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




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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.”

Dr Tan filed the appeal after the High Court’s rejected his application on 7 July.

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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.

He later indicated that he will not pursue the matter if the Court of Appeal rejects his application.


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