29, archived from the original on 10 February 2001.
  40. The Principles for Determining and Safeguarding the Accumulated Reserves of the Government and the Fifth Schedule Statutory Boards and Government Companies [Cmd. 5 of 1999], Singapore: Printed for the Government of Singapore by the Government Printers, 1999, OCLC   226180358 .
  41. Zakir Hussain (23 January 2009), "A Budget first: Govt to draw $4.9b from past reserves", The Straits Times, p. 4 via NewspaperSG; "Concerns about economy go back to mid-2008: President makes public for first time his decision to allow use of reserves", The Straits Times, 18 February 2009; Chua Mui Hoong (20 February 2009), "Turning of the second key went smoothly", The Straits Times.
  42. Constitution, Art. 19(2)(a).
  43. Constitution, Art. 19(2)(b).
  44. Constitution, Art. 19(2)(c) read with Art. 44(2)(c).
  45. Constitution, Art. 19(2)(c) read with Art. 44(2)(d).
  46. Constitution, Art. 19(2)(d) read with Art. 45.
  47. The disqualification of a person under clauses (d) and (e) may be removed by the President and shall, if not so removed, cease at the end of five years beginning from the date on which the return mentioned in clause (d) was required to be lodged or, as the case may be, the date on which the person convicted as mentioned in clause (e) was released from custody or the date on which the fine mentioned in clause (1) (e) was imposed on such person: Constitution, Art. 45(2).
  48. A person shall not be disqualified under this clause by reason only of anything done by him before he became a citizen of Singapore: Constitution, Art. 45(2). In clause (f), "foreign country" does not include any part of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland: Art. 45(3).
  49. 1 2 Constitution, Art. 19(2)(e).
  50. Constitution, Art. 19(2)(f).
  51. Constitution, Art. 19(3)(a).
  52. 1 2 Constitution, Art. 19(3)(b) read with the Fifth Schedule.
  53. 1 2 Constitution, Art. 19(4), read with Art. 19(7).
  54. 1 2 Constitution, Art. 19(3)(c) and Art 19(4)(b).
  55. Chua Mui Hoong (21 August 1999), "See you in six years' time", The Straits Times, p. 6; "Why only President Nathan qualifies", The Straits Times, p. 4, 14 August 2005.
  56. Han, Kirsten (12 September 2017). "How Singapore elected a president without a vote". CNN. Archived from the original on 15 December 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  57. "Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Act 2016". Act No. 28/2016 of 21 December 2016. Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  58. Constitution, Art. 19B.
  59. Yuen-C, Tham (30 September 2017). "PM Lee spells out why he pushed for reserved election". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 15 December 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  60. Constitution, Art. 20(1).
  61. Constitution, Arts. 22L(1)(a) to (c). The office of President also becomes vacant if it is determined that the election of the President was void and no other person was duly elected as President, or if on the expiration of the incumbent's term the person declared elected as President fails to take office: Arts. 22L(1)(d) and (e).
  62. Assuming a writ for a presidential election has not yet been issued before the vacation of office or, if it has been issued, has been countermanded: Constitution, Art. 17(3)(a).
  63. Constitution, Art. 17(3); Presidential Elections Act( Cap. 240A,2007 Rev. Ed. ) ("PEA"), s. 6(1).
  64. Presidential Elections Act( Cap. 240A,2007 Rev. Ed. ).
  65. PEA, ss. 6(2) and (3).
  66. Constitution, Art. 18(1).
  67. Constitution, Art. 18(3).
  68. Constitution, Arts. 18(2)(a) to (c).
  69. "Presidential Elections Committee" (PDF). Elections Department Singapore. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 June 2017. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  70. Political Donations Act( Cap. 236,2001 Rev. Ed. ).
  71. PEA, ss. 9(4)(ba) and 11(1).
  72. PEA, s. 10(1) read with the Cap. Parliamentary Elections Act,2007 Rev. Ed., s. 28(1).
  73. PEA, s. 15.
  74. PEA, s. 16(5).
  75. PEA, s. 50(1).
  76. PEA, s. 62A(2), inserted by the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Act 2010 (No. 11 of 2010) ("PEAA").
  77. Presidential Elections (Posters and Banners) Regulations (Cap. 240A, Rg 3, 2000 Rev. Ed.), archived from the original on 2 September 2010, regs. 2 and 3(1).
  78. PEA, s. 41.
  79. PEA, s. 63.
  80. PEA, ss. 42(1)(d) and (e).
  81. PEA, s. 39.
  82. PEA, s. 40.
  83. PEA, ss. 59, 60A, 62 and 62A.
  84. PEA, s. 17.
  85. PEA, s. 26(1).
  86. PEA, s. 22(1).
  87. PEA, s. 31(2).
  88. PEA, s. 31(3).
  89. PEA, ss. 32B(1) and (4). Rejected and tendered votes are excluded. A tendered vote is a vote that is permitted to be cast by a person claiming to be a voter named in the electoral register who turns up at a polling station after someone also claiming to be that voter has already voted: s. 29.
  90. PEA, s. 32(8).
  91. Singapore Presidential Election 2011
  92. Presidential Elections Results. Singapore Elections Department. 28 August 2011.
  93. Polling Day Voter Turnout. Singapore Elections Department. 28 August 2011.
  94. Constitution, Arts. 20(1) to (3) and the 1st Sch.
  95. Constitution, Arts. 19(3)(a) to (d).
  96. Constitution, Art. 22J(1).
  97. Civil List and Gratuity Act( Cap. 44,2002 Rev. Ed. ).
  98. 1 2 Josephine Teo ( Minister of State for Finance )," Civil List (Motion) ",Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Official Report (17 February 2012), vol. 88, cols. 1202–1203.
  99. Tharman Shanmugaratnam ( Minister for Finance )," Civil List (Motion) ",Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Official Report (10 March 2011), vol. 87, col. 4699.
  100. Zakir Hussain (11 March 2011), "President's pay approved", The Straits Times, p. A12; "Parliament approves increase in President's salary, expenditure", Today , p. 4, 11 March 2011, archived from the original on 18 May 2011.
  101. "Funds approved for Office of the President", The Straits Times, p. C6, 23 January 2009.
  102. Civil List and Pension Act: Resolution Passed at Parliament Meeting2012( S 137/2012 ), archived from the original on 31 August 2017.
  103. 1 2 3 4 5 Former Presidents, Istana Singapore: Office of the President of the Republic of Singapore, 28 April 2006, archived from the original on 1 August 2008, retrieved 24 January 2009.
  104. President S R Nathan, Istana Singapore: Office of the President of the Republic of Singapore, 4 May 2006, archived from the original on 22 August 2008, retrieved 24 January 2009.
  105. Elgin Toh (1 September 2017), "Pillay takes on role of acting president: CPA chairman will fill post until after Polling Day on Sept 23, or Nomination Day on Sept 13", The Straits Times, p. A9.
Legislation
Bibliography

Further reading

Articles

Books

News reports