Revealing that the Workers’ Party (WP) Members of Parliament (MPs) will appeal the High Court judgment that found them liable for damages in the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) lawsuit, WP chairman Sylvia Lim asked Parliament to reject Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s “premature” motion against her and veteran WP leader Low Thia Khiang.
Mr Heng moved to get AHTC to require Ms Lim and Mr Low to “recuse themselves” from all financial matters related to AHTC today (5 Nov) and noted that both politicians have not responded to the High Court judgment in the AHTC legal case that was released on 11 Oct.
Following DPM Heng’s hour-long speech, Ms Lim clarified that she and her colleagues Mr Low and Mr Pritam Singh have reviewed the judgment with their lawyers and will appeal the decision at the apex court.
DPM Heng had accused the WP of staying silent in the wake of the AHTC judgment and asked whether there will be an appeal and what will be “done in the interim, pending the appeal, if there is one.” Noting that an appeal takes time, he asked: “Will the Workers’ Party provide the House with any guarantees to uphold accountability and transparency between now and the appeal?”
Pointing out that the three WP MPs had updated on their blog that they were “reviewing the judgment and will take advice from our lawyers” right after the judgment was released, Ms Lim noted that any party involved in a lawsuit may appeal the judgment within a month.
Pointing out that the WP’s timeframe to appeal was between 11 Oct and 11 Nov, Ms Lim said: “We are still within the timeframe to do so, and it will be filed by Nov 11. Whatever the trial judge has decided is subject to review by the Court of Appeal. This is a civil proceeding and involves novel points of law.”
She added: “And contrary to what I think DPM (Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat) suggested, it has not been decided as to whether any loss has been caused to the town council.”
Noting that Singapore has a “court structure” that allows parties to appeal High Court judgments through the Court of Appeal and that the apex court “will review the findings at the trial and may affirm, reverse or vary the findings,” Ms Lim called Mr Heng’s motion “premature” and asked the House to reject it:
“DPM Heng filing this motion at this point in time is telling, but premature.
“The PAP Government is clearly excited about certain findings and comments contained in the High Court judgment issued on Oct 11. And these are findings in relation to certain actions taken by some of us in the aftermath of the 2011 General Election.”
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