Singapore

WP rejects suggested changes to elected presidency

The Workers' Party (WP), in rejecting the proposed changes to the elected presidency, wants a return to the old system in which Parliament appoints the president.

An appointed president would "take care of any concerns" of minority representation and would not be regressive, said its chairman Sylvia Lim in Parliament yesterday..

Ms Lim, who is also the MP for Aljunied GRC, also called for a national referendum to be held to let people vote for the change they want made to the elected presidency, The Straits Times Online reported.

She suggested two options for the vote.

One, the current system of an elected president playing the dual role of being a unifying head of state and custodian of the nation's reserves; and two, for the president to be appointed and not vested with powers over the national reserves.

The responsibility over the reserves would be vested in an elected Senate instead, said Ms Lim during the debate on the constitutional amendments to the elected presidency.

WP chief Low Thia Khiang said the eight-member Senate will replace the current Council of Presidential Advisers.

A president will be appointed as the head of the Senate, with the appointment to take into account Singapore's multiracial make-up.

The Parliament will also be allowed to overrule the Senate's veto powers with a three-quarter majority.

Mr Low also said the People's Action Party government was making changes to the elected presidency to further its own interest.

He said President Tony Tan won with a narrow margin and this had made the party uneasy.

Sylvia LimelectionWorkers' Party