Sunday, 9 July 2017

High Court dismissed Tan Cheng Bock's challenge on Elected Presidency

Update 23 Aug 2017: Tan Cheng Bock: ‘Disappointed’ by dismissal of appeal on Presidential Election

The Apex Court agreed with the High Court that there is nothing in the text or textual context which limits Parliament’s power by requiring Parliament to start the term count from the term of office of a popularly elected President.

Tan said in his Facebook post that his legal challenge came about after Workers’ Party MP Sylvia Lim had questioned in Parliament about the term count beginning with Wee, and the Government challenged her to go to court for an answer.

“That is wrong and I felt the need to respond. I firmly believe the Government should have answered in Parliament instead of challenging a Parliamentarian to go to Court,” Tan added.

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Tan Cheng Bock: Legal Action against Legitimacy of Reserved Election Wasn’t a “Fool’s Errand”

Dr Tan Cheng Bock said today that he was disappointed with Court of Appeal’s dismissal of his appeal against the legitimacy of the upcoming reserved election. Dr Tan said that he accepted the verdict with a heavy heart and explained that he had mounted his legal challenge since the government of the day had challenged parliamentarians to take the matter to court.

“Some may say that my court application was a fool’s errand. But I do not see it that way. When MP Sylvia Lim asked the Government in Parliament why they chose to start the count of 5 presidential terms with President Wee Kim Wee (resulting in 2017 being a reserved election year), the Government challenged her to go to Court for an answer. That is wrong and I felt the need to respond. I firmly believe the Government should have answered in Parliament instead of challenging a Parliamentarian to go to Court.

So I filed a case to argue what most Singaporeans felt was proper, that the count should start with the 1st Elected President Ong Teng Cheong (which would result in 2023 being a reserved election year). The Court of Appeal, however, decided that as a matter of law, the Government has discretion to start the count with President Wee Kim Wee. They issued a 66 page long judgment detailing full legal reasons.”

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Court dismisses Tan Cheng Bock’s appeal over upcoming Presidential Election
Perpetual presidential hopeful Tan Cheng Bock will not become president for another six years

On Wednesday, Aug. 23, the Court of Appeal dismissed Tan’s appeal. Tan had filed an appeal on July 12 against a High Court decision to dismiss his legal challenge on the upcoming presidential election reserved for Malay candidates.

The Court of Appeal had reserved judgment in July earlier this year on Tan’s appeal.

Deputy Attorney-General Hri Kumar confirmed to Channel News Asia that the appeal has just been dismissed.

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Presidential Election 2017: Tan Cheng Bock's appeal dismissed
Former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock had declared in March his interest in running in the 2017 election

Former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock’s appeal against a High Court ruling on his constitutional challenge to the timing of the reserved presidential election has been dismissed.

A Court of Appeal panel of five judges – Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Judge of Appeal Judith Prakash, Judge of Appeal Steven Chong, Justice Chua Lee Ming and Justice Kannan Ramesh – unanimously rejected Tan’s appeal on Wednesday (23 August), after deliberating for almost a month. This follows the High Court’s dismissal of Tan’s initial legal challenge in July.

The panel noted that Tan’s appeal turned on two articles of the Constitution. Specifically, “Article 19B(1) provides for a Reserved Election for a community if no person from that community has held the office of President for any of the five most recent terms of office of the President” while “Article 164(1)(a) provides for Parliament to specify the first term of office of the President to be counted under Article 19B(1) (“First Term”).”

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Tan Cheng Bock loses appeal against reserved election

Veteran politician Dr Tan Cheng Bock lost his appeal challenging the legitimacy of the upcoming presidential election that has been set aside for candidates from the Malay community.

The Court of Appeal threw out his appeal to dismiss the High Court’s earlier rejection of his application this morning after reserving judgment at the appeal hearing on 31 July 2017.

In his application to the courts, Dr Tan referred to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) recommendation and Parliament’s subsequent acceptance that a reserved election should be triggered this year since there hasn’t been a Malay president for the past five consecutive terms.

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Court of Appeal reserves judgement in Tan Cheng Bock’s appeal against reserved presidential election

The Court of Appeal has reserved judgement on the appeal lodged by Dr Tan Cheng Bock challenging the legitimacy of the Presidential Election 2017 that is set to be a reserved one for Malay candidates. His appeal against the basis for triggering a reserved election was heard in court today, from about 9.30am in a hearing that was open to the public.

The panel of five judges did not give a date as to when they will deliver the judgement but said that they will get back to the court “as soon as possible.” The panel of appellate judges include Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Judges of Appeal Judith Prakash and Steven Chong, and Justices Chua Lee Ming and Kannan Ramesh.

Following the hearing, Dr Tan told reporters: “Singaporeans must fully understand the issue, not just accept. If in the end, we are found to be wrong, then we accept it. That’s what democracy is about.”

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Chief Justice Reserves Judgment on Tan Cheng Bock’s Appeal against Basis of Reserved Presidential Election
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Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon has reserved judgment on former presidential candidate Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s appeal against the basis of the upcoming Presidential Election being “reserved” for Malay candidates only.

Dr Tan’s appeal was head this morning by a 5-judge panel of the apex court, which included CJ Menon.


The hearing has been adjourned.

related: Lim Tean says “Absurd” that AGC’s Advice Hasn’t Been Produced

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Tan Cheng Bock to challenge High Court ruling on upcoming reserved Presidential Election
Tan Cheng Bock to challenge High Court ruling on upcoming reserved Presidential Election

Former presidential candidate Dr Tan Cheng Bock will appeal the High Court's dismissal of his legal challenge over the upcoming reserved Presidential Election.

"Yes, appealing through my lawyers today," Dr Tan said in a brief reply to TODAY via his spokesman, adding that he will share more details via a Facebook post later on Wednesday (July 12).

Last Friday (July 7), the High Court dismissed the legal challenge mounted by Dr Tan against the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) over the timing for the reserved presidential election.

related:
High Court throws out Dr Tan's challenge on upcoming reserved Presidential Election
Judgement reserved over Dr Tan’s constitutional challenge on EP
Dr Tan hits out at Hri Kumar for 'highly inflammatory' comments over EP challenge
Tan Cheng Bock questions timing of reserved election for president

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Tan Cheng Bock to appeal against court ruling on Presidential Election

Former presidential hopeful Tan Cheng Bock will appeal against a High Court decision to dismiss his application contesting the legitimacy of the upcoming reserved Presidential Election.

Wednesday (Jul 12) is the last day for Dr Tan to file an appeal, after Justice Quentin Loh’s decision last Friday to maintain the status quo that only Malay candidates are eligible to stand in the next presidential election due in September.

When Channel NewsAsia asked him on Wednesday if he plans to appeal, Dr Tan said: "Yes, appealing through my lawyers today."

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Dr Tan Cheng Bock 14 hrs

My fellow Singaporeans:
  • The High Court has decided against my application. My lawyers are studying the 65-page judgment in which Justice Quentin Loh acknowledged that I have “put forward serious arguments on the start of the count”.
  • I am, of course, disappointed with the result and will announce whether I will appeal, after this weekend.
  • Meanwhile, I am more disappointed with a Channel News Asia (CNA) report on 7 July 2017, 2.53 pm. In the paragraph titled “Dr Tan “Selfishly” Trying To “Undermine” Multi Racial Presidency’, the report quoted: [“His motives are purely selfish and he has shown no regard for the principle of multiracial representation which Parliament intended to safeguard,” Deputy Attorney-General (DAG) Hri Kumar Nair said.]
I wish to respond:
  • First, the report gave the impression that Justice Loh accepted the DAG’s remarks about me (which was also unfair and untrue). In fact, the judge did not entertain this submission anywhere in his judgment, presumably because that submission was irrelevant to the case.
  • Second, in my political life, I championed multi-racialism and continue to do so. I was fortunate enough to take care of a constituency comprising 27% Malay constituents. We served together well and they graciously supported me with record high election percentages including 88% in 2001. I am thankful for the great rapport I had with my Malay constituents and grassroot leaders – some of whom still continue to visit my home during Chinese New Year until this day.
  • For the DAG to call me “selfish” and having “no regard for the principle of multiracial representation” is hitting below the belt, highly inflammatory and encroaches into dangerous racial politics. The DAG is a public servant and an ex-PAP MP. He should not have made such a statement, which is now widely reported by the press.
  • This case is not about race. It is about process and procedures. It is about upholding the Constitution. Let’s keep it that way.

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Tan Cheng Bock’s constitutional challenge dismissed by High Court


In court documents obtained by Channel NewsAsia, the Attorney-General’s Chambers accused Dr Tan of “running a case that is entirely self-serving”.

“(Dr Tan) is advancing a strained interpretation of the Constitution so that he can apply to stand as a candidate in the coming (PE).

“His motives are purely selfish & he has shown no regard for the principle of multiracial representation which Parliament intended to safeguard,” Deputy Attorney-General (DAG) Hri Kumar Nair said.

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Deputy AG’s comment on Dr Tan Cheng Bock, highly inflammatory and encroaches into dangerous racial politics

In his Facebook posting on Friday evening, Dr Tan wrote that he is disappointed with the result and will announce whether he will appeal, after this weekend. He also shared that his lawyers are studying the 65-page judgment in which Justice Quentin Loh acknowledged that he has “put forward serious arguments on the start of the count”.

Dr Tan noted that he is more disappointed with a Channel News Asia (CNA) report made on 7 July 2017. In the paragraph titled “Dr Tan “Selfishly” Trying To “Undermine” Multi Racial Presidency’, the report quoted: [“His motives are purely selfish and he has shown no regard for the principle of multiracial representation which Parliament intended to safeguard,” Deputy Attorney-General (DAG) Hri Kumar Nair said.] He said that the report gave the impression that Justice Loh accepted the DAG’s remarks about Dr Tan, which is both unfair and untrue.

Dr Tan noted that the judge did not entertain this submission anywhere in his judgment, presumably because that submission was irrelevant to the case. He also pointed that he had championed multi-racialism throughout his political career and continue to do so.

related: Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s constitutional challenge on counting of Reserved Presidential Election, dismissed by High Court

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Tan Cheng Bock disappointed with Deputy Attorney-General’s comment hitting below the belt

Tan also said in his post that he was disappointed with the Channel News Asia report about the High Court’s dismissal, as it quoted certain remarks made by the Deputy Attorney-General Hri Kumar Nair that he deemed unfair.

This was after DAG Nair said Tan’s motives were “purely selfish” and that he had “shown no regard for the principle of multiracial representation”.

Tan said these comments were “hitting below the belt” and cited his previous overwhelming electoral victory as a PAP member of parliament in a constituency made up of 27 percent Malay constituents as evidence.

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Tan Cheng Bock: Deputy Attorney-General’s Remarks are Highly Inflammatory and Hitting Below the Belt
redwire-singapore-tan-cheng-bock-hri-kumar

First, the report gave the impression that Justice Loh accepted the DAG’s remarks about me (which was also unfair and untrue). In fact, the judge did not entertain this submission anywhere in his judgment, presumably because that submission was irrelevant to the case.

Second, in my political life, I championed multi-racialism and continue to do so. I was fortunate enough to take care of a constituency comprising 27% Malay constituents. We served together well and they graciously supported me with record high election percentages including 88% in 2001. I am thankful for the great rapport I had with my Malay constituents and grassroot leaders – some of whom still continue to visit my home during Chinese New Year until this day.

For the DAG to call me “selfish” and having “no regard for the principle of multiracial representation” is hitting below the belt, highly inflammatory and encroaches into dangerous racial politics. The DAG is a public servant and an ex-PAP MP. He should not have made such a statement, which is now widely reported by the press.

read more

High Court throws out Tan Cheng Bock's challenge on upcoming reserved Presidential Election
High Court throws out Tan Cheng Bock's challenge on upcoming reserved Presidential Election
Dr Tan has until Wednesday to appeal against the ruling

The High Court has on Friday (Jul 7) dismissed the legal challenge mounted by former presidential candidate Dr Tan Cheng Bock against the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) over the timing for the reserved presidential election.

In November last year, various changes were passed in Parliament to the Elected Presidency (EP) scheme, including the triggering of a reserved election for a particular race that has not seen an elected representative for 5 consecutive terms.

The Government, on the advice of AGC, started counting the 5 terms from Dr Wee Kim Wee’s presidency, forming the basis for the Government to trigger a reserved election for Malay candidates for the coming polls in September.

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Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s constitutional challenge on counting of Reserved Presidential Election, dismissed by High Court

The High Court has dismissed Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s constitutional challenge to determine whether the legislation that specified President Wee Kim Wee’s term of office as the first term to be counted was unconstitutional on Friday by Justice Quentin Loh.

Dr Tan's application (HC/OS 495/2017) which was made on 5 May, seeks the Court’s determination on whether a piece of legislation (section 22 Presidential Elections (Amendment) Act 6 of 2017 which counted President Wee Kim Wee as the first Elected Presidency term for the purposes of calling a Reserved Election), is consistent with Singapore Constitution (Articles 19B(1) and 164(1) which introduced the mechanism of a Reserved Election into Singapore Constitution).

Dr Tan in his press conference on Friday (31 March) asked the government whether it is correct to set the Presidential Election 2017 as a reserved election under the newly introduced amendments to the Elected Presidency and questioned whether AGC’s method of counting is actually in line with the spirit and purpose put forward by the Constitutional Commission for having a reserved election.

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Tan Cheng Bock's constitutional challenge on Elected Presidency fails

Tan Cheng Bock’s constitutional challenge to the timing of the reserved Presidential Election (PE) was rejected by the High Court on Friday (7 July).

The hearing at the High Court took place in chambers, which means that members of the public were not allowed to attend.

Tan’s legal application was dismissed without costs. He has until 12 July to file an appeal. Chelva Retnam Rajah, who is representing Tan, said his client will consider the judgement and make a decision over the course of next week.

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Reserved judgement on Tan Cheng Bock's legal challenge on Elected Presidency
Tan Cheng Bock

Judgement has been reserved in the constitutional challenge to the timing of the reserved Presidential Election (PE) by Tan Cheng Bock.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday (28 June) after a hearing on the case, Deputy Attorney-General Hri Kumar said that Justice Quentin Loh’s decision was expected in about a week. Both Kumar and Chelva Retnam Rajah, who is representing Tan, declined to comment on the arguments that were presented before the court.

The hearing at the High Court took place in chambers, which means that members of the public were not allowed to attend. Tan was not present in court.

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A doctor’s prescription on ‘who is a Malay’ could settle Halimah’s Malay credentials
To be a Malay, said Mahathir, is no more an ethnic thing as today it is more of a legal matter

Who is a Malay? The debate is still raging in Singapore with many disputing the Malay credentials of the PAP’s Presidential election’s candidate.

But a doctor’s prescription on who is a Malay in Malaysia could save Halimah Yacob the day in the court of the social-media haranguers.


The book A Doctor In The House could eventually settle the issue of ‘who is a Malay’ and could endorse Halimah’s Malay credentials

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DPM Tharman ‘would have preferred a contest’ for Presidential Election
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said on Wednesday that he would have preferred a contest in the recent Presidential Election

Speaking at the first Majulah Lecture organised by the Nanyang Technological University on Wednesday (20 Sept), Tharman was quizzed on the 2017 Presidential Election after the lecture, according to media reports.

One student asked if the reserved presidential election is an indication that Singapore is “regressing as a society”, despite Singaporeans growing up reciting a pledge with the words “regardless of race, language or religion”.

In response, Tharman said while he was “proud” that Halimah Yacob was the first Malay president in 47 years, he told the audience of more than 1,500 it was “understandable” that Singaporeans had questions about the recent election, which was reserved for Malay candidates.

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Singapore’s first elected president Ong Teng Cheong gets a mountain named after him

Somewhere out there in south-eastern Kazakhstan, there’s a mountain named after a Singaporean — the first of its kind. And not just any Singaporean, but Singapore’s first elected president, Ong Teng Cheong himself.

The 4,743m-tall mountain sits in the middle of a remote Tien Shan range that stretches along the border between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and China, reported The Straits Times. Ong Teng Cheong peak — so named because it was first conquered by a Singapore team on July 29, 2005 — was formally recognized on June 28 this year by the Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Federation of Kazakhstan.

Mountaineers David Lim, Wilfred Tok, Mohd Rozani Maarof and Shani Tan were the first ones to ascend the mountain, and they named it after Ong, who was the patron of Singapore’s first Everest expedition in 1995 during his presidency.

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A Tribute to Singapore’s First Elected President
redwire-singapore-ong-teng-cheong-first-elected-president-t
SM Emeritus Goh Chok Tong recognisd Ong Teng Cheong as Spore's 1st Elected President

redwire singapore ong teng cheong first elected president goh chok tong 2
The National Library Board calls Ong Teng Cheong Singapore’s first president to be elected into office

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HistorySG, a government-run portal called Ong Teng Cheong the first elected president

redwire singapore ong teng cheong first elected president 5
Our National Archives shows that Ong took part in and won Singapore’s first presidential election

redwire-singapore-ong-teng-cheong-first-elected-president-8
Then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong also called Ong Teng Cheong Singapore’s first elected president in a condolence letter to to Ong Teng Cheong’s wife on his passing in 2002

redwire singapore ong teng cheong first elected president 3
The Istana website calls Ong Teng Cheong the first president to be popularly elected by the people

redwire singapore ong teng cheong first elected president 6
Even international news calls Ong Teng Cheong Singapore’s first elected president

redwire-singapore-ong-teng-cheong-president-x813
So, government records say Ong Teng Cheong is Singapore’s first elected president

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related:
Elected President: CC vs AGC
2017 Presidential Election to be reserved for Malay candidates
Public Forum on Elected Presidency cancelled due to poor response
White Paper on Elected Presidency scheme
Spore push for minority President but not ready for non-Chinese PM
Changes to the Elected Presidency Scheme
Order of Succession And Baton Passing