SINGAPORE: Applications for the 2017 Presidential Election certificates will open on Thursday (Jun 1), the Elections Department (ELD) announced on Wednesday.
They will close five days after the writ of election is issued in August, ahead of the elections in September.
Application forms can be obtained from the ELD website and office from Thursday.
Applicants will be notified of the outcome before Nomination Day. Incumbent President Tony Tan Keng Yam will complete his term of office on Aug 31. In the interim period from Sep 1 to when the new President takes office, an acting President can perform the role of the President under the law. Application forms of candidates who are successfully nominated will be made public after the close of nomination proceedings, in line with recommendations of the Constitutional Commission.
APPLICATION FOR MALAY COMMUNITY CERTIFICATE NEEDED
As this year’s Presidential Election is reserved for Malay candidates, prospective candidates must apply to the Community Committee for a Malay community certificate. The Malay community sub-committee, chaired by former Nominated Member of Parliament Imram Mohamed, will then assess the application.
Members of the sub-committee are Madam Fatimah Azimullah, advisor to Singapore Muslim Women’s Association, Mr Mohammad Alami Musa, president of MUIS Council (Islamic Religious Council of Singapore), Mr Yatiman Yusof, former senior parliamentary secretary and Mr Zulkifli Baharudin, executive chairman of Indo-Trans Corporation, a logistics and supply chain company across Indo-china.
AMENDMENTS TO SUBSIDIARY LEGISLATION
Amendments to subsidiary legislation will be made following amendments to the Constitution in November 2016 and the Presidential Elections Act in February this year. These come into effect on Thursday.
Under the amendments, in deciding whether a potential presidential candidate belongs to the Malay community, the sub-committee may interview him, ask him to provide more information and consult any person. The decision of the sub-committee will be final, ELD said on Wednesday.
Other legislative amendments include the revision of the nomination paper to include a statutory declaration that prospective candidates have read the explanatory material of the President and understand the role of the President under the Constitution.
“This is so that candidates will not be drawn to making statements or promises which exceed the constitutionally prescribed role of the President,” ELD said in a news release.
Under the changes, applicants will have to provide their public or private sector service experience in the certificate of eligibility application form.
In addition, there will be a new form for candidates to voluntarily undertake that they will campaign for election as President in a manner that is “dignified, decorous and consistent with the President’s position as the Head of State and the symbol of national unity”.
Signed undertakings will be put up on the notice board together with the nomination paper on Nomination Day, according to ELD.
CHANGES TO IMPROVE ELECTION PROCESS
The ELD said there would be three amendments to improve the Presidential Election process.
First, the overseas elector registration form will be revised to remove the need for applicants to fill in the periods they lived in Singapore in the three years before the cut-off date of the registers of electors. However, they will still need to declare that they meet the minimum residency period.
Second, there will be a new ballot paper format with clearly demarcated areas for voters to mark an “X” for their choices of candidate. Only markings made within these areas will be considered as valid votes.
Third, the prohibition zone for the display of posters and banners has been reduced in radius from 200m to 50m to allow for wider areas for the “legitimate display” of posters and banners by candidates, ELD said.