President of Singapore

The president of Singapore, officially the president of the Republic of Singapore, is the head of state of Singapore. The president represents Singapore in official diplomatic functions and possesses some executive powers over the government of Singapore.

President of the
Republic of Singapore
Presidential Standard
Halimah Yacob
since 14 September 2017
TypeHead of state
ResidenceThe Istana
Direct election
Term lengthSix years, renewable
Inaugural holderYusof Ishak
Formation9 August 1965 (1965-08-09)
SalaryS$1,540,000 annually

After Singapore achieved self-governance from British rule in 1959, the ceremonial office of the Yang di-Pertuan Negara (lit. "Lord of the State") was created. The office was later transformed into that of the presidency after Singapore's independence in 1965. The initial role of the president was largely ceremonial and symbolic, carrying with it limited executive power, but the role was later vested with the power to veto certain bills, most notably in relation to the country's reserves, as well as to revoke or refuse public service appointments among other powers listed in the constitution.

Until 1991, the presidency was previously appointed by parliament. A constitutional amendment that year made the president directly elected by a popular vote, which was subsequently first held in 1993. Singapore follows a non-executive model of the parliamentary system whereby the president is not the head of government and does not have full control over the executive or military. These powers are instead vested in the cabinet, led by the prime minister.

Under the constitution, the president must be non-partisan and elected by popular vote. The current president is Halimah Yacob, who took office on 14 September 2017 after running unopposed. She is the first female president in the country's history.


The office of the President of the Republic of Singapore was created on 9 August 1965 when Singapore achieved independence from Malaysia.[1] It replaced the office of Yang di-Pertuan Negara which was created when Singapore attained self-governance from the United Kingdom in 1959. The last Yang di-Pertuan Negara, Yusof Ishak, became the first president of Singapore. After his death in 1971, he was succeeded by Benjamin Sheares who was appointed by parliament and served until his death in 1981.

Sheares was succeeded by Devan Nair, who then resigned in 1985. Whilst the apparent reason for Nair's resignation was to seek recovery from his alcoholism, Nair disputes the account, claiming that he was forced out of office by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. Nair was replaced by Wee Kim Wee, who served until 1993 and was the first president to exercise custodial powers pursuant to the constitutional amendments in 1991.

In the early 1980s, the People's Action Party, who at the time occupied all the parliamentary seats in Singapore, suffered their first parliamentary loss in 15 years to the Worker's Party's J. B. Jeyaretnam. As such, then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew became worried that there would one day be a "freak election result" where the PAP would no longer have control over the parliament and opposition parties would have unfettered access to the government's reserves.[2][3] As such, in January 1991, a constitutional[note 1] amendment was passed by parliament to redefine the role of the president.

The amendment provided that the president would be elected by popular vote, subject to strict eligibility requirements. The president was also empowered by the amendment to veto the use of the country's past reserves and revoke or refuse appointments to certain high-ranking public offices. The president can also examine the Government's usage of the Internal Security Act[4] and Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act,[5] and concur with the director of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau to investigate persons for corrupt practices, even if the Prime Minister refuses consent.

The first elected president was Ong Teng Cheong, who served as Deputy Prime Minister prior to his presidency. He served as president from 1993 to 1999. Officially, the Singapore government regards Ong's predecessor Wee Kim Wee as the first elected president on the basis that he held and exercised the powers of the elected president.[6] This was a result of transitional provisions in the Constitution of Singapore in 2017,[7] which were affirmed by the High Court following a legal challenge by then presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock.[8][9][10] He unsueccessfully appealed against this decision, but the appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal.[11]

The sixth and the oldest to become president was S. R. Nathan, unelected by members of public in a vote, but became president by virtue of being the sole candidate deemed qualified by the Presidential Elections Committee. He served his first term of office from 1999 to 2005 before being re-elected again without contest for a second term, and he served until 2011.

After S. R. Nathan stepped down, Tony Tan, who served as Deputy Prime Minister between 1995 and 2005, won the 2011 presidential election by a narrow margin. He was sworn in as the seventh president of Singapore on 1 September 2011.

In 2016, further amendments to the Constitution were passed providing for "reserved elections" for a particular ethnic community, if that community has not provided a president in the past five presidential terms.

The eighth and incumbent president, Halimah Yacob, who served as Speaker of Parliament prior to her presidency, took office on 14 September 2017. She was the sole eligible candidate under the new reform terms which took effect earlier that year. She is the first Malay head of state in 47 years since the death of the first president of Singapore, Yusof Ishak.[12] She is also the first female President of Singapore.[13]

Constitutional role

The president is the head of state of the Republic of Singapore.[14] In addition to being the Head of State, it is also the function of the President to safeguard the past reserves of Singapore and the integrity of the Public Services of Singapore.[15] The executive authority of Singapore is vested in the president and exercisable by them or by the Cabinet or any minister authorised by the Cabinet.[16] However, the Constitution vests "general direction and control of the Government" in the Cabinet.[17] In most cases, the president is bound to exercise their powers in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or of a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet.[18]

However, the president is able to exercise some powers in their personal discretion[19] such as preventing the government of the day from drawing on the reserves which were not accumulated during its current term of office, refusing to make or revoking an appointment to any of the public offices under Article 22 of the Constitution such as Chief Justice, Attorney-General, Chief of Defence Force and Commissioner of Police, amongst others.[20], exercising oversight over the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau and decisions of the Executive under the Internal Security Act[4] and the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act.[5]

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev speaking to President S. R. Nathan during the former's visit in 2009

As a component of the legislature together with Parliament, the president is also jointly vested with legislative authority.[21] The president's primary role in the exercise of legislative power to make laws is assenting to bills passed by Parliament.[22]

As the president exercises this constitutional function in accordance with the Cabinet's advice and not in their personal discretion except in certain circumstances,[23] they may not refuse to assent to bills that Parliament has validly passed. The words of enactment in Singapore Statutes are: "Be it enacted by the president with the advice and consent of the Parliament of Singapore, as follows:".[24] The president usually opens each parliamentary session with an address drafted by the Cabinet setting out the government's agenda for the session,[25] and may address Parliament and send messages to it.[26]

The president has been called "Singapore's No. 1 diplomat".[27] Ambassadors and high commissioners accredited to Singapore present their credentials to the president, and the president is called upon by visiting foreign dignitaries. In addition, the president contributes to the nation's external relations by undertaking overseas trips on Cabinet's advice. The president also serves as the ex officio chancellor of both the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University.

Presidents have also used the office to champion charitable causes. Wee Kim Wee promoted sports and volunteerism; Ong Teng Cheong promoted culture and the arts, particularly music; and S. R. Nathan established the President's Challenge with the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports and its statutory board, the National Council of Social Service. As of 2011, the endeavour had raised more than S$100 million for charities supporting disabled and needy people.[27]


The president has personal discretion as to whether to approve budgets or financial transactions of specified statutory boards and state-owned companies that are likely to draw on past reserves. The Monetary Authority of Singapore, photographed here in September 2009, is one such statutory board.

The powers of the president are divided into those which the president may exercise in their own discretion, and those which must be exercised in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or of a minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet.[28] In addition, the president is required to consult the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA) when performing some of their functions. In other cases, they may consult the CPA if they wish to but is not bound to do so.[29]

The Constitution confers on the president certain executive functions to block attempts by the government of the day to draw down reserves that it did not accumulate. Thus, a guarantee may only be given or a loan raised by the government if the president concurs,[30] and their approval is also needed for budgets of specified statutory boards and state-owned companies that draw on their past reserves.[31]

The president also possesses personal discretion to withhold assent to any bill in Parliament providing directly or indirectly for the direct or indirect variation, changing or increase in powers of the Central Provident Fund Board to invest moneys belonging to it;[32] and the borrowing of money, the giving of any guarantee or the raising of any loan by the government if in the president's opinion the bill is likely to draw on reserves not accumulated by the Government during its current term of office.[33] In addition, the president may withhold assent to any Supply Bill, Supplementary Supply Bill or Final Supply Bill for any financial year if in their opinion the estimates of revenue and expenditure, supplementary estimates or statement of excess are likely to lead to a drawing on past reserves.[34]

The president is also empowered to approve changes to key political appointments, such as the chief justice, attorney-general, chairman and members of the Public Service Commission, chief of Defence Force and the commissioner of Police.[35] They also appoint the prime minister, a Member of Parliament (MP) who, in their opinion, is likely to command the confidence of a majority of MPs.[36] The president has certain powers of oversight over the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau[37] and decisions of the Executive under the Internal Security Act[38] and the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act.[39]

Under the Singapore Armed Forces Act, the president has the authority to raise and maintain the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). The president also has the power to form, disband or amalgamate units within the SAF.

The term of office of the first elected president, Ong Teng Cheong, was marked by the differences between the government and him, concerning the extent of his discretionary fiscal powers.[40] Discussions culminated in the government issuing a non-binding white paper entitled The Principles for Determining and Safeguarding the Accumulated Reserves of the Government and the Fifth Schedule Statutory Boards and Government Companies (1999).[41]

In 2009, the government had to request for the approval from President S. R. Nathan to draw $4.9 billion from past financial reserves to meet current budget expenditure, the first time it had done so. The sum was used to fund the government's Resilience Package consisting of two schemes aimed at preserving jobs and businesses during the financial downturn.[42]



A person who wishes to run for the office of president has to fulfil stringent qualifications set out in the Constitution, which are as follows:

  • The president must be a citizen of Singapore.[43]
  • The president must not be less than 45 years of age.[44]
  • The president's name must appear in a current register of electors.[45]
  • The president must be resident in Singapore at the date of their nomination for election, and must have been so resident for periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than ten years prior to that date.[46]
  • The president must not be subject to any of the following disqualifications:[47]
(a) being and having been found or declared to be of unsound mind;
(b) being an undischarged bankrupt;
(c) holding an office of profit;
(d) having been nominated for election to Parliament or the office of President or having acted as election agent to a person so nominated, failing to lodge any return of election expenses required by law within the time and in the manner so required;
(e) having been convicted of an offence by a court of law in Singapore or Malaysia and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year or to a fine of not less than S$2,000 and having not received a free pardon, provided that where the conviction is by a court of law in Malaysia, the person shall not be disqualified unless the offence is also one which, had it been committed in Singapore, would have been punishable by a court of law in Singapore;[48]
(f) having voluntarily acquired the citizenship of, or exercised rights of citizenship in, a foreign country, or having made a declaration of allegiance to a foreign country;[49]
(g) being disqualified under any law relating to offences in connection with elections to Parliament or the office of President by reason of having been convicted of such an offence or having in proceedings relating to such an election been proved guilty of an act constituting such an offence.

The strictness of these qualifications led to the 1999, 2005, and 2017 elections being walkovers as only one candidate had qualified on nomination day.[56][57]

In November 2016, further amendments provide for "reserved elections" for a particular racial group (Chinese, Malay and Indian/other minority) — if that community has not been represented for five presidential terms.[58][59] Other amendments were made to expand the list of key government companies eligible for the candidacy,[53] and, for candidates using their private sector experience, the use of $500 million of shareholder equity instead of $100 million in paid-up capital.[54] The changes went into effect in April 2017.[60] Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong later explained that while he expected the "reserved election" policy to be unpopular among the population, he believed it was "the right thing to do".[61]

Election procedure

The Elections Department, which oversees elections in Singapore

The president holds office for a term of six years from the date on which they assume office.[62] The office falls vacant upon the expiry of the incumbent's term or if the president is for some reason unable to complete their term; for example, due to death, resignation, or removal from office for misconduct or mental or physical infirmity.[63] If the office of president becomes vacant before the incumbent's term expires, a poll for an election must be held within six months.[64] In other cases, an election can take place any time from three months before the expiry of the incumbent's term of office.[65]

The procedure for elections is laid out in the Presidential Elections Act.[66] The process begins when the prime minister issues a writ of election to the returning officer specifying the date and place of nomination day.[67] Potential candidates must obtain certificates of eligibility from the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC), the function of which is to ensure that such persons have the necessary qualifications to be nominated as a candidate for the election.[68] In particular, the PEC must be satisfied that the potential candidates are persons of integrity, good character and reputation;[50] and if they have not previously held certain key government offices or acted as chairman of the board of directors or CEO of a company incorporated or registered under the Companies Act with shareholders' equity of at least $500 million, that they held a position of comparable seniority and responsibility in the public or private sector that has given them experience and ability in administering and managing financial affairs.[55] The PEC consists of the chairman of the Public Service Commission, who is also the chairman of the PEC,[69] the chairman of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, and a member of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights.[70] For the 2017 presidential election, the members of the PEC are Eddie Teo (chairman), Lim Soo Hoon, Chan Heng Chee, Po'ad Shaik Abu Bakar Mattar, Tay Yong Kwang, and Peter Seah.[71]

In addition, candidates must obtain political donation certificates from the registrar of political donations stating that they have complied with the Political Donations Act,[72] and file their nomination papers with the returning officer on nomination day.[73] A deposit must also be paid.[74] The candidate is declared to have been elected president if only one candidate is nominated.[75] Otherwise, the returning officer issues a notice of contested election specifying when polling day will be.[76]

During the election period, a candidate may not spend more than $600,000 or 30 cents for each person on the electoral register, whichever is greater.[77] Permits must be obtained to hold election meetings[78] and display posters and banners,[79] and a number of acts are unlawful, including bribery,[80] dissuading electors from voting,[81] making false statements about candidates,[82] treating[83] and undue influence.[84] Legal changes introduced in 2010 made the eve of polling day a "cooling-off day" – campaigning must not take place on that day and on polling day itself.[85]

Polling day is a public holiday,[86] and voting is compulsory.[87] Voters must go to the polling stations assigned to them.[88] After the poll closes, the presiding officer of each polling station seals the ballot boxes without opening them. Candidates or their polling agents may also affix their own seals to the ballot boxes.[89] The ballot boxes are then taken to counting centres to be opened and the ballots counted.[90] A candidate or his or her counting agent may ask the returning officer for a recount of votes if the difference between the number of votes for the candidate with the most votes and any other candidate's number of votes is 2% or less.[91] After all counts, and recounts if any, have been completed, the returning officer ascertains whether the total number of electors registered to vote overseas is less than the difference between the number of votes for the two candidates with the highest number of votes. If so, the returning officer declares the candidate with the highest number of votes to be elected as president. If not, the overseas votes may be decisive. The returning officer then states the number of votes cast for each candidate and the date and location where the overseas votes will be counted.[92]

Last contested election

The 2011 presidential election was the first election with a ballot since the 1993 election, and was also Singapore's first presidential election contested by more than two candidates. The election was won by Tony Tan Keng Yam with 745,693 (35.19%) of valid votes.

Tony Tan745,69335.20
Tan Cheng Bock738,31134.85
Tan Jee Say530,44125.04
Tan Kin Lian104,0954.91
Valid votes2,118,54098.24
Invalid/blank votes37,8491.76
Total votes2,156,389100.00
Registered voters/turnout2,274,77394.80
Source: Singapore Elections

Assumption of office and disabilities

The person elected to the office of president assumes office on the day his predecessor ceases to hold office or, if the office is vacant, on the day following the election. Upon assumption of office, the president is required to take and subscribe in the presence of the chief justice or of another justice of the Supreme Court the Oath of Office, which states:[93]

I, [name], having been elected President of the Republic of Singapore, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully discharge my duties as such to the best of my ability without fear or favour, affection or ill-will, and without regard to any previous affiliation with any political party, and that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Republic, and that I will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore.

Once elected, the president shall:[94]

  • not hold any other office created or recognised by the Constitution;
  • not actively engage in any commercial enterprise;
  • not be a member of any political party; and
  • may not serve in Parliament.


In the case when the president is unable to perform their duties, their powers are temporarily transferred to the chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA). If the chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers is not available, the speaker of the Parliament performs the duties of the president. If both are unavailable the presidential functions are performed by an individual appointed by the Parliament.

Salary and entitlements

President Ong Teng Cheong received by Carlos Menem.

The Parliament of Singapore is required to provide a civil list for the maintenance of the president,[95] and it does so by way of the Civil List and Gratuity Act.[96] With effect from 17 February 2012, the sum under Class I of the list, which includes the president's personal pay ($1,568,900, known by the British term the "privy purse"), an entertainment allowance ($73,000) and an allowance for an acting president ($4,500), is $1,646,400. The privy purse was reduced from $4,267,500 after the president accepted the Ministerial Salaries Review Committee's recommendations on the matter.[97]

The salaries for the president's personal staff (Class II) amount to $4,532,400. Speaking in Parliament on 10 March 2011, Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam explained that this sum was to cater for the salaries of an additional staff officer to support the work of the Council of Presidential Advisers, and a butler manager; and to meet higher variable staff salary payments due to the nation's strong economic growth.[98][99] The allowance for the Istana's household expenses (Class III) is $2,762,308, an increase from $694,000. This allowance is used to cover the maintenance of the Istana, vehicles, utilities and other supplies, as well as for ceremonies and celebrations. The increase was to cater for higher expenses for maintaining computer systems, buildings and land, and to account for inflation.[97]

Class IV expenses for "special services" are $550,000. In previous years, this sum was used to cover various expenses such as the cost of replacing state cars and installing a new document repository.[100] Overall, the current civil list of $9,491,100 represents a decrease of about 18% from the sum for the past fiscal year of $11,605,000.[101]

List of presidents

No. Portrait President Prior Office Term of office Elected
Took office Left office Time in office
1 Yusof Ishak[102]
يوسف إسحاق
Yang di-Pertuan Negara 9 August 1965 23 November 1970
[lower-alpha 1]
5 years, 106 days Elected by Parliament
During this interval, the Speaker of Parliament, Yeoh Ghim Seng, was installed by Parliament as Acting President. 40 days
2 Benjamin Sheares[102]
2 January 1971 12 May 1981
[lower-alpha 1]
10 years, 131 days Elected by Parliament
During this interval, Speaker of Parliament, Yeoh Ghim Seng was installed by Parliament as Acting President. 165 days
3 Devan Nair[102]
தேவன் நாயர்
സി വി ദേവൻ നായർ
Member of Parliament for Anson SMC 23 October 1981 28 March 1985
[lower-alpha 2]
3 years, 157 days Elected by Parliament
During this interval, Chief Justice Wee Chong Jin was installed by Parliament as Acting President. 2 days
During this interval, Speaker of Parliament, Yeoh Ghim Seng was installed by Parliament as Acting President. 158 days
4 Wee Kim Wee[102]
Singapore Ambassador to South Korea 2 September 1985 1 September 1993
[lower-alpha 3]
8 years Elected by Parliament
Ong Teng Cheong[102]
Deputy Prime Minister 1 September 1993 31 August 1999 6 years 1993 (58.69%)
6 S. R. Nathan[103]
செல்லப்பன் ராமனாதன்
  • Singapore Ambassador to the United States
1 September 1999
[lower-alpha 4]
31 August 2005 12 years 1999 (Walkover)
1 September 2005
[lower-alpha 4]
31 August 2011 2005 (Walkover)
7 Tony Tan
(b. 1940)
Deputy Prime Minister 1 September 2011 31 August 2017 6 years 2011 (35.20%)
During this interval, the Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, J. Y. Pillay, served as Acting President.[104] 15 days
8 Halimah Yacob
حاليمه بنت يعقوب
(b. 1954)
Speaker of Parliament 14 September 2017 Incumbent 5 years, 140 days 2017 (Walkover)
  1. Died in office of natural causes.
  2. Resigned.
  3. After the Constitution was amended in 1991, the term of President Wee was fixed to end on 1 September 1993.
  4. S.R. Nathan was returned unopposed on Nomination Day in 1999 and 2005.

See also




  1. "The Istana | President in Office".
  2. Singapore, Prime Minister's Office (24 December 2018). "PMO | PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Parliamentary Debate on the Constitution (Amendment) Bill". Prime Minister's Office Singapore. Retrieved 17 January 2023.
  3. Tan, Kevin (2015). Constitution of Singapore: A Contextual Analysis. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  4. Internal Security Act (Cap. 143, 1985 Rev. Ed.).
  5. Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (Cap. 167A, 2001 Rev. Ed.) ("MRHA").
  6. Kotwani, Monica (6 July 2017). "Tan Cheng Bock's legal challenge on the reserved presidential election explained". Channel NewsAsia. ChannelNewsAsia. Archived from the original on 31 July 2017. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  7. Constitution, Art. 163(1).
  8. Loh, Quentin (29 June 2017). "TAN CHENG BOCK v ATTORNEY GENERAL [2017] SGHC 160 DECISION DATE: 07 Jul 2017 HC/OS 495/2017" (PDF). High Court of the Republic of Singapore. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 February 2019. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  9. "Law allows Parliament to count Wee Kim Wee's term in triggering reserved presidential election: High Court". 7 July 2017. Archived from the original on 8 July 2017. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  10. "Tan Cheng Bock's constitutional challenge dismissed by High Court". Channel NewsAsia. 7 July 2017. Archived from the original on 9 July 2017. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  11. "Perpetual presidential hopeful Tan Cheng Bock bows out gracefully". 23 August 2017. Archived from the original on 27 August 2017. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  12. Lee, Justina (12 September 2017). "Singaporeans miffed by 'reserved' presidential election – Nikkei Asian Review". Nikkei Asian Review. Archived from the original on 5 December 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  13. "Halimah Yacob set to be Singapore's first female president: A timeline of her career". The Straits Times. 11 September 2017. Archived from the original on 27 January 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  14. Constitution, Art. 17(1).
  15. Constitution, Art. 17(2).
  16. Constitution, Art. 23(1).
  17. Constitution, Art. 24(2).
  18. Constitution, Art. 21(1).
  19. Constitution, Art. 21(2).
  20. Constitution, Art. 22.
  21. Constitution, Art. 38.
  22. Constitution, Art. 58(1).
  23. Constitution, Art. 21(2)(c).
  24. Constitution, Art. 60.
  25. Standing Orders of Parliament (as amended on 19 October 2004) (PDF), Parliament of Singapore, 19 October 2004, archived from the original (PDF) on 9 May 2010, retrieved 2 November 2009, Standing Order 15(1).
  26. Constitution, Art. 62.
  27. Tommy Koh (15 June 2011), "Demystifying the presidential office" (PDF), The Straits Times, p. A21, archived from the original (PDF) on 8 June 2012.
  28. Constitution, Arts. 21(1) and (2).
  29. Constitution, Arts. 22(3) and (4). The Legislature can pass a law requiring the President to act after consultation with, or on the recommendation of, any person or body of persons other than the Cabinet in the exercise of their functions other than those exercisable in his personal discretion or in respect of the Constitution has made other provision: Art. 21(5).
  30. Constitution, Art. 144(1).
  31. Constitution, Arts. 21(2)(e), 21(2)(f), 22B and 22D.
  32. Constitution, Art. 22E.
  33. Constitution, Art. 144(2).
  34. Constitution, Arts. 148A and 148D.
  35. Constitution, Art. 22(1).
  36. Constitution, Art. 25(1).
  37. Constitution, Art. 22G. The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau's powers of investigation derive from the Prevention of Corruption Act (Cap. 241, 1993 Rev. Ed.).
  38. Constitution, Arts. 21(2)(g) and 151(4); Internal Security Act (Cap. 143, 1985 Rev. Ed.), s. 13A.
  39. Constitution, Arts. 21(2)(h), 22I; MRHA, s. 12.
  40. Hu, Richard Tsu Tau (Minister for Finance), Ministerial Statement, "Issues Raised by President Ong Teng Cheong at his Press Conference on 16th July 1999", Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Official Report (17 August 1999), vol. 70, cols. 2018–2029; Roger Mitton (10 March 2000), "'I had a job to do' whether the Government liked it or not, says ex-President Ong – extended interview with Roger Mitton", Asiaweek, vol. 26, no. 9, pp. 28–29, archived from the original on 10 February 2001.
  41. The Principles for Determining and Safeguarding the Accumulated Reserves of the Government and the Fifth Schedule Statutory Boards and Government Companies [Cmd. 5 of 1999], Singapore: Printed for the Government of Singapore by the Government Printers, 1999, OCLC 226180358.
  42. Zakir Hussain (23 January 2009), "A Budget first: Govt to draw $4.9b from past reserves", The Straits Times, p. 4 via NewspaperSG; "Concerns about economy go back to mid-2008: President makes public for first time his decision to allow use of reserves", The Straits Times, 18 February 2009; Chua Mui Hoong (20 February 2009), "Turning of the second key went smoothly", The Straits Times.
  43. Constitution, Art. 19(2)(a).
  44. Constitution, Art. 19(2)(b).
  45. Constitution, Art. 19(2)(c) read with Art. 44(2)(c).
  46. Constitution, Art. 19(2)(c) read with Art. 44(2)(d).
  47. Constitution, Art. 19(2)(d) read with Art. 45.
