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Original Posting: 01 May 2004 Saturday 1400 hrs Singapore

New Political System for the Information Age Draft #03 (Archive)


Since the posting of ‘A Consolidated Account’ on 25 January 2002 and the subsequent NPS Drafts, there were more postings on the now defunct Straits Times Interactive Chat (STIC) on matters relating to the New Political System (NPS). As the results of this development and of these discussions, I have further consolidated, elaborated and revised below the NPS for further discussions for any interested person anywhere in the world who may find the discussion interesting or relevant wholly or in part to his own country or to a Earth Government or even to his organisation, although for historical reasons, the NPS discussion here is Singapore-centric (Brief History; Map of Asia: Location at 1 16N, 103 51 E).

All amendments and changes to Draft #02 are in purple for ease of reference. Text in italic means that there are substantive changes made to the original text.

The greatest value of NPS lies in the potential transparency in the actions of the government and public officials, and in the harnessing and unleashing of the collective resources of our entire country to solve fundamental and important problems of the nation. In the course of time, the quality of our people as citizens, voters and individuals would be greatly enhanced. They would become true citizens in the Information Age, informed, thinking and contributing, and also they would be better equipped and prepared for the knowledge-based economy and the challenges of globalization whether at home or overseas.

Unless we begin to have more people to participate or to be involved in the management of the affairs of country, we would forever have the problem of “fighting for the same people” for the jobs that are crucial to the well being of the people and nation.

Furthermore, one of our demonstrated current problems is not that there are not enough people for ministerial posts, but rather there are not enough people of ministerial calibre willing to stand as political party candidates for the election even for the ruling party. The NPS would solve this problem.

The discussions on the NPS have been focused on what constitute the essential elements of an “ideal” political system for the Information Age. After establishing what these elements are, the next stage would be to consider what is practical and achievable in human society.

We may have problems that are apparently “insurmountable” as presently seen, but historic moments occur when such “insurmountable” problems are overcome. This is consistent with the lessons of history; for instance, the sudden and “inconceivable” demise of the former Soviet Union in December 1991.

To all who would like to join in this discussion:

Would you like to comment on the NPS, especially in the following areas:

Basically, the NPS is about an ‘ideal’ system comprising of 3 state organs, namely: together with appointed Independent Institutions or Bodies such as: All are welcome to this discussion

Although this discussion on the NPS was originally inspired by the political system in Singapore, the discussion may be relevant to people in other parts of the world as well, to those who are interested in the establishment of an Earth, national, state or local government that is truly democratic or even to those who are searching for a truly democratic management structure for their organisations, with or without adaptation. So all who have something to contribute are welcome to this discussion.


The President

  1. This is the equivalent of a Prime Minister with overwhelming control of Parliament (such a Prime Minister hereinafter referred to as ‘the Prime Minister’), which is what we have for the last 40 odd years. This makes a strong and efficient government. The election of the President (or the Members of Parliament, if we retain this part of our existing system, hereinafter referred to as ‘the Parliament’) is to be held every 5 years or as soon as practicable, but within three (3) months, if the President (or the Prime Minister’) is impeached by the Senate.

  2. A government of such a President would be ultra-efficient and certainly not less efficient in the ordinary business of government than our existing system of a Prime Minister with overwhelming control of Parliament even if the President wins by a single vote in the presidential election. This is because laws are made by Presidential Decrees after internal debate and discussion. Draft legislations can, of course, be referred by the President to the Council of Veterans or the Senate for debate and discussion or even to the Judiciary or the House of Justice for comments and advice, but such a referral is optional and not mandatory so that urgent and critical laws can be decreed by the President at any time and without undue delay.

  3. No person shall be a President who shall not have attained the age of thirty-five (35) and been ten (10) years a citizen of Singapore as at the date of announcement of the election for the President.

  4. All qualified citizens including former presidents are eligible for election to the Presidency. This is so as not to deprive the people the President of their choice.

  5. A directly elected executive Presidency with a limited tenure replacing the present Parliamentary System would make obsolete such controversial and divisive features of our existing system such as the 'walkover constituencies', the GRCs (Group Representation Constituencies), gerrymandering, selective HDB (Housing and Development Board) and private apartment upgrading, selective non-building of MRT stations, etc, in constituencies where the voters could be induced to vote for the ruling party.

  6. The President shall have full powers to appoint any suitable person as the members of his Cabinet and as other top government officers and shall be fully responsible for them. The existing system only allows the Prime Minister to appoint members of his Cabinet from among the MPs. This is a very crippling restriction that denies the Prime Minister access to more suitable and talented individuals outside Parliament. The US Presidential System is an example of a system that has this advantage.

