ST and Today Ignore Court’s Questioning of Hri Kumars ‘Updating Construction’ Argument

Singapore’s highest court questioned Deputy Attorney-General Hri Kumar’s arguments that the Court should apply “updating construction ” or “rectifying construction” to the Constitution to bring it in line with amendments to the Parliamentary Elections Act (PEA) over the GRC system.

SDP assistant treasurer Dr Wong Souk Yee appealed High Court Judge Chua Lee Ming’s decision when he rejected her application to declare the government’s refusal to call a by-election in the Marsiling-Yew Tee (MYT) GRC unconstitutional.

At the heart of matter is the contention that Article 49(1) of the Constitution states that every parliamentary seat that is vacated “shall be filled by election”.

The PAP, however, insists that a by-election need not be called in a GRC unless all members resign their posts.

The Court of Appeal grappled with this conundrum in yesterday’s hearing. Ms Halimah Yacob had resigned from her seat in the GRC to become President.

The five-judge panel heard arguments from Mr Peter Low acting for Dr Wong and Mr Hri Kumar for the Government.

Chief Justice Suresh Menon and Justice Andrew Phang expressed reservations with Mr Hri Kumar’s argument and grappled with the issue of using updating and rectifying construction to the Constitution.

The Appellant contends that it is not the Court’s role to update or rectify the Constitution to suit the PEA. Only Parliament can amend the Constitution with a two-thirds majority vote. Article 49(1) was not amended to require all seats in a GRC to be vacated before a by-election is called.

Under Article 4, the Constitution reigns supreme and legislation (such as the introduction of the GRC system in the PEA) that is in conflict with it is void.

The Straits Times’ and TODAY‘s reports did not mention this crucial portion of the hearing.

Earlier during the session, the panel of judges asked Mr Low if the remaining MPs in the MYT GRC should resign to allow a by-election to take place.

The problem is not for the Appellant to resolve. The problem is wholly a creation of the PAP-led parliament. The onus, therefore, is on the government to find a resolution that is in accordance with the Constitution.

Justice Phang also asked if calling for the remaining MPs to resign was in the spirit of a parliamentary democracy.

But if a seat is vacated and not replaced via a by-election as required, then the process makes a mockery of the Constitution. In such an instance, how is parliamentary democracy served?

Justice Phang also asked Mr Low if the constituency would be unrepresented if one member of the GRC team is missing. Another judge, Justice Steven Chong, answered the question saying that the constituents would be under-represented and not unrepresented.

The Constitution stipulates that there must be 87 elected members in the House. If the Court deems that constituents are still represented in Parliament if one seat is vacant, then what if three seats are vacated or five or ten? Where does the Court draw the line regarding adequate representation?

Consider the following analogy: In a football match, if one player is injured and cannot continue, another player is brought on as his replacement. Consider further: If the substitution is not allowed, the team will have to carry on with 10 players.

In such a scenario, the team cannot be said to be unrepresented in the match – 10 players are still on the pitch. But playing with even one player short (unless he is sent off) goes against the very spirit of fairness.

Likewise, why should residents of the MYT GRC be playing in Parliament with one player short, so to speak?

This is the reason why Article 49(1) declares that every seat vacated “shall be filled by election” – there were no ‘ifs’, ‘ands’ or ‘buts’ in the section.

To add insult, Ms Halimah Yacob was the sole minority MP in MYT. The GRC system was introduced specifically to augment the election of minority MPs. Article 39A stipulates that.

Back then, PAP reasoned that a minority MP can better represent the ethnic group in the constituency.

Now when it suits its purpose, the government argues that it doesn’t matter if the minority MP resigns her seat because, according to Mr Hri Kumar, the system was “designed to ensure minority representation at the point of elections.” How does this make sense?

The Court will deliver its verdict at a later date.

 

Singapore Democrats

 

 

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20 Responses to “ST and Today Ignore Court’s Questioning of Hri Kumars ‘Updating Construction’ Argument”

  • No pic no sound so long:

    This guy still around?

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  • Verdict is predictable:

    Since when has PAP ever made any sense at all to us citizens?
    Verdict is 100% predictable..
    We’ve seen it before.
    You 70% asked for it..
    Now swallow the bitter medicine!

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  • Kurt:

    Just don’t understand you guys. You jolly well know the outcome and the tricks they play, then why in the blue damn hell bother to contest it in court?!
    Waste of time, effort and money. Get nothing in return only to be laughed at.

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  • NotