Dr Tan Cheng Bock has announced the date of his Court of Appeal hearing on his constitutional challenge against the reserved presidential election this year. The hearing, which is to be held on 31 July, will be open to members of the public.
Dr Tan filed an appeal last week, contesting the High Court’s rejection of his application challenging the legitimacy of the Presidential Election 2017 that is set to be a reserved one for Malay candidates.
The former MP had announced his intentions to contest the 2017 Presidential Election in March 2016. He had previously lost the last Presidential Election in 2011 by just 0.35% of votes.
In November 2016, Parliament announced new amendments to the elected presidential scheme and outlined that since there has not been a President from the Malay community for five consecutive terms, the 2017 election will be reserved for those from the Malay community.
In his constitutional challenge to the court, Dr Tan disputed the counting of the five consecutive terms and argued that if the AGC counts from President Ong Teng Cheong, Singapore’s first rightfully elected President instead of counting from President Wee Kim Wee who was an appointed president, this year’s PE would not need to be reserved in accordance to the new amendments.
Justice Quentin Loh ruled that, “Ultimately, since (the Constitution) does not fetter Parliament’s power … Parliament’s choice of (the first elected President) is a policy decision which falls outside the remit of the courts.”
Dr Tan responded that the Judge may have misconstrued the Constitutional provisions surrounding the matter.
In a new statement released yesterday, Dr Tan indicated that he will not pursue the matter if the Court of Appeal rejects his application by asserting that the case will end on 31 July.
“My Court of Appeal hearing, which is open to the public to attend, will be held on Monday, 31st July 2017 at 10 am.
“I look forward to a final judicial clarification on whether the Government had correctly picked President Wee as the 1st of 5 presidencies to trigger a Reserved Election for 2017.
“This legal case has been a fulfilling journey on many levels.
“It has allowed me, an ordinary citizen, to express a different legal view on this subject. It has generated healthy public discussion – about due process, the importance of racial harmony, and the transparency of Parliamentary action. Most importantly, judging from the comments I’ve received online and in person, I am encouraged that many Singaporeans care deeply about such matters, and want better answers from the Government.
“The case will end on 31 July 2017. But it is good to let our conversation on these national issues continue.”