  7. The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of the Singapore Armed Forces.

  8. The terms of office including the remuneration and other benefits of the President shall be recommended by the Talent Development Institute, approved by the Council of Veterans and confirmed by the Senate.

  9. The Senate shall have the powers to remove from office an unsatisfactory or unsuitable President by not less than two-thirds (2/3) of the total number of votes cast by the Senators present and voting.

  10. A President who is impeached by the Senate by not less than two-thirds (2/3) of the total number of votes cast by the Senators present and voting shall be deemed to be unsatisfactory or unsuitable for the purpose of the impeachment proceedings.

  11. This is a clear repudiation of the existing ‘just-trust-me-for-four-or-five-years’ systems. Never again is a condidate allowed to deceive, cheat or otherwise betray the trust of the voters by making solemn promises in his election manifesto or campaign without the intention of carrying them out after his election victory or worse still with the intention of doing just the opposite.

  12. In such a case, the onus of proof is on the President to show that he has the intention of carrying out the solemn promises in his election manifesto or campaign after his election victory.

  13. Any President who has been removed from office by such a vote shall be allowed to stand for re-election. This is because the voters have the final say on whether or not a person is suitable for the Office of the President. Such a President when re-elected shall be suspended or removed from office during the re-elected term by the Senate only with the sanction of the Supreme Court, House of Justice and the Council of Veterans, if he is suspected or guilty of high treason as defined in the Constitution.

  14. In the event of sudden death, resignation, impeachment or incapacity of the President, the Grand Councillor shall be the acting President pending the election of a new President. A new President shall be elected as soon as practicable, and the presidential election shall be called not later than three (3) months from the date of such an eventuality.

  15. The person who is the acting President shall cease to be the Grand councillor so long he remains acting President. At the same time, the Council of Veterans shall elect an acting Grand Councillor from among the Councillors to perform the functions and duties of the Grand Councillor until the Grand Councillor ceases to be acting President.

  16. Any person who holds a Presidential appointment of any rank shall be disqualified from holding any post or position in the Senate, Council of Veterans or Independent Institutions or Bodies.

  17. Constitutional amendments shall require a simple majority of the voters at a referendum for an ordinary amendment, a 2/3rd majority for important provisions and 3/4th majority for fundamental principles. However, in the event of a national emergency, the President may, other than the fundamental principles, amend the Constitution only with the sanction of the Supreme Court, House of Justice, the Senate and the Council of Veterans, but such an amendment shall lapse within three (3) months from the date of the amendment unless it is approved by the required majority of the voters at a referendum.

The Senate

  1. This is a Senate without legislative powers as such powers are already vested in the President (or in the Parliament).

  2. The primary functions of the directly elected Senate in the NPS are its supervisory role over the President, approving the use of the National Reserves at the request of the President and approving or vetoing legislations considered bad or poor quality by the Judiciary .

  3. Other functions of the Senate include debating legislations and other actions of the Government together with the constitutional powers to impeach the President (or the Prime Minister and dissolve Parliament) under certain conditions specified in the Constitution and with the necessary constitutional safeguards.

  4. The approval of the Senate in each case on the recommendation by the Council of Veterans shall be required for the Appointment of candidates to the Independent Institutions or Bodies, for the Removal of the incumbents from the Independent Institutions or Bodies, and for approving the terms of office.

  5. No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained the age of twenty-five (25) and been five (5) years a citizen of Singapore as at the date of announcement of the election for the Senate.

  6. The Senators are to be elected directly instead of constituently so as to avoid group interest representation and for the following reasons:

    1. In a constituency election, the Senator represents only the people of his constituency. So in order for him to ensure his own re-election, he has to serve his voters well at the expense of other Singaporeans. And in order to serve his voters well, he may have to form a gang within the Senate or to do some “horse trading’ with other Senators to obtain the desired benefits for his own constituents.

    2. The President would have the opportunity to ‘play’ one Senator against other. For instances, those Senators who are willing to do the bidding of the President would have more development projects in his constituency, a MRT station built there, HDB or private flat-upgrading, etc.

  7. The first 100 or more (in the event of a tie of the last group of successful candidates) candidates with the highest number of the respective choice votes in a senatorial election shall be the Senators-elect. The young, energetic and enterprising are especially encouraged to stand for the senatorial election

  8. In the new Senate following a senatorial election, the 1st Senator and 2nd Senator shall be the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman of the Senate respectively.

  9. The Senators shall be elected for a 5-year term and the senatorial election for the new Senate shall be held before the current Senate ends so that the new Senate shall commence work immediately after the end of the current Senate.

  10. The House of Justice shall have the powers to recommend the dissolution of the Senate to the Council of Veterans, if in its opinion there is a compelling case for such a dissolution after hearing the written petition of not less than 10% of the voters whose names are listed in the Register of Voters kept by the Election Commision as at the date of the petition.

  11. Upon such a recommendation of the House of Justice, the Senate shall be dissolved and a new senatorial election shall be called, if not less than two-thirds (2/3) of the Councillors present and voting vote in favour of the dissolution.

  12. If the recommendation for the dissolution of the Senate fails in Council of Veterans, then there shall be no more recommendation for the dissolution of the Senate by the House of Justice for the next 12 months unless there is a petition for the dissolution of the Senate to the House of Justice of at least 10 percentage points more of the voters whose names are listed in the Register of Voters kept by the Election Commision as at the date of the petition than that of the previous petition.

  13. However, the Senate shall be dissolved and a new senatorial election shall be called, if, at any time, there is a petition for the dissolution of the Senate by not less than 50% of the voters whose names are listed in the Register of Voters kept by the Election Commision as at the date of the petition.

  14. The quorum for the Senate shall be 50 and should the total number of the Senators at any time fall below 80, there shall be a new senatorial election within three (3) months therefrom.

  15. Terms of office including the remuneration and other benefits of the Senators shall be recommended by the Talent Development Institute and approved and confirmed by the Council of Veterans.

    In the event of sudden death, resignation or incapacity of the Chairman or Vice-Chairman, the Senate shall elect from among the Senators a new Chairman or Vice-Chairman, as the case may be.

  16. In the event of the temporary unavailability of the Chairman or Vice-Chairman, the Senate shall elect from among the Senators an acting Chairman or Vice-Chairman to perform the functions and duties of the Chairman or Vice-Chairman, as the case may be.

  17. Except for the impeachment of the President (or the Prime Minister and dissolution of the Parliament), all other matters or questions proposed for decision in the Senate shall be determined by a majority of the votes of the Senators present and voting, and the Chairman shall have the casting vote in the event of a tie.

  18. The Senate shall have the powers to appoint the appropriate investigating committee to look into allegations or suspicions of wrongdoing or malpractice by any person holding a public office including the President with the exception of the Councillors. The proceedings of such a investigating committee shall be telecasted live over national television and the Internet except those parts of the proceedings that involve the issues of national security and state secrets unless authorised otherwise by the Senate.

  19. The Senate shall have the powers to remove any undesirable Senator from office after a public debate provided that any Senator so removed shall have the right to appeal to the Supreme Court and House of Justice for reinstatement to his office and he shall be reinstated to his office if both the Supreme Court and House of Justice rule in favour of the reinstatement.

  20. The Senate shall have the powers to appoint the appropriate committee for any purpose as it deems fit.

Council of Veterans (non-elected)

  1. The Council of Veterans is a non-elected Institution or Body and comprises preferably with people who have the knowledge and experience in the management of state affairs and who are respected community leaders and thinkers. It is not a platform for the promotion of vested interests or an arena of conflicts for the various groups in the country.

  2. Leaders of the business and professional communities may be included in the Council, if they are qualified individuals as spelled out in the preceding paragraph, but not as members of vested interest groups or lobbies. In other words, Councillors are expected to view issues from the national perspective and not from a personal or group perspective.

  3. Apart from being a huge reservoir of ideas and experience, it can also have certain constitutional functions such as making recommendations to the Senate for the Appointment or Removal of the Judges of both the Judiciary and the House of Justice and of other Independent Bodies for a more balanced system of governance.

  4. Moreover, the Council of Veterans would not be in competition with the Presidency, Senate or Independent Institutions or Bodies for talents. It is actually designed for people who could make valuable contributions to the country, but somehow they are unable to serve in the Presidency, Senate or in the Independent Institutions or Bodies. The Councillors are likely, save for the justifiable cases, to be people who are retired, semi-retired or near retiring age to have the necessary experience, knowledge and judgement on state and societal matters (and hence ‘Veterans’).

  5. Councillors can be full or part-time depending on the Councillors themselves. Full-time or more active Councillors would be given more resources. They are likely to be former presidents, ministers, members of Parliament, permanent secretaries and other senior government officers, and community leaders, academics, thinkers and business leaders. Citizens with problems may approach the Councillors or Senators of their choice for help, because the Councillors or Senators would be more effective in dealing with government departments or civil servants than ordinary citizens. This is because they can bring up any matter of public concern or interest for debate in the Council of Veterans or the Senate respectively or in the national media.

  6. Each Councillor shall be appointed by the Senate as such for the life of the person on the recommendation of the Talent Development Institute.

  7. Terms of office including the allowances and other benefits of the Councillors shall be recommended by the Talent Development Institute and approved and confirmed by the Senate.

  8. Any Councillor who has failed to attend the Council sessions or to his allotted duties by the Duties Allotment Committee of the Council for five times consecutively in a continuous period of more than one (1) month without a good or acceptable reason or excuse shall be deemed to have resigned from the Council. However, such a person is still eligible for appointment as a Councillor subject to the procedures for the appointment as provided in the NPS.

  9. Any Councillor who is on approved leave shall be deemed to have a good or acceptable reason or excuse for not attending the Council sessions or to his allotted duties.

  10. Councillors who are on approved leave are still eligible for voting in the Council sessions.

  11. For the first year following the establishment of the Council of Veterans, the total number of Councillors at any time shall not be less than 300 and the quorum shall be 150.

  12. For subsequent years, the total number of Councillors at any time shall not be less than 500 and the quorum shall be 250. If the total number of Councillors should fall below 500, then more Councillors shall be appointed as soon as practicable, but within three (3) months from such eventuality.

  13. The Council of Veterans shall have the powers to appoint the appropriate investigating committee to look into allegations or suspicions of wrongdoing or malpractice by any person holding a public office including the President with the exception of the Senators. The proceedings of such a investigating committee shall be telecasted live over national television and the Internet except for those parts of the proceedings that involve the issues of national security and state secrets unless authorised otherwise by the Council of Veterans.

  14. The Council of Veterans shall have the powers to remove any undesirable Councillor from office after a public debate provided that any Councillor so removed shall have the right to appeal to the Supreme Court and House of Justice for reinstatement to his office and he shall be reinstated to his office if both the Supreme Court and House of Justice rule in favour of the reinstatement.

  15. Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, the Senate may call or propose a referendum to remove any undesirable Councillor from office after a public debate and any Councillor so removed shall have no right to appeal to the Supreme Court and House of Justice for reinstatement to his office as the voters' decision on his removal from office shall be final and conclusive. Such a person shall henceforth not be eligible for another appointment to the Council of Veterans unless there is a subsequent referendum approving him being appointed to the Council of Veterans.

  16. If the proposal for the removal of a Councillor were not adopted by the voters in a referendum, then there shall be no more referendum for the removal of the same Councillor for the next 12 months unless the House of Justice sanctions such a referendum.

  17. The Council of Veterans shall have the powers to appoint the appropriate committee for any purpose as it deems fit.

    Grand Councillor

  18. The Council of Veterans shall elect a Grand Councillor (the Chairman of the Council of Veterans) for a term of 5 years. It may also elect a Councillor for a second or subsequent terms of 5 years each as Grand Councillor, provided the election is confirmed by not less than a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the votes of the Councillors present and voting.

  19. The Grand Councillor shall be the Head of State and shall assume and discharge the duties and responsibilities of that office.

  20. In the event of the temporary unavailability of the Grand Councillor, the Council of Veterans shall elect from among the Councillors an acting Grand Councillor to perform the functions and duties of the Grand Councillor.

  21. Unless otherwise expressly provided in the Constitution, all questions proposed for decision in the Council of Veterans shall be determined by a majority of the votes of the Councillors present and voting, and the Grand Councillor shall have the casting vote in the event of a tie.

Independent Institutions or Bodies (IIB)

  1. These Institutions or Bodies are independent meaning that they are independent from the Presidency which is the Executive-cum-Legislature.

  2. The President shall not have any say or in any way be involved in the Appointments, Removals, Budgets, etc of the Independent Institutions or Bodies as well as the Senate and the Council of Veterans so that these Institutions or Bodies can also act as the constitutional checks and balances.

  3. The terms of office including the remuneration and other benefits of the members of the Independent Institutions or Bodies other than Talent Development Institute shall be recommended by the Talent Development Institute, approved by the Council of Veterans and confirmed by the Senate.

  4. Any person for appointment to the Independent Institutions or Bodies other than Talent Development Institute shall be recommended by the Talent Development Institute, approved by the Council of Veterans and confirmed by the Senate.

  5. The Appointments to the Independent Institutions or Bodies would follow broadly the same format like the one in which the Judges are appointed to the Judiciary. For instance, each Judge would serve until the retirement age of 65 years and since the great majority of the Judges do not have their retirement ages at the same time, the problem of all the Judges retiring simultaneously or within a very short period would not arise. But the format of service of each Independent Institution or Body may differ from the rest according to the needs and requirements of that Independent Institution or Body.

The Judiciary

  1. The Judiciary is to remain as it is and its primary concern is law and not justice except that it would have the additional duty to review for bad or poor quality legislations. Any legislation or any part thereof found by the Judiciary to be so shall first be returned to the President (or the Parliament) for amendments within the time prescribed by the Judiciary failing which it shall then be referred to the Senate for approval or veto.

  2. With regard to any legislation or any part thereof which has been vetoed by the Senate, the President shall still have the option to call for a referendum for the approval of the voters. Any legislation that has been rejected by the majority of the voters shall then be discarded.

  3. (Appointment Clause deleted. Appointment provisions now centralized under Independent Institutions or Bodies heading.)

House of Justice (HOJ)

  1. The House of Justice like the Council of Veterans is a freshly created Institution or Body. It is not a replacement for the Judiciary. It is a constitutional equivalent of the Judiciary and exists side by side with it, but unlike the Judiciary, its primary concern is justice and not law.

  2. The House of Justice should have the constitutional powers to set aside unjust judicial judgements and to vary the sentences that are meted by the Courts of Law to what is just according to an agreed standard and principles of justice subject to a nominal sum of S$1.00.

  3. (Appointment Clause deleted. Appointment provisions now centralized under Independent Institutions or Bodies heading.)

  4. The House of Justice would be very busy for a very long time because it has to hear, consider and propose the principles of justice to be enshrined in the new Constitution and also to review or consider the following:

    1. all proposed legislations;
    2. all questions of justice referred to it by the Senate and the Council of Veterans;
    3. the Petitions of citizens who believe that they are unjustly treated by the state or the law;
    4. any instance of injustice that may come to its attention; and
    5. the whole lot of existing legislations and other laws:

  5. When the day comes when the House of Justice is idle most of the time, we would have a society that is among the most just on the planet, where justice rules supreme and not a dirty word in the mind of many. Having a just society would also be a very good reason to be proud of being a Singaporean wherever he may be, apart from having redeemed an important part of the National Pledge to build a democratic society based on justice and equality.

The Election Commission (EC)

  1. The Election Commission is responsible for organizing free, fair, secure and efficient elections and referenda. The electoral and the referendum processes could be updated, modernized and improved with the advances already made in the Information Age.

  2. All rules, regulations or procedures made or formulated by the Election Commission shall be operative only after they are confirmed by the Council of Veterans and approved by the Senate.

  3. No person who shall not have attained the age of twenty-one (21) and been three (3) years a citizen of Singapore as at the date of announcement of the election for the President or Senate shall vote in the election.

    The Election Commission shall provide all qualified voters with their login and candidate endorsement and voting passwords.

  4. It is the voters’ responsibility to test and ensure that the login and candidate endorsement and voting passwords are working properly once the Election Commission announces publicly that an election would be held soon (hereinafter referred to as “the election announcement”). Any voter who has a problem in his access to the Election Commission website, in the candidate endorsement function or who has any other problem should contact the Election Commission immediately with the view of sorting out such a problem. It is also the voters’ responsibility to ensure the confidentiality of their login and endorsement passwords.

  5. Following the election announcement, all qualified persons who are interested to be a candidate shall send in their application in a prescribed online form for the election. Other persons who are nominating a qualified candidate shall confirm in their prescribed online nomination form that they have the written consent of the candidate they are nominating.

  6. The Election Commission, after verifying the application or the nomination of a prospective candidate, shall, on a first-come-first-serve basis for the purpose of the voters’ endorsement, post his photo together with the relevant personal particulars on its website with a hyperlink to the candidate’s website where the voters can find out more information about the candidate and his election programmes.

  7. Application and nomination of candidates for the election shall cease on the 10th day following the election announcement.

  8. All voter endorsements for the candidates for the election shall cease on the 20th day following the election announcement.

  9. All ballot boxes shall be sealed as soon as practical after the election ends and securely kept by the Election Commission for 6 months in case of allegation of cheating or other complaints and thereafter all the ballot papers shall be destroyed according to the election rules and regulations.

  10. The printed ballot papers may carry a serial number for the purpose of auditing in the event of a complaint, but counterfoils of the ballot papers and the writing or recording of the voter number or any other particular of the voter that could lead to the identification of the voter shall be prohibited.

    Presidential Election

  11. The following procedures shall be adopted for the presidential election:

    1. Each voter may endorse more than one candidates in order of choice, but not exceeding 21 candidates and only one endorsement for each candidate.

    2. Not later than the 23th day following the election announcement, the Election Commission shall finalize a list of 21 candidates who have obtained the most 1st to 21st choice endorsements for the election or such lesser number of candidates that are available.

