Dr Tan Cheng Bock has urged his supporters and the public at large who are angry at the “Selected Presidency” walkover in which Mdm Halimah Yacob was appointed president to ask their “PAP MPs” to take the matter up in parliament.
His call comes the same day as the PAP-dominated parliament quashed a 2nd attempt by the Workers’ Party to question the element of discretion which the government has to decide on the “counting” of presidents.
Due to time constraints, parliamentary motions are put to a ballot and this time round, a
The PAP-dominated parliament voted to discuss against discussing the issue of the presidency in favour “Preserving Green Space and Heritage in Jalan Kayu Constituency”
The first time the WP tried filing the motion “Counting from President Wee Kim Wee or President Ong Teng Cheong for Reserved Presidential Election – Policy Decision or Legal Question”, they hit a roadblock after parliamentarians voted to discuss a “Community Sentencing” motion filed by Bukit Batok MP Murali Pillai.
Said Dr Tan:
“MP Sylvia Lim intends to take it up in Parliament. Let’s hope she gets the chance to do so. Meanwhile, if you meet your PAP MP, please ask them too. As the electorate, they are accountable to you.”
Accountability aside, Dr Tan managed to escape paying legal fees related to his legal challenge against the elected presidency.
He had challenged the counting of presidents issue in the High Court and later disputed the High Court’s decision to dismiss his case in the Court of Appeal – which also dismissed his case.
Dr Tan would have had to pay S$30,000 in legal costs but this fee was waived by the government.
Read Dr Tan’s full Facebook post here:
“IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST TO KNOW – FINAL UPDATE ON COURT CASE
My case has finally concluded with no legal costs payable to the Government. At first, the Government wanted the Court to order $30,000 costs against me. But my lawyers vigorously resisted and argued for a “public interest cost order” instead. After reading our submissions, the Government changed their mind and consented to “no order as to costs”.
What is a “public interest costs order”? In exceptional cases, the Court can spare an unsuccessful plaintiff, who has filed a legitimate complaint, from paying costs to a government defendant in a case of general importance and public interest.
When my legal action started in April 2017, many cautioned “Don’t waste money. You will surely lose and pay the Government thousands of dollars in legal fees.” However, the Government’s dismissive attitude towards genuine answer-seekers like myself, and MP Sylvia Lim in Parliament in Nov 2016 and Feb 2017 was simply unsatisfactory. Win or lose, I was determined the Government should answer our questions.
6 months have passed. My legal team presented serious arguments, and ran our case responsibly without mud-slinging. Now Singaporeans know the issues better. Despite not succeeding, my application has secured some answers.
We heard the AG tell the Court: “PM never said that the AG advised PM to start the count from President Wee. What PM said is that the AG advised (that) what the Government was proposing to do was legitimate” and the AG never advised the Government that President Wee was the 1st Elected President. The start of the count was purely a policy decision, which the Court cannot review. AG’s advice to the PM was ultimately irrelevant.
Yet other questions remain unanswered by the Government. For instance, why did the Government tell Parliament they took AG’s advice if AG’s advice was irrelevant? Why invite MP Sylvia Lim to go to Court if it was, all along, a policy decision? Shouldn’t reasons for policy decisions be explained in Parliament ?
These questions ought to be answered, even though this case has ended. MP Sylvia Lim intends to take it up in Parliament. Let’s hope she gets the chance to do so. Meanwhile, if you meet your PAP MP, please ask them too. As the electorate, they are accountable to you.
This matter is still of general importance and public interest, and we must always exercise our right to seek answers from the Government.”