The High Court today rejected Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s application contesting the legitimacy of the upcoming Presidential Election which has been reserved for Malay candidates today. Besides having his appeal dismissed, Dr Tan was also attacked for having “selfish” and “self-serving” motives by Deputy Attorney General Hri Kumar Nair – a former Member of Parliament from the PAP.
In a statement addressed to Singaporeans, Dr Tan described Mr Hri’s attack on him as a “hit below the belt”. Dr Tan, a former People’s Action Party MP himself, charged that the the Deputy Attorney General was delving “into dangerous racial politics”. he pointed out that his challenge in the Court was about upholding the Constitution of Singapore.
The following is Dr Tan’s message in full.
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.