    3. In the event there are more than one candidates who obtain the same total of the 1st to 21st choice endorsements which would immediately render the aforesaid list to exceed 21 candidates, all such candidates shall be eligible for the election together with those who have obtained more 1st to 21th choice endorsements than they. So the list at this point of time would contain more than 21 eligible candidates, with the extra candidates over 21 as the result of the tie. All other candidates who have obtained a total of the 1st to 21th choice endorsements less than this last group of candidates shall not eligible for the election.

    4. To this list of 21 or more candidates shall be added all other persons who have obtained not less than 10% of the total of the 1st to 3rd choice endorsements of the voters.

    5. In addition to the aforesaid candidates, the Talent Development Institute shall propose 3 candidates of its choice for the election.

    6. If the total number of valid candidates is still less than 24 as at the 24th day following the election announcement, the Talent Development Institute shall then propose such additional number of candidates to make up to a total of 24 candidates for the election.

    7. The Election Commission shall then post the final list of candidates for the presidential election on its website.

    8. On the 40th day following the election announcement (the election day), the voters shall go to the polling stations to key in their votes for the candidates in order of choice and then have their list of chosen candidates printed out and the hard copy shall be deposited into a ballot box after signing on it.

    9. The candidate who has won more than 50% of the first choice valid votes cast shall be the President-elect.

    10. In the event when there is no candidate who has won more than 50% of the first choice valid vote cast in the first ballot, there shall be a second ballot and only the top twelve (12) candidates with the greatest number of 1st to 12th choice valid votes cast in the first ballot shall be eligible for the balloting. The candidate who has won more than 50% of the first choice valid votes cast in this second ballot shall be the President-elect.

    11. In the event when there is no candidate who has won more than 50% of the first choice valid vote cast in the second ballot, there shall be a third ballot and only the top seven (7) candidates with the greatest number of 1st to 7th choice valid votes cast in the second ballot shall be eligible for the balloting. The candidate who has won more than 50% of the first choice valid votes cast in this third ballot shall be the President-elect.

    12. In the event when there is no candidate who has won more than 50% of the first choice valid vote cast in the third ballot, there shall be a fourth ballot and only the top five (5) candidates with the greatest number of 1st to 5th choice valid votes cast in the third ballot shall be eligible for the balloting. The candidate who has won more than 50% of the first choice valid votes cast in this fourth ballot shall be the President-elect.

    13. In the event when there is no candidate who has won more than 50% of the first choice valid vote cast in the fourth ballot, there shall be a fifth ballot and only the top three (3) candidates with the greatest number of 1st to 3rd choice valid votes cast in the fourth ballot shall be eligible for the balloting. The candidate who has won more than 50% of the first choice valid votes cast in this fifth ballot shall be the President-elect.

    14. In the event when there is no candidate who has won more than 50% of the first choice valid vote cast in the fifth ballot, there shall be a sixth and final ballot and only the top two (2) candidates with the greatest number of 1st to 2nd choice valid votes cast in the fifth ballot shall be eligible for the balloting. The candidate who has won more than 50% of the first choice valid votes cast in this sixth ballot shall be the President-elect.

    15. In the event of a tie of the first choice valid vote cast in the sixth ballot, the Grand Councillor as the Head of State shall have the casting vote. The candidate who has the vote of the Grand Councillor shall be the President-elect.

    Senatorial Election

  12. This election is open to all eligible citizens and the young, energetic and enterprising are particularly encouraged to stand as candidates. The Senate in the NPS is the cradle for future Presidents as it provides excellent exposure to the voters and valuable electioneering experience for those who believe they could serve the people and nation better if they were presidents.

  13. The following procedures shall be adopted for the senatorial election:

    1. Each voter may endorse more than one candidates in order of choice, but not exceeding 100 candidates and only one endorsement for each candidate.

    2. Not later than the 23th day following the election announcement, the Election Commission shall finalize a list of 270 candidates who have the most 1st to 100th choice endorsements for the election or such lesser number of candidates that are available.

    3. In the event there are more than one candidates who obtain the same total of 1st to 100th choice endorsements which would immediately render the aforesaid list to exceed 270 candidates, all such candidates shall be eligible for the election together with those who have obtained more 1st to 100th choice endorsements than they. So the list at this point of time would contain more than 270 eligible candidates, with the extra candidates over 270 as the result of the tie. All other candidates who have obtained a total of 1st to 100th choice endorsements less than this last group of candidates shall not eligible for the election.

    4. To this list of 270 or more candidates shall be added all other persons who have obtained not less than 10% of the total of the 1st to 3rd choice endorsements of the voters.

    5. In addition to the aforesaid candidates,the Talent Development Institute shall propose 30 candidates of its choice for the election.

    6. If the total number of valid candidates is still less than 300 as at the 24th day following the election announcement, the Talent Development Institute shall then propose such additional number of candidates to make up to a total of 300 candidates for the election.

