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Workers’ Party Files Parliament Motion to Debate whether Ong Teng Cheong was First President of Singapore

Workers’ Party chairman and MP for Aljunied GRC Sylvia Lim has filed an adjournment motion to debate in parliament on 11 Sept the issue of the election of the president.

The WP said that “In the wake of intense public discussion after the parliamentary debates and a court case on the reserved presidential election, the Workers’ Party believes it is in the public interest for the Government to clarify this issue surrounding the election of our Head of State.”

The motion, titled “Counting from President Wee Kim Wee or President Ong Teng Cheong – policy decision or legal question?” comes after Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s failed legal challenge against this year’s reserved-for-Malay-candidates-only Presidential Election.

Dr Tan’s legal challenge was dismissed as the Attorney-General’s Chambers ruled that the government had the discretion to choose who it regarded as Singapore’s first elected president.

Dr Tan had argued that the government should recognise President Ong Teng Cheong as Singapore’s first elected president as he was, well, Singapore’s first elected president as national historical records show.

The government had chosen to recognise Dr Wee Kim Wee as Singapore’s first elected president on advice of the Attorney-General’s Chambers, claiming that he was the first president in Singapore to exercise the powers of an elected president even though he had been appointed as head of state.

Recognising President Ong Teng Cheong as Singapore’s first elected president would mean that the reserved election would be stayed until the next Presidential Election as there would only have been 4 consecutive presidents from a non-minority group.



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