Sengkang Town Council (SKTC) has appointed an independent panel to handle the pending court appeals involving Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council (PRPTC). SKTC manages Sengkang GRC, which was newly created ahead of the 2020 general election.
Sengkang GRC was won by the Workers’ Party (WP) in one of the biggest surprises on election night. The four WP politicians who were elected at Sengkang announced that they would be setting up their own town council instead of merging with the WP’s existing Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC).
As part of the takeover process, the WP MPs are working with Ang Mo Kio TC (AMKTC) for Anchorvale, and PRPTC for Punggol East and Sengkang Central. On Sept 8, SKTC announced that PRPTC will transfer all the assets and liabilities relating to Punggol East and Sengkang Central to the newest WP-run town council on 28 Oct.
The transfer will include the pending court appeals involving PRPTC and WP leaders Pritam Singh, Sylvia Lim and ex-party chief Low Thia Khiang.
PRPTC and AHTC brought a lawsuit against the three politicians, claiming misuse of town council funds. A judge found the WP members liable last October but the defendants have filed an appeal, which will be heard in the apex court on 18 Sept.
SKTC said earlier that it is fully committed to ensuring that all decisions taken in relation to the management of the court appeals are fair, transparent and in accordance with the law. On Saturday (5 Sept), SKTC appointed an independent panel of three distinguished persons under section 32(2) of the Town Councils Act to exercise SKTC’s powers to make all decisions relating to the appeals.
The three distinguished persons are Mr Kenneth Tan Senior Counsel, Mr Lok Vi Ming Senior Counsel and Dr Kevin Tan. Mr Kenneth Tan SC was among the first batch of Senior Counsel appointed in 1997 while Mr Lok Vi Ming SC was the former President of the Law Society of Singapore. Dr Kevin Tan, a noted public scholar, is an Adjunct Professor at NUS’ Law Faculty.
SKTC promised: “The Independent Panel will at all times act independently and impartially in the best interests of SKTC.”
Revealing that the members of the independent panel have agreed to take on the job pro-bono, SKTC said: “The members have also agreed to receive no remuneration for their services. SKTC expresses its deep appreciation and gratitude to Mr Kenneth Tan SC, Mr Lok Vi Ming SC and Dr Kevin Tan for agreeing to take up their respective appointments.”