Joint Statement in support of Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s challenge of the Constitutional change to enforce Reserved Elected Presidency

Dr Tan Cheng Bock

Lim Tean, Tan Kin Lian, Syafarin Sarif and I had started the initiative to publish a Non-Partisan Joint Statement in support of Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s challenge of the Constitutional change to enforce Reserved Elected Presidency based on dubious grounds. [LINK

We wanted a Non-Partisan Joint Statement basically because we feel that this is an important matter which should include private individuals, other than politicians.

You can add your name to this Joint Statement by sharing it in your Facebook. Let the Force be with us.

Please join us to stop the emasculation of our Constitution! To support please like, share & comment. Also message me if you want your name added to the bottom of the statement and I will do so.

JOINT STATEMENT MAY 11TH 2017….

The written Constitution of Singapore should be a repository of the most cherished values we hold as a people and also a bulwark of our venerable institutions.

Sadly, our Constitution has been subject to numerous attacks over the years .The recent episode over changes to the Elected Presidency Scheme is the latest demonstration of such an attack.

There was never a call by any Singaporean of any ethnic group for our next President to be a Malay. If race is an important element in the choosing of an elected President, it beggars belief that it did not surface as an issue during the period when the time scheme was first conceived and the interlude of almost 7 years until it was passed into law. The scheme was not cobbled together hurriedly as has been suggested, thereby necessitating substantial changes at this time. The scheme was first mooted by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew as far back as 15 April 1984 during a walkabout in his Tanjong Pagar Constituency, and again brought up by him during his National Day Rallyspeech on 19 August that year. There was intense media and public interest in the issue. On 29 July 1988, then First Deputy Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong introduced the first White Paper on the proposed scheme in Parliament. There were changes and amendments made and a second White Paper was introduced on 27 August 1990. Following a lengthy debate during the second reading of the resultant Bill on 4 October 1990, a 12-member select committee, which included key cabinet ministers was appointed to look into issues and make recommendations. The committee’s report was presented to Parliament on 18 December 1990 and, on 3 January 1991 the Bill was passed into law .

Moreover, by 1988, the PAP had introduced the Group Representation Constituencies ( GRCs ) into the Parliamentary electoral system in Singapore. Race is the very foundation of the GRC system, as all Singaporeans are aware of.

In the years following the last Presidential election of 2011, no PAP member ever expressed any concern that too many years had passed without Singapore having a Malay President until the issue surfaced in the President’s speech, opening Parliament in January 2016. If this issue is of such grave national importance as the PAP and the Prime Minister have made it out to be, why was this issue not put before the Singapore people in the last General Elections held in September 2015? And why has this issue not been put before the Singapore people in a referendum?

The PAP euphemistically termed the changes made as a “refreshment “of the Scheme in the President’s speech. In reality, they amount to an over-arching arrangement to kill off competition so that the favoured
candidate of the PAP will triumph at the next Presidential election. It tarnishes the institution of the Elected President which is supposed to be part of the “two-key “mechanism designed to safeguard Singapore’s
financial reserves and the integrity of our civil service. It is a betrayal of their proclaimed ideal of meritocracy which calls for the best person to be elected to the position of President, and it is a desecration of the
Singapore pledge penned by one of their founders S. Rajaratnam – in which Singaporeans pledge themselves as one united people regardless of race, language and religion to build a democratic society.

We have come together as a group of concerned Singaporeans, from diverse walks in life and from a wide political spectrum, to ask Singaporeans to stand up and to protect our Constitution from constant manipulation by the PAP government to suit their selfish political needs.

We are pleased to note that Dr Tan Cheng Bock has mounted a judicial challenge to the constitutionality of the next Presidential Election being a reserved election. Even if it is now the law that there must be a reserved election for a particular racial group if no one from that group has been President after 5 continuous terms, it is clear to everyone of us that only the Presidential election of 2023 need be a reserved election. The next Presidential election in September this year should be an open election as there have been only 4 elected Presidents since the Elected Presidency scheme came into effect, with Mr Ong Teng Cheong being our first elected President. We do not know of any ordinary Singaporean who has taken an opposing view.

Since the PAP Government insists that the upcoming Presidential election is a reserved election under the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Act 2017, the burden was on them to explain to the Singapore people the basis of their decision. It was incumbent upon them to produce the advice which they said they had obtained from the Attorney-General, which formed the basis of their decision. This is no different to a judge having to give his reasons for a decision made by him. It was important for the Government to have made known the reasoning behind the Attorney-General’s advice because the Attorney-General’s advice does not constitute the law of the land and is open to challenge by way of Judicial Review.

Finally, we note from Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s statement issued after he had filed the proceedings in Court that Lord Pannick QC, the most renown British Constitutional lawyer of his generation, whom Dr Tan consulted, is of the opinion that section 22 of the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Act 2017, which makes the upcoming Presidential election a reserved one, is unconstitutional . That means that in Lord Pannick QC’s opinion, the advice of the Attorney-General was wrong. We must now await the determination of this issue by the Supreme Court.