    7. The Election Commission shall then post the final list of candidates for the senatorial election on its website.

    8. On the 40th day following the election announcement (the election day), the voters shall go to the polling stations to key in their votes for the candidates in order of choice for up to the first 100 candidates and then have their list of chosen candidates printed out and the hard copy shall be deposited into a ballot box after signing on it.

    9. The candidate with the greatest number of 1st choice votes shall be the 1st Senator-elect. The candidate with the greatest number of 1st and 2nd choice votes shall be the 2nd Senator-elect and so on until the candidate with the greatest number of 1st to 100th choice votes shall be the 100th Senator-elect.

    10. In the event there are more than one Senators-elect who obtain the same total of choice votes, such Senators-elect shall draw lots to determine their senatorial seniority. For example, if there were 2 Senators-elect with the same total of the 1st to 6th choice votes, then they shall draw lots to determine who is the 6th and 7th Senator respectively.

  14. Within 90 days after the election, the Election Commission shall publish with full details the reasons for the invalidity of the unsuccessful applications to be election candidates, if there were any.

    Referendum

  15. The following procedures shall be adopted for the referendum:

    1. It is the voters’ responsibility to test and ensure that the login and issue endorsement and voting passwords are working properly once the Election Commission announces publicly that a referendum would be held soon (hereinafter referred to as “the referendum announcement”).

    2. Following the referendum announcement, the Election Commission shall post all the issues or questions (hereinafter referred to as “the issues”) for the referendum on its website for the voters' endorsement.

    3. Each voter may endorse more than one issues for the referendum.

    4. All issue endorsements for the referendum shall cease on the 10th day following the referendum announcement.

    5. Not later than the 13th day following the referendum announcement, the Election Commission shall finalize a list of issues which have obtained endorsements of not less than 25% of the voters whose names are listed in the Register of Voters kept by the Election Commision as at the date of the referendum announcement.

    6. Any issue which has obtained less voters' endorsements shall not eligible for the referendum.

    7. Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, any referendum called or proposed by the President, the Senate or the Council of Veterans shall not require any voters' endorsement and such referendum shall be carried out on the 30th day following the referendum announcement (the referendum day).

    8. On the referendum day, the voters shall go to the polling stations to key in their votes for the issues they support and then have their list of such issues printed out and the hard copy shall be deposited into a ballot box after signing on it.

    9. The issues which have obtained not less than 50% of the valid votes cast shall be declared adopted.

    10. If there were two or more conflicting issues which have obtained not less than 50% of the valid votes cast in the same referendum, then the issue which has obtained the greatest number of the valid votes cast shall prevail.

    11. If there were two or more conflicting issues which have obtained not less than 50% of the valid votes cast in the same referendum and more than one issues have obtained the same greatest number of the valid votes cast, then the issue which has the vote of the Grand Councillor as the Head of State shall prevail.

    12. If there were two or more conflicting issues which have obtained not less than 50% of the valid votes cast in different referenda, then the issue which is adopted by the voters in the later or latest referendum as the case may be shall prevail.

  16. For those who are unable to key in their votes, staff from the Election Commission who are sworn to secrecy may help out confidentially in full view of the voter concerned, but the voter himself, save for exceptional circumstances, shall complete the voting process after verifying his voting choices and deposit the signed hard copy into the ballot box.

  17. Further refinements for voters with special needs such as those who are visually handicapped can be looked into by the Election Commission where possible and feasible.

  18. (Appointment Clause deleted. Appointment provisions now centralized under Independent Institutions or Bodies heading.)

Talent Development Institute

  1. The Talent Development Institute may, among other responsibilities, sponsor new election candidates for the Presidency and the Senate, especially from among young and unknown ones to the Council of Veterans for debate, discussion and, if suitable, for endorsement. However, this is not the only way in which election candidates are accepted by the The Election Commission.

  2. The first three persons for appointment to the Talent Development Institute shall be recommended by the Judiciary and appointed by the Senate. Subsequent persons for appointment to the Institute shall be recommended by the Council of Veterans and appointed by the Senate.

  3. The terms of office including the allowances and other benefits of the members of the Talent Development Institute shall be recommended by the Council of Veterans and approved and confirmed by the Senate.

  4. The Talent Development Institute shall recommend candidates to the Senate for appointment to the Council of Veterans as Councillors.

  5. It shall also make the recommendation for the remunerations, allowances and other benefits of the President, Senators, Councillors and other Independent Institutions or Bodies to the appropriate authority.

Immunity from prosecution and lawsuits

  1. All members of the Senate, Council of Veterans and Independent Institutions or Bodies shall be immune from prosecution by the government and from lawsuits.

  2. The president and members of his Cabinet shall be immune from lawsuits.

  3. However, any such former member or former President or Cabinet member may be liable for prosecution under the law for any crime or offence or for lawsuits provided there shall be no prosecution or lawsuits for any act or omission done or failed to be done in good faith in the course of official duty or while any such former member is still in the process of appealing to the Supreme Court or The House of Justice for reinstatement to his office.

  4. The immunity from prosecution by government against the members of the Senate, Council of Veterans and Independent Institutions or Bodies while in office is to forestall any threat, intimidation or blackmail against such member by the President so that the aforesaid members could carry out their official duties free such threat, intimidation or blackmail.

  5. The immunity from lawsuits against senior public officials while in office is to forestall against any blackmail against such officials by the threat of lawsuits or against any exploitation of their social or personal eminence by citizens or others for instant fame and fortune.

  6. More importantly, such public officials would not be bogged down by private or personal matters or by officially irrelevant sensationalism so that they would not be seriously distracted from discharging their vital public duties.

  7. Nevertheless, the transparency of the NPS is a powerful deterrent against official corruption and wrongdoing.

  8. Moreover, elected officials with limited office tenure would be discouraged from wrongdoings or excesses as they are open to prosecution or lawsuits once their office tenure ends.

  9. On and above this, the NPS also has provisions which could be used for the removal from office of any senior public official with unacceptable conduct or who has committed serious offences.

  10. Any such removal from office is tantamount to the withdraw of the immunity from prosecution or lawsuits.

Conversion from the existing system

  1. We may have to abolish or upgrade the existing Presidency and create the new Presidency with Legislative powers. The existing Parliament may be converted into the Senate except that the Senators are subsequently to be elected directly instead of constituently so as to avoid group interest representation. We also have to create the House of Justice and the non-elected Council of Veterans.

  2. During the transitional period, there have to be special provisions for the conversion from the existing system to the NPS.

  3. The existing Parliament may be converted into the Senate and the Prime Minister becomes the 1st President. At the absolute discretion of the Prime Minister, he may appoint his existing ministers and other parliamentarians to important positions in his new Administration. The rest of the Members of Parliament would then become the first Senators of the new Senate. The total number of Senators in this case would be less than 100.

  4. Similarly, we may see the new Council of Veterans, the House of Justice and the Talent Development Institute having many prominent people from or associated with the existing ruling party. So the voters would have at least five years to familiarize themselves with the workings of the NPS and for intensive voter education .

  5. We can also expect that, for the next 2 or 3 elections, the influence of the existing ruling party may still be considerable because it has a very good head start with the first Presidency and a near total dominance of the new Senate. As the first people running the government and appearing on national television and on the Internet debating and discussing national issues, the voters would know them far better than most other people and hence their excellent re-election chances.

  6. However, the de-PAPization of Singapore society would have also gone a long way towards the eventual emergence of a no-party state.

  7. If we prefer to retain our existing system, we can still have the Council of Veterans and the House of Justice enlarging our system. If we do so, then we are settling for something that is quite far away from the ‘ideal’, but nevertheless, it is still a huge improvement for our existing system.

  8. If we retain the existing system, we do not have the ‘ideal’ condition. Every organ of state or institution is not fully independent of the Prime Minister. The best we can have is to have the Justices for the House of Justice recommended by the Public Service Commission (the nearest equivalent to the Talent Development Institute in the NPS) and approved and confirmed by the elected President (the person most independent of the Prime Minister).

  9. Apart from certain constitutional duties, the Council of Veterans being a prestige Institution or Body should be a relatively low cost set-up requiring only an avenue for discussing and advising the nation by very experienced and talented people who would not be paid the market price for their services. What they would get are prestige, recognition and honour for their past contributions to society and what they would provide is the opportunity for the nation to tap on their experience, judgement and talent. What they would enjoy is free publicity for their views and opinion and perhaps an allowance. The Council as a whole also contributes to the constitutional checks and balances and to a working democracy.

  10. The House of Justice on the other hand like the Judiciary is costly. So the question is: Do we as a people value justice and are willing to pay the price for justice? This was the single most important question raised in my first posting on House of Justice.

  11. The payment for justice includes sacrificing some time on a Sunday or on a weekday for voting in a referendum as we cannot afford to declare a public holiday for the holding of every referendum. The Information Age would eventually provide a secure, efficient and reliable electronic voting system that would support a maturing democracy by assigning to the museum the current cumbersome and expensive voting systems. In the meantime, those who value justice and democracy must be prepared to make the necessary sacrifice.

Best Regards

Related Postings by:

  1. Chwee Hock
  2. MGBCPC

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