Presidential election debate tonight on Channel NewsAsia

Watch this programme tonight on Channel NewsAsia at 8pm. I suspect the total duration of 1 hour for the 4 Presidential candidates might not be sufficient. Heh.

For those who will miss it (likely me. Working late again. Sheesh), there will be a repeat telecast on Channel 5 tomorrow. Or let's hope there'll be YouTube clip uploaded soon tonight.

The role and function of the Elected President dominated a television debate organised by Channel NewsAsia.

The hour-long programme, called "Meet the Candidates", featured all four presidential candidates together on television for the first time.

It will be aired on Channel NewsAsia at 8pm on Tuesday, 23 August. The programme will also be simulcast on MediaCorp's 938LIVE. There will be a repeat telecast on Channel 5 on 24 August.

The candidates were interviewed by Professor Tommy Koh, chairman of the Centre for International Law at the National University of Singapore; Janadas Devan, director of the Institute of Policy Studies at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy; and Debra Soon, managing director of Channel NewsAsia.

After a quick introduction by each candidate on why they should get the popular vote, it was straight to question time.

The candidates crossed swords on the limits of the President's constitutional powers, how they would act on proposals to draw down on past reserves and exercise their moral authority.

They were also asked how they would vet civil service appointments.

Mr Tan Jee Say said: "I would subject the appointees, the recommendations of the government, to a fair bit of scrutiny.

"We are talking of very senior appointments and we must do justice to the powers of the president. We should not take a flippant attitude, that this is from the government's recommendation and we accept it without question."

Mr Tan Kin Lian said: "I want to check on what are his (appointee) values, and I want to see whether he holds the values of honesty, fairness and a sense of public service. And I will probably want to influence him that these values are very important."

Candidates were also quizzed on what they would say to the leaders of China, India, Indonesia and the United States.

Dr Tan Cheng Bock said: "The four leaders you mentioned are very important to our country so I'll be very, very cautious.

"I definitely have to act on the advice of our foreign ministry. Each country has a particular relationship with us, and I have to be guided by how far I can go as a President in my conduct with all these leaders in my conversations."

Dr Tony Tan said: "I would give the same message to any of the four leaders. I would say, in a very polite way, that the issue facing all of us now in the world, in your country, in Asia, in my country in Singapore, is the global economy and the precarious state of the global economy today."

In a separately recorded programme for, the candidates also took questions from the public that were sent in earlier. The programme will be uploaded on the website from 9am on Wednesday.

From Channel NewsAsia, "PE: Candidates debate role of President in Channel NewsAsia forum".


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