Former PAP MP Appointed Deputy Attorney-General; Workers’ Party Cries Foul

Former PAP MP Hri Kumar Nair will be appointed as Deputy Attorney-General from 1 March 2017.

This will make him the first former politician to be appointed as an Attorney-General since Singapore’s independence.

And that appointment has raised the ire of Workers’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim, who is concerned with potential political partisanship.

Mr Nair’s appointment was announced yesterday in a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office:

“The President has appointed Mr Hri Kumar Nair S.C. as a Deputy Attorney-General for a term of 3 years with effect from 1 March 2017.    

Mr Nair is a director at Drew and Napier. He has more than 25 years of experience as a lawyer, and was appointed Senior Counsel in 2008. He has acted in a wide range of litigation and arbitration matters for major international and local companies and financial institutions. He has also advised on regulatory issues and led teams to investigate fraud and other issues which have arisen in both private and listed companies.

Mr Nair was also a Member of Parliament from 2006 to 2015.

Mr Nair will join the team of Deputy Attorneys-General which includes Mr Tan Siong Thye S.C. and Mr Lionel Yee S.C.  Mr Tan Siong Thye will be appointed as a Judge of the High Court with effect from 1 April 2017.”

As soon as his appointment was announced, it appears that a “local paper” contacted WP chairman Sylvia Lim for her thoughts on the appointment, then refused to publish her comments.

Taking to Facebook, Ms Lim said:

“I was asked by a local paper whether I had any concerns about partisanship, given that Mr Kumar was such a strong critic of AHPETC, our WP-run Town Council. I gave my response as follows (which I was just told would not be published due to lack of space): ‘It is critical that persons entrusted with vast prosecutorial discretion act in the public interest, and not for partisan political gain. The appointment of a former PAP MP to such a post is not ideal. Whether my concerns prove to be founded or otherwise — remains to be seen’.”

Hri Kumar Nair, a director at law firm Drew & Napier, served as a MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC from 2006 to 2015.

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