PRESIDENCY

1. The Presidency of Singapore is the highest office of the country. It is an important public office, and the President has important custodial responsibilities.

2. The Istana website said that “The President, who is elected and possesses veto powers, provides a check on a Government that misuses the nation’s financial reserves, or undermines the integrity of the civil service by making appointments out of favouritism. ”

3. In addition, “In 1990, the President’s powers were enhanced to include a further check on Government proposals to detain persons under the Internal Security Act and to issue restraining orders under the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act.”

4. Moreover , the Presidency represents the Republic of Singapore internationally, with the President as the Head of State, making courtesy visits overseas, welcoming overseas dignitaries, and receiving the credentials of all foreign ambassadors to Singapore.

5. The Presidency includes important custodial responsibilities, and hence should not be undermined in anyway, such as by vulgar, abusive and demeaning remarks/statements (and possibly, by other ways). Should the Presidency be undermined in anyway, and the people somehow lost their respect, how will the people take it when the President exercises his/hers custodial responsibilities in times when it is necessary?

6. The Presidency, with the office holder being the Head of State, represents the Republic of Singapore on the international stage, and hence should not be undermined in anyway, such as by vulgar, abusive and demeaning remarks/statements (and possibly, by other ways). Should the Presidency be undermined in anyway, how will the image of Singapore be affected when the President carries out his/hers roles as the Head of State?

7. I have shared about coming up with a public law to deal with any cases which undermines the Presidency of the country. The Presidency is an important public office, and so it should not be the way forward for anybody to undermine the Presidency in anyways, without the authorities taking any actions. Currently, I am not sure if such safeguards exist to prevent the undermining of the Presidency.

8. By means of coming up with a “public law”, what I meant was that should cases of undermining of the Presidency occur, it should not be left to the President himself/herself to decide if any actions should be taken. It also meant that this same discretion to act should not be left to the authorities. This is to ensure that the law is applied to all who undermine the Presidency. Therefore, I am not calling for the launching of any defamation suits or things along that line, should the Presidency is undermined. This is because while this concern the office holder himself/herself, the standing of the highest office of the country is very much at stake and it is no longer an issue affecting a person.

9. Should there really be any coming up of such a law, it would definitely require much careful deliberations and detailed discussions. And inputs from all sides should be garnered for its finalization.

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