  48. The disqualification of a person under clauses (d) and (e) may be removed by the President and shall, if not so removed, cease at the end of five years beginning from the date on which the return mentioned in clause (d) was required to be lodged or, as the case may be, the date on which the person convicted as mentioned in clause (e) was released from custody or the date on which the fine mentioned in clause (1) (e) was imposed on such person: Constitution, Art. 45(2).
  49. A person shall not be disqualified under this clause by reason only of anything done by him before he became a citizen of Singapore: Constitution, Art. 45(2). In clause (f), "foreign country" does not include any part of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland: Art. 45(3).
  50. Constitution, Art. 19(2)(e).
  51. Constitution, Art. 19(2)(f).
  52. Constitution, Art. 19(3)(a).
  53. Constitution, Art. 19(3)(b) read with the Fifth Schedule.
  54. Constitution, Art. 19(4), read with Art. 19(7).
  55. Constitution, Art. 19(3)(c) and Art 19(4)(b).
  56. Chua Mui Hoong (21 August 1999), "See you in six years' time", The Straits Times, p. 6; "Why only President Nathan qualifies", The Straits Times, p. 4, 14 August 2005.
  57. Han, Kirsten (12 September 2017). "How Singapore elected a president without a vote". CNN. Archived from the original on 15 December 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  58. "Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Act 2016". Act No. 28/2016 of 21 December 2016. Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  59. Constitution, Art. 19B.
  60. "Elected Presidency: Amendments to Constitution passed in Parliament". Channel NewsAsia. 9 November 2016. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  61. Yuen-C, Tham (30 September 2017). "PM Lee spells out why he pushed for reserved election". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 15 December 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  62. Constitution, Art. 20(1).
  63. Constitution, Arts. 22L(1)(a) to (c). The office of President also becomes vacant if it is determined that the election of the President was void and no other person was duly elected as President, or if on the expiration of the incumbent's term the person declared elected as President fails to take office: Arts. 22L(1)(d) and (e).
  64. Assuming a writ for a presidential election has not yet been issued before the vacation of office or, if it has been issued, has been countermanded: Constitution, Art. 17(3)(a).
  65. Constitution, Art. 17(3); Presidential Elections Act (Cap. 240A, 2007 Rev. Ed.) ("PEA"), s. 6(1).
  66. Presidential Elections Act (Cap. 240A, 2007 Rev. Ed.).
  67. PEA, ss. 6(2) and (3).
  68. Constitution, Art. 18(1).
  69. Constitution, Art. 18(3).
  70. Constitution, Arts. 18(2)(a) to (c).
  71. "Presidential Elections Committee" (PDF). Elections Department Singapore. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 June 2017. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  72. Political Donations Act (Cap. 236, 2001 Rev. Ed.).
  73. PEA, ss. 9(4)(ba) and 11(1).
  74. PEA, s. 10(1) read with the Cap. Parliamentary Elections Act, 2007 Rev. Ed., s. 28(1).
  75. PEA, s. 15.
  76. PEA, s. 16(5).
  77. PEA, s. 50(1).
  78. PEA, s. 62A(2), inserted by the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Act 2010 (No. 11 of 2010) ("PEAA").
  79. Presidential Elections (Posters and Banners) Regulations (Cap. 240A, Rg 3, 2000 Rev. Ed.), archived from the original on 2 September 2010, regs. 2 and 3(1).
  80. PEA, s. 41.
  81. PEA, s. 63.
  82. PEA, ss. 42(1)(d) and (e).
  83. PEA, s. 39.
  84. PEA, s. 40.
  85. PEA, ss. 59, 60A, 62 and 62A.
  86. PEA, s. 17.
  87. PEA, s. 26(1).
  88. PEA, s. 22(1).
  89. PEA, s. 31(2).
  90. PEA, s. 31(3).
  91. PEA, ss. 32B(1) and (4). Rejected and tendered votes are excluded. A tendered vote is a vote that is permitted to be cast by a person claiming to be a voter named in the electoral register who turns up at a polling station after someone also claiming to be that voter has already voted: s. 29.
  92. PEA, s. 32(8).
  93. Constitution, Arts. 20(1) to (3) and the 1st Sch.
  94. Constitution, Arts. 19(3)(a) to (d).
  95. Constitution, Art. 22J(1).
  96. Civil List and Gratuity Act (Cap. 44, 2002 Rev. Ed.).
  97. Josephine Teo (Minister of State for Finance), "Civil List (Motion)", Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Official Report (17 February 2012), vol. 88, cols. 1202–1203.
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  99. Zakir Hussain (11 March 2011), "President's pay approved", The Straits Times, p. A12; "Parliament approves increase in President's salary, expenditure", Today, p. 4, 11 March 2011, archived from the original on 18 May 2011
  100. "Funds approved for Office of the President", The Straits Times, p. C6, 23 January 2009.
  101. Civil List and Pension Act: Resolution Passed at Parliament Meeting 2012 (S 137/2012), archived from the original on 31 August 2017.
  102. Former Presidents, Istana Singapore: Office of the President of the Republic of Singapore, 28 April 2006, archived from the original on 1 August 2008, retrieved 24 January 2009.
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  104. Elgin Toh (1 September 2017), "Pillay takes on role of acting president: CPA chairman will fill post until after Polling Day on Sept 23, or Nomination Day on Sept 13", The Straits Times, p. A9.



Further reading


  • Lee, Yvonne C.L. (2007), "Under Lock and Key: The Evolving Role of the Elected President as a Fiscal Guardian", Singapore Journal of Legal Studies: 290–322, SSRN 1139305.
  • Wan, Wai Yee (1994), "Recent Changes to the Westminster System of Government and Government Accountability", Singapore Law Review, 15: 297–332.


  • Chan, Helena H[ui-]M[eng] (1995), "The Executive", The Legal System of Singapore, Singapore: Butterworths Asia, pp. 22–29, ISBN 978-0-409-99789-7.
  • Ho, Khai Leong (2003), Shared Responsibilities, Unshared Power: The Politics of Policy-making in Singapore, Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, ISBN 978-981-210-218-8.
  • Low, Linda; Toh, Mun Heng (1989), The Elected Presidency as a Safeguard for Official Reserves: What is at Stake? [IPS occasional paper; no. 1], Singapore: Times Academic Press in association with the Institute of Policy Studies, ISBN 978-981-00-1014-0.
  • Report of the Select Committee on the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment No. 3) Bill (Bill No. 23/90) [Parl. 9 of 1990], Singapore: Printed for the Government of Singapore by Singapore National Printers, 1990, OCLC 212400288.
  • Safeguarding Financial Assets and the Integrity of the Public Services: The Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment No. 3) Bill [Cmd. 11 of 1990], Singapore: Printed for the Government of Singapore by Singapore National Printers, 1990, OCLC 39716236.
  • Tan, Kevin [Yew Lee]; Lam, Peng Er (1997), Managing Political Change in Singapore: The Elected Presidency, Singapore: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-15632-5.
  • Tan, Kevin Y[ew] L[ee] (2009), "State and Institution Building through the Singapore Constitution 1965–2005", in Thio, Li-ann; Tan, Kevin Y L (eds.), Evolution of a Revolution: Forty Years of the Singapore Constitution, London; New York, N.Y.: Routledge-Cavendish, pp. 50–78 at 68–71, ISBN 978-0-415-43862-9.

News reports

  • Ho, Kwon Ping (7 July 2011), "Soft powers of a president", The Straits Times, p. A27.
  • Wan, Wai Yee (21 July 2011), "Don't politicise role of President", The Straits Times, p. A25.
  • Ho, Kwon Ping (23 July 2011), "Elected presidency: Navigating uncharted waters [letter]", The Straits Times.
  • Tan, Kin Lian (25 July 2011), "Elected president can be voice of the people [letter]", The Straits Times, p. A21.
  • Goh, Richard (28 July 2011), "Be clear about president's role [online letter]", The Straits Times.
  • Gwee, Kim Leng (28 July 2011), "People's voice: 'If Mr Tan wanted it his way, he should have stood in the GE' [letter]", The Straits Times, p. A28.
  • Liew, Shiau Min (28 July 2011), "Hard to confine an elected president to his custodial role [letter]", The Straits Times, p. A28.
  • Ng, Ya Ken (28 July 2011), "Stick to Constitution: 'State what contributions they would render in the purview, if elected' [letter]", The Straits Times, p. A28.
  • Tin, Eric (28 July 2011), "Presidential hopeful's contradictions [letter]", The Straits Times, p. A28.
  • Chia, Daniel (30 July 2011), "Accept EP's role or don't stand [letter]", The Straits Times, p. A45.
  • Foo, Stephanie (30 July 2011), "Why a campaign promise may ring hollow [letter]", The Straits Times, p. A45.
  • Tan, Cheng Bock (1 August 2011), "Why elected president must be the people's voice [letter]", The Straits Times, p. A27.

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