Since 1991, the President is empowered to veto government budgets and key public appointments if there are reasons to do so. The President is advised by the Council of Presidential Advisers on such matters.
As a safeguard against the Government misusing the nation's reserves.
As a custodian of the public service’s impartiality.
The President must consult the Council of Presidential Advisers in these areas.
For matters in which the President has no discretion, the President must act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or a minister delegated with that power.
The President acts as the guardian of Past Reserves. This includes the reserves of key statutory boards and government companies (SBGC) listed under the Fifth Schedules to the Constitution. SBGCs include GIC Pte Ltd, Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd, the Housing and Development Board (HDB), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB) and Jurong Town Corporation (JTC).
The President may veto any budget or specific transaction (e.g. giving of guarantees or raising of loans) if it is likely to lead to a draw on Past Reserves.
To ensure the impartiality of the public sector and government companies, the President can veto the appointment or removal of:
If the Government disagrees with the ISA advisory board's (established under the ISA) recommendation that a person be released, the President's concurrence is required for his/her continued detention (Article 151(4) of the Constitution).
Investigations may be carried on with the President's concurrence, even if the Prime Minister does not consent to it.
Under Article 22I of the Constitution, the President may cancel or vary a restraining order if the advice of the Cabinet differs from the Presidential Council for Religious Harmony's (established under the MRHA) recommendation.
The President is responsible for safeguarding the national reserves and the integrity of the public service. The President also receives foreign dignitaries, officiates at state functions and performs other ceremonial and community duties.
Besides official functions, the President actively supports community and social causes. The President often graces events organised by grassroots, community and welfare groups, as well as ethnic and religious organisations.
The portraits of President Halimah and her spouse, Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee, are displayed in public buildings. The Presidential Standard is flown at the Istana in the day, when the President is in the country. The Presidential Crest is used on state crockery, gifts and stationery related to the President.