Goh Meng Seng

* Source: Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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23 Responses to “Joint Statement in support of Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s challenge of the Constitutional change to enforce Reserved Elected Presidency”

  • N.Jungne:

    Let the PAPigs lose a few GRCs, see what’s next

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  • 4 or 5:

    The PEeM only issued 4(four) writs for EP! I am sure he can only show 4 pieces of paper!
    Where is the fifth (5) one?

    Don’t have or have? Have okay! Don’t have……..back to drawing board……I mean Pariahment!

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  • PROTECT OUR CONSTITUTION!:

    Thanks a million for the civic initiative!

    I pledge my unqualified support for this initiative to protect our sacred Constitution – that originally enshrines our human rights and national values – which has been under constant PAP attacks and manipulations for partisan and political agenda.

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  • Bapak:

    Is there a link to join? Not everyone has FB.

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  • VTO PAP:

    Can we raise a petition instead?

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  • Ho Lee Jing:

    “Regardless of RACE, LANGUAGE or RELIGION”…. how many of us, native sporeans has this ingrained in our mind since the day we entered school? How many of us actually know we have to support Dr Tan’s challenge? But how many of us have lost our balls and prefer to remain silent, just letting PAP do whatever they want?

    What Dr CBTan has decided to do is for the sake of our country more than for his personal gain. If native sporeans still love spore, we should all give support by adding our names to the Joint Statement. PAP cannot be allowed to always “think what, say what, do what” as they please.

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  • Dr Tan Tai Wei:

    Tony Tan did warn, when campaigning for his presidency, that government would work well with the President only with him as President. Straight gentleman as he is, he seemed to have, with political naivety, let out a hidden motive which LHL thought very important to deny the very next day, declaring “Government will work with whomever elected”. Probably, that their criteria for selecting candidates had let in opponents of their candidate who might check a PAP government, as Ong Teng Cheong tried, had caught PAP by surprise. And so there subsequently had been all those revisions to the EP in order to “pluck loopholes”? And so we have the present maneuverings enabled by those revisions, so that Cheng Bock, perceived to be even more of the stuff of Teng Cheong, would not stand?

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  • LIONS:

    so,lets see WHO WILL BE BREAKING OUR LAWS???

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  • Can TCB beat Amos?:

    Amos beat PAP big-time in US court. TCB is trying to do the same thing in Singapore. If he wins, he is even “bigger” than Amos. But wait. If US DHS does not appeal or loses its appeal then Amos will be released. Double confirming what the US judge found that PAP is running a police state in Singapore. More loss of face and humiliation for PAP. So Amos can still beat TCB.

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  • Political Nuts:

    越帮越忙!

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  • Ang:

    Some say send to the Hague and talk to international media??

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  • Hud:

    They will find a creative reason to spurn TCB.

    The only way to get fair and impartial hearing is at Hague.

    You can beat slimy rogue hypocrites in their turf.

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  • Chee Hong That and This:

    Dear GMS

    But what which lawyer can win case against authoritarianism?
    Authoritarian rule by definition is an extreme unfair advantage .

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  • Old Moon:

    Let’s see how the PAP disposes of this one.
    No win situation for the PAP.
    All of you are going to enjoy this one.

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  • BOOM:

    LKY ask bacause Sultan of Johor is not happy !

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  • Hell o:

    The whole world is watching. Truthfulness is the right word for the continuity of Singapore. Please realise and change instantly. Not likely to find another way.

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  • Harry Lee Tua Kee:

    Expect fair justice from the Kangaroo court? Dream on.

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  • Monyet Hitam:

    Political Nuts

    越 静 越 呆, 就 是 你.

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  • Leegirlised Crony Corruption:

    Hell o:
    The whole world is watching. Truthfulness is the right word for the continuity of Singapore. Please realise and change instantly. Not likely to find another way.

    Sure? Then why the grads of sg oblivious to this?
    All in the office and everyday waiting to catch the Noose only.

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  • Goh Choke Tongue:

    Bapak:
    Is there a link to join? Not everyone has FB.

    WhatsApp more coverage.
    SMS the best coverage.

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  • Time to Come:

    What if the maihum tell the q.c to F.O citing “why are you meddling with my familee business!?”

    Authoritarianism is at country level.

    Only XJP and USA can interfere without being told to F.O.

    In other words , the domestic market has been absolutely fully domesticated, metaphorically speaking.

    Only EXTERNAL FORCES can destroy it.

    If and whenever they want , the chilli padi can be squashed into chilli paste.

    So, fingers crossed, no more longan faux pas.
    Get him to shut up.

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  • rukidding:

    Constitution got “raped” by Pimps and prostitutes ( P.a.p.) Party !

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  • Fair:

    To be seen to be fair,it is best to let TCB compete in the coming EP contest…
    Save all the trouble and unhappiness…

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