PE amendments that were critical to PE2017


By Offbeat Perspectives

What determined the fate of the results of PE 2017? Did you know one proposed amendment by the Commission tasked to review the Elected Presidency could have led to Halimah’s downfall if it had been legally passed?

#1 Eligibility criteria of private sector candidates made more stringent 

Previous eligibility criteria:

A person who has been chairman or chief executive officer of a company with a paid-up capital of at least S$100 million for the last 3 years would qualify to stand in the Presidential election

Changes to eligibility criteria:

On 9th November 2016, amendments to the constitution were passed by Parliament for Private sector candidates to have served as the chief executive officer for a minimum of three years, of a company with at least S$500 million in shareholders’ equity.

#2 Proposed change to increase the number of years candidate has served in their previous roles

Proposed changes to eligibility criteria

To automatically qualify, prospective candidates — be it in from the private or public sector — would have to serve for at least six years in their former roles, double the previous tenure requirements.

How it would have impacted Halimah Yacob?

She would have been unqualified to stand as she was elected Speaker of Parliament only on 14 January 2013, which means she would have been in this role for slightly over 3 and a half years (which is less than 6 years).

Was it implemented? No.

#3 Reservation of Presidential Election for a particular racial group who has not held the presidency for five consecutive terms 

Previous eligibility criteria:

Presidential election opened to all races

Changes in eligibility criteria

On 9th November 2016, amendments to the constitution were passed by Parliament to reserve the presidential election for a candidate from a racial group that has not occupied the president’s office for five or more consecutive terms.

How it has impacted PE 2017?

Former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock had challenged the Government’s decision to reserve the September presidential election for Malay candidates, saying that it is unconstitutional.

Parliament (was) free to start counting from Mr Wee Kim Wee’s term as president for the purposes of reserving the next election for Malay candidates, the High Court ruled.

PE2017 was as such, reserved only for Malay candidates. Mr Mohamed Salleh Marican, Mr Farid Khan Kaim Khan, and Mdm Halimah Yacob were the 3 candidates that received the Malay Community Certificates which made them eligible to contest.

The author blogs at Offbeat Perspectives.


  1. Let us not cry over spilled milk. Rather, let the Cursed Presidential Election saga open our eyes to the way our politician Technocrats have abused political power to strengthen their draconian rules and hold on to power. It’s not about Halimah who is a willing pawn. It is more than that. It is abuse of political power of the most criminal act

    • a good name will be honoured through out many generations to come. a bad name will be forever forsaken & thrown rotten eggs at through many years to come. this is exactly what happened in the past centuries, during the tang dynasty. yet, we are now in modern world, in 21st century. we aren’t going back in those era, we will be outdated and left way behind. very depressing, looking at how did our country has change since :'(

  2. The real poison is they can amend and change anytime they want to and there is no credible media to analyse the implications. Lack of credible journalism made us deaf and dumb and blind. The syllabus and activities in school will show its results in the general ignorant populace. Only the rich can pay for good education. This assure that 1% rules.

    • Freddie Kee When gerrymandering is not enough, town planning can help. They are doing something to control outcomes through insidious changes to the laws, rules and regulations, and personnel. You saw the rise and rise of Desmond Lee, the justified employment of the AG, the selected President, and we have a class of MPs and ministers who are the issues of previous generation of loyalists, this is the tip of the iceberg. Right now it is the new citizens that take the bite out of the real choice of true Singaporeans. Soon it will be the young and vulnerable passing through the schools.

  3. they had the person in mind and all they needed was the justification. so which ever recommendation made which would disqualify their person was not accepted. what do you expect from them?

  4. There’s really no point in whining and complaining online. If you guys really wanna get rid of this scourge, wake up and make a positive change. For a better Singapore.

  5. Barack Obama, President, USA. Blacks 14%. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, India. Sikhs 2%. Popularly elected. Both won two terms. Served with authority and honour. Tehran released the 52 diplomats and citizens, held captive for 444 days, at the embassy. On the same day and the same hour as Ronald Regan was sworn into office. Out of respect. The greatest President of modern America. Will not qualify for the Certificate of Eligibility.

  6. Hahaha around the world got more troubles and worries then us , nobody will be so much bother abt Sg issues. Let alone we have shown the world what SG can achieved for the Past 50’s years !

    I think the only laughs that the world on us will be , Why some minority’s not happy when they are in the comfort zone using the established data networks to post that been link well in every part of SG !

    Social media…. lol

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