Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Presidential election needs more clarity: Alvin Yeo

Oct 18, 2011


THE recent presidential election has caused some confusion - starting with how the eligibility of candidates is determined, said Mr Alvin Yeo (Chua Chu Kang GRC). One question that arose was whether a cooperative is equivalent to a company.

Another was whether a senior position in a fund management company with assets under management - but not paid-up capital - of more than $100 million, could qualify someone as a candidate.

The first question was in relation to presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian and the other, Mr Tan Jee Say.

The Constitution requires candidates to serve at least three years as chairman or chief executive of a company with a paid-up capital of at least $100 million, or in a 'similar or comparable' position.

Mr Yeo observed that the three-member Presidential Elections Committee decides whether a candidate is in such a position, and its decision is final. He said he was not seeking to criticise the committee's decision.

But, he added, it seems incongruous that the statutory criteria is so open to interpretation, and the decision is made by three individuals without review by other bodies.

The Government should review the situation and consider if greater clarity is needed, he said.

Mr Yeo also addressed two other aspects: the president's duties and powers, and how elections should be run.

Candidates in the recent election had disagreed on the president's functions, and some voters may have been misled, he said. This, in turn, affected how the presidential campaigns were conducted.

'The election of our supposedly non-political president had strong political overtones to it,' he said.

Mr Yeo asked if candidates should be required not to have been members of political parties, nor to have taken part in political activities and contested elections for a minimum period of years.

He also asked if limitations should be put on campaigns to keep them non-political, so that candidates 'do not promise to do something if elected, which is not legally within their powers'.


No comments: