Asserting that the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) does not select candidates for president, the Elections Department (ELD) has disputed Straits Times opinion editor Chua Mui Hoong’s view that the Government has influence over the selection of presidential candidates through the PEC.
In a recent opinion piece, in which she had warned that the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) becoming overly domineering could lead to backlash, Ms Chua said: “The presidency is directly elected, but the Government has influence over the selection of candidates via the Presidential Elections Committee.”
Calling this statement “incorrect”, ELD Senior Assistant Director (Political Donations and Communications) Tay Chai Luan, said that such a view “gives the wrong impression of how the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) functions.”
In a forum letter published by the Straits Times, Mr Tay said that the PEC does not select candidates and that the Government cannot influence the committee since it is an independent body that acts solely based on criteria laid out in the Constitution.
Noting that the PEC’s mandate is to “determine whether a person is qualified to be elected as president by applying the criteria set out in the Constitution,” Mr Tay said that the PEC cannot prevent any qualified person from standing as a candidate.
He added that the PEC is chaired by the chairman of the Public Service Commission and comprises of the chairman of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority and four other members appointed by the chairman of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights, the chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, the Chief Justice and the Prime Minister, respectively.
The ELD official noted: “The Prime Minister is required to appoint a person with expertise and experience acquired in the private sector that are relevant to the functions of the PEC.” -/TISG