Former Singaporean parliament speaker applies for presidential election

Businessman Mohamed Salleh Marican and spouse (L) and former Bourbon Offshore Asia Pacific Chairman Farid Khan and his spouse. (Photo: Singapore (VNA) – Singaporeans will vote for their eighth President on September 23 if at least two candidates qualify to run for the position. The Presidential Election Committee will screen all presidential hopefuls and inform them of the committee’s decision before September 12. If there is only one eligible candidate, he or she will be declared the President on the Nomination Day, taking place on September 13. Three potential candidates have declared to run for the election, including businessman Mohamed Salleh Marican, former Bourbon Offshore Asia Pacific Chairman Farid Khan and former Speaker of Parliament Halimah Jacob. This year’s presidential election is reserved for candidates from the Malay community. Under a constitutional amendment passed by Singapore’s multi-ethnic parliament in November 2016, the presidential post will be set for candidates from a particular ethnic group if no one from that group has been the president for five straight six-year terms. The winner in the Election 2017 will be the second Malay president in Singapore’s history. The current President, Tony Tan, is due to finish his term on August 31. Joseph Yuvaraj Pillay, Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, will be Acting President until the new president is sworn in. According to Singapore’s Department of Statistics, the country has a population of 5.6 million people, with 3.9 million of them…... [read more]

According to the Japanese Constitution, a term in the Japanese Upper House lasts six years and every three years, half of the seats are re-elected. About 430 candidates are running for 121 seats in this year’s election. At present, the ruling LDP and its partner, the New Komeito Party (NKP) have 59 seats that are not up for re-election. But, the LDP needs to gain seats to secure a majority. In the Lower House, the LDP has an overwhelming majority, but it does not yet control the Upper House. This has caused numerous difficulties for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in getting his initiatives through the Diet. The LDP’s failure in the Upper House election in 2007 forced Abe to give up his Prime Minister seat. The LDP’s determination to win the Upper House election has been apparent in several actions: platforms matched voters’ aspirations, a promise to achieve an average economic growth rate of 2% and double farmers’ incomes within the next 10 years, a pledge to push for Constitutional revisions including amending Article 96 to loosen regulations on Constitutional amendments and an effort to gain public support for the re-activation of nuclear power plants after safety plans approved. To strengthen Japan’s industrial competitive edge, Abe’s Party promises to reduce investment taxes and work persistently toward achieving surplus between now and 2020. With regard to foreign policy, the LDP intends to move the US Marine Corps Air Station at Futenma to a less populated area. It is committed to the…... [read more]

Representatives of the Vietnamese community in Thailand stressed the importance of clarifying the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) in the revised Constitution. They confirmed the Party as a driving force behind the process of building a progressing, democratic and civilized society. They all agreed that the draft constitutional revisions are positive, creating an important legal foundation for national development while promoting democracy, human rights, and citizens’ rights in all fields. Vietnamese Ambassador Ngo Duc Thang expressed his hope that through the discussion, the Vietnamese community in Thailand will grasp the true meaning of amendments to the 1992 Constitution. All issued mentioned in the draft amendments are important to the country’s orientations for national development, construction and defence, Thang said.... [read more]

Hoang Chi Trung, Head of the MoFA’s Department of International Organisations, said Vietnam is seriously committed to implement its international obligations and ensuring that all Vietnamese better enjoy their of human rights and citizen rights. He expressed his hope that the project will assist relevant Vietnamese agencies to work better in this field. Louise Chamberlain, UNDP Country Director, highlighted the need to identify challenges Vietnam need to overcome in certain areas, and hoped that the project will find out ways and means to address them. She reiterated that the respect and protection of human rights is the responsibility of all UN member states, and welcomed Vietnam’s upcoming ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) and the consultative process of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) national report. This willingness is an important step forward and reason for the UNDP to cooperate with the MoFA on human rights in Vietnam, she noted. In late 2013, Vietnam will undergo its second UPR, a unique review mechanism of the Human Rights Council. The UPR places member states on an equal footing, and provides an opportunity for governments to report on the human rights situation and the progress in implementing UPR recommendations accepted at the last review in 2009. In recent years the Vietnamese Government has visibly increased its commitment to address issues related to human rights, demonstrated in a number of legal and judicial reforms, and Constitutional amendments that have steadily improved human and citizen rights.... [read more]

1. The 13th NA approves the Constitution (revised) With 97.59% of votes in favour, the NA passed 1992 Constitutional amendments at its plenary session in Hanoi on November 28. The revised constitution more clearly and fully reflects the democratic and progressive nature of the Vietnamese State in the transitional period. It also more clearly defines the political regime, organisation of the State apparatus, human rights, and citizens’ rights and obligations. 2. Party Central Committee plenums decide important issues for national sustainable development The 7th and 8th Party Committee Plenums adopted resolutions on renewing and completing the political system from the central to grassroots levels. 3. Outstanding diplomatic achievements Vietnam has established a strategic partnership with Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Italy, and France. Vietnam and the US also have defined a comprehensive strategic partnership framework. In addition, the country was elected a member of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee and a member of the UN Human Rights Council. Its message of “Building strategic trust” in external relations has won great accolades from the international community. 4. Macro-economy stabilized, inflation controlled, social welfare ensured Vietnam’s GDP growth in 2013 has been estimated at 5.42%, inflation rate at 6.04%, and the poverty rate at less than 8%. 5. Passing of Legendary General Giap General Vo Nguyen Giap, former Commander-in-chief of the Vietnam People’s Army, passed away in Hanoi on October 4 at the age of 103. 6. Major corruption defendants receive death sentence Major corruption cases were brought to court, mostly relating to the…... [read more]

VFF President Nguyen Thien Nhan briefed attendees on Vietnam’s recent socio-economic developments, the Government’s support for the poor, and constitutional amendments relating to the Party, the VFF, and citizen rights. Nhan foreshadowed the forthcoming review of the ten years since the Politburo’s overseas Vietnamese affairs resolution 36. He praised the overseas Vietnamese community’s role in helping foreigners deepen their understanding of Vietnamese politics, economics, and culture. He also applauded their efforts on behalf of national development. The honoured representatives were pleased by the robust national development and the attention the Party and State reserves for overseas Vietnamese. They hope the Party, State and VFF will continue to strive towards the best possible conditions for expatriate Vietnamese nationals intent on harnessing their potential and advantages to the cause of national development.... [read more]

Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Vu Quang Minh spoke glowingly about the accomplishments in bilateral relations between the two countries in recent years. He also graciously pointed out that 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties and 100 years since late President Ho Chi Minh took his first step in the UK. Many activities were held to celebrate the two major events which included a visit by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to the UK at the invitation of Prime Minister David Cameron. Two-way trade turnover hit US$4.3 billion in 2013. Currently, 173 UK-invested projects have been implemented in Vietnam with a combined pledged investment capitalisation of US$2.8 billion. Many UK business delegations’ fact-finding tours of Vietnam and the HMS Daring Battleship docking at Danang port were also highlights of the year, the diplomat said. Ambassador Minh expressed his delight at OVs’ success in work and life and extended his best wishes to them on the Tet holiday. He presented certificates of merit to outstanding students and individuals who have contributed to the development of the OVs community. Israel celebration The same day, the Vietnamese Embassy in Tel Aviv (Israel) held a get-together to mark the festive holiday. Ambassador Ta Duy Chinh briefed guests on Vietnam’s Renewal and international integration achievements in 2013 and emphasised key targets for 2014. He said despite the global economic turbulence, Vietnam stabilized the macro-economy, achieved a higher export value, and attracted nearly US$22 billion in foreign direct investment. Chinh…... [read more]

Reporter: Much headway has been made in the Doi Moi (Renewal) process towards a socialist-oriented market economy. Do we now need to begin a new period dedicated to promoting democracy? Mr An: Promoting democracy in all aspects of social life but especially in economics has always been central importance to the renewal process initiated and led by the Communist Party of Vietnam over the past 20 years. Previously, there were two economic sectors, state-owned and collective. Now all legal Vietnamese citizens are entitled to run service businesses. This shows that the nature of economic renewal is to exercise democracy in the economy and the bottom line of the renewal process is to promote democracy. In the truest sense of the word, democracy is both objective and motivation. Democratic republic became part of the official name of Vietnam in 1945. The nature of the 1945 August Revolution was to enhance democracy. We are pursuing this goal in the new period and in the new situation. Democracy is the driving force of the Vietnamese revolution and of human kind. Reporter: Could you elaborate on how to promote democracy during the renewal process? Mr An: Currently, people are exercising their self-determination but there remain some limitations. For example, they only directly elect village chiefs, deputies to the People’s Council at all levels and NA deputies. In the 1946 Constitution, late President Ho Chi Minh said that issues related to constitutional amendments and national welfare and the people’s livelihood should be directly decided by…... [read more]

Addressing the event, attended by representatives of the Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuracy, Vietnam Bar Federation, donors, and related agencies; Deputy Minister of Justice Hoang The Lien and Danish ambassador to Vietnam John Nielsen emphasized that the meeting presents a chance for stakeholders to report on the implementation of the program, the lesson learnt, as well as necessary adjustments in the future. Nguyen Van Quyen, Vice Head of the Steering Committee introduced five priorities in judicial reform in 2012 and the coming years and devise orientations for judicial agencies to carry out the program. The five priorities include building institutions related to judicial reforms, consolidating the organizational structure of judicial agencies, establishing judicial support agencies, developing the human resources, and promoting international cooperation in judicial reform. In their action plans for 2012, partner agencies proposed working hard on “constitutional amendments in the context of judicial reforms in Vietnam” and “judicial reforms to boost access to judiciary. Participants agreed that 2012 will be an important transitional year for reviewing the implementation of the 1992 constitution and addressing issues that need revision. The event offered a platform for reflecting the recent achievements of judicial reform and discussing related controversial issues.... [read more]

The Head of the National Assembly’s Office Nguyen Hanh Phuc said that the fourth session is expected to last for 25 days, excluding weekends. The hearing session will take two and a half days, with ministers and sector heads report on their commitments made at the second and third sessions. The NA Standing Committee emphasised that the forthcoming session will focus on several important issues. They include a draft resolution on the amendments and supplements to the 1992 Constitution, amendments to the Law on Anti-Corruption (revised) and the Employment Law. Also the same day, the Standing Committee gave their opinions on the Government’s report on the enforcement of the Law on Thrift Practice and Wastefulness Prevention in 2012.... [read more]