Voices

Lack of presidential contest disappointing

From

Carol Yuen Ai Zhen

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Published: 4:00 AM, September 13, 2017

While it was apt for Members of Parliament to recognise Mdm Halimah Yacob’s work in public service, there are now feelings of disappointment among Singaporeans at not getting a chance to vote (Tributes flow for ‘trailblazer’ Halimah; Sept 12).

The office of President morphed into an elected one in 1991 because of the expanded responsibilities.

It was intended that the people should be able to choose the representative they want to see safeguarding Singapore’s reserves and upholding the integrity of the public service, as these are important tasks.

The President is also meant to represent our nation and people. Hence it is important that he or she is democratically elected.

The reserved election system and heightened eligibility criteria have now made it difficult for the office to be a truly elected one.

The frustration of Singaporeans at the lack of competition for the presidential role shows that having a contest is crucial to us in securing the President’s legitimacy to discharge his or her responsibilities.