On the 13th of October, 2016, the Singapore Law Review hosted Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, Mr K Shanmugam, for an intimate dialogue session with law students to discuss proposed changes to the Elected Presidency. The dialogue session came just three days after a Bill to formally introduce these proposed changes into the Constitution of Singapore was tabled in Parliament.
Minister Shanmugam opened the evening with a presentation on the proposed changes, covering both the recommendations made by the Constitutional Commission on the Elected Presidency as well as the Government’s responses to the recommendations. He discussed the five broad issues covered by the Constitutional Commission in its report: the role of the Elected President (“EP”); whether the Presidency should be an elected or appointed office; the eligibility criteria for presidential candidates; the question of how all races may be represented in the office of the EP; and the role of the Council of Presidential Advisors.
Minister Shanmugam then fielded questions from the audience in a lively and candid question-and-answer session. Members of the audience raised questions on a wide variety of issues, from the rationale of the new changes to the implications of these changes on the governance of Singapore.
The event provided law students with a rare opportunity to air their views and discuss substantive topics of contention with Minister Shanmugam in an intimate setting. The Singapore Law Review is grateful to Minister Shanmugam for his open and candid engagement in the evening’s dialogue session. The Singapore Law Review would also like to express its gratitude to the Prime Minister’s Office and REACH for their assistance in this event.
Writer: Grace Teo
Photo credits: Fabian Terh
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