Next elected President of Singapore to be from Malay ethnic group
PM Lee Hsien Loong explained in Parliament on 8 Nov 2016 that the Elected Presidency must be multi-racial and a unifying symbol of Singapore's multi-racial society.
In Jan, he appointed a Constitutional Commission to do a review of the scheme and is now adopting the Commission's proposal to ensure that every ethnic community gets a chance to be President.
The new proposal is based on a 'hiatus-triggered' model, which means:
i. Presidential elections will be open to candidates of all races. But if we have not had a President from a particular community for five consecutive terms, the next term will be reserved for a President from that community.
ii. The candidate in a reserved election must meet the same qualifying criteria, and will be as qualified as any other candidate who stands and wins in a non-reserved election.
PM Lee believes that the rules proposed will ensure that Singapore's Presidents come from different races, as society work towards the ideal of 'one united people, regardless of race, language or religion.'
This new bill will likely be approved in Parliament as the PAP holds a majority in the house and the next President of Singapore will come from the Malay ethnic group.
The previous Presidents of Singapore are:
- Yusof Ishak 1965-1970 Malay
- Benjamin Sheares 1971-1981 Eurasian
- Devan Nair 1981-1985 Indian
- Wee Kim Wee 1985-1993 Chinese
- Ong Teng Cheong 1993-1999 Chinese
- S R Nathan 1999-2011 Indian
- Tony Tan 2011-current Chinese
The President of Singapore mainly serves as a custodian of Singapore's national reserves estimated at over US$300 billion (S$417 billion) as at 2016 while real executive powers lie with the elected Prime Minister.
Singapore's major ethnic groups are namely Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian.