Council of Presidential Advisers


The Council of Presidential Advisers (from left): Mr Stephen Lee, Mr Lee Tzu Yang, Mr Goh Joon Seng, Mr S Dhanabalan, Mr J Y Pillay, Mr Po'ad Mattar, Mr Bobby Chin and Mr Lim Chee Onn

The Constitution of Singapore was amended in 1991 to give the Elected President custodial and discretionary powers to safeguard the reserves of the Government which were not accumulated by the Government during its current term of office. The Constitutional amendments, which came into effect on 30 November 1991, also provided for a Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA) to advise the President in the exercise of his custodial and discretionary powers.  It is obligatory for the President to consult the Council before he vetoes the budgets of the Government and key government-linked bodies and the appointments of government nominees to key posts.

The Council comprises six members and two alternate members. Two members are appointed by the President at his discretion; two are the Prime Minister's nominees; one is the Chief Justice's nominee; and one is the nominee of the Chairman of the Public Service Commission.  One alternate member is appointed by the President at his discretion while the other is appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister, in consultation with the Chief Justice and Chairman of Public Service Commission.

Members are appointed on a six-year term on their first appointment. They are eligible for re-appointment for further terms of four years each. Alternate members are appointed on a four-year term.

The present Chairman of the CPA is Mr J Y Pillay. The other members are Mr S Dhanabalan, Mr Po'ad Bin Shaik Abu Bakar Mattar, Mr Goh Joon Seng, Mr Bobby Chin Yoke Choong and Mr Lee Tzu Yang. The two alternate members are Mr Lim Chee Onn and Mr Stephen Lee Ching Yen. 

As Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, Mr Pillay exercises the functions of the office of the President in the absence of the President. If he is unavailable, this duty then falls on the Speaker of Parliament.

Role of the CPA

The CPA advises the President in the exercise of his discretionary veto powers.  The President must consult the CPA in the exercise of any of his discretionary powers in connection with appointments and the reserves. It is optional for the President to consult the CPA as regards other areas where he has discretionary powers.

CPA proceedings are private.  The CPA may ask public officers to furnish information.  Should any public officer appear before the CPA, the officer is prohibited by the Constitution from disclosing his discussions before the CPA with anyone else.

Biographies of members of Council of Presidential Advisers




Name / Appointment



Mr Lim Kim San / Chairman

Jan 1992 to Jan 2004


Dr Michael Fam Yue Onn / Member

Jan 1992 to Jan 2004


Dr Cheong Siew Keong / Member

Jan 1992 to Jan 2008


Mr Ridzwan bin Haji Dzafir / Member

Jan 1992 to Jan 2007


Mr Lee Seng Wee / Member

Jan 1992 to Jan 2001


Dr Ee Peng Liang / Member

July 1992 to Aug 1994


Mr Teo Cheng Guan / Member

Nov 1994 to May 2002


Mr Sim Kee Boon

Jan 1997 to Jan 2003  (Member)

Jan 2003 to Jan 2004  (Member)

Jan 2004 to Sep 2005 (Chairman)

Sep 2005 to Jan 2007 (Member)


Prof Cham Tao Soon / Member

Jan 2004 to Jan 2010


Mr Yong Pung How / Member

Jan 2007 to Jan 2013







Mr J Y Pillay

Member Jan 2001 to Sep 2005

Chairman since Sep 2005


Mr S Dhanabalan

Member since Jan 2004



Mr Po’ad Bin Shaik Abu Bakar Mattar

Member since Jan 2007



Mr Goh Joon Seng

Member since Jan 2008



Mr Bobby Chin Yoke Choong

Member since Jan 2010



Mr Lee Tzu Yang

Member since Jan 2013



Mr Lim Chee Onn

Alternate Member* since Jan 2008



Mr Stephen Lee Ching Yen

Alternate Member* since Jan 2008


*Note: Alternate Members were introduced in 2008