Cambridge-educated lawyer and former National Solidarity Party chief Lim Tean has weighed in on the legal challenge mounted by Dr Tan Cheng Bock against the legitimacy of PE2017 being a reserved election.
Lim, who has plied his trade in a host of prestigious law firms such as Drew & Napier and Rajah & Tann, attended today’s hearing at the Court of Appeal.
He said that it is absurd that until now the Attorney-General’s Chambers recommendation to the government has not been produced in court.
The government had declared PE2017 a reserved election acting on advice from the AGC.
A key part of that advice that President Wee Kim Wee should be considered as Singapore’s first elected president despite Mr Wee not having been elected in an open election
Singapore’s first president to have been elected in an open election is President Ong Teng Cheong, and he has been widely recognised by the public and in government records as Singapore’s first elected president.
Counting Mr Ong as Singapore’s first elected president would make the next Presidential Election (PE2023 at the earliest) a reserved election.
This is Lim Tean had account of today’s hearing:
“I went to the Court of Appeal today to attend Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s appeal from Justice Loh’s decision in the reserved election case.
As expected, the Court was packed and I only managed to get in to observe the 2nd half of the hearing after Mr Chelva Rajah SC (Dr Tan’s counsel) had presented his arguments to the Court.
The Government’s case was presented by the Deputy Attorney General, Mr Hri Kumar. He did not argue well and kept deferring the judges’ questions. An important part of the art of the advocate is the ability to handle judges’ questions head on. Questions from a judge are the best indicator of the thinking of the judge .
I thought that both Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Judge of Appeal Steven Chong asked Mr Kumar very pertinent questions regarding the government’s case.
One feature of the case which I find absurd is that up to now the Attorney-General’s advice to the government has not been produced to the Courts. In the Court below and in the Court of Appeal today, Mr Kumar took the position that the AG’s advice is irrelevant. I find such a position taken to be ridiculous!
Overall, I am of the opinion that Dr Tan had a good hearing before the Court of Appeal today and I wish him and his supporters the best of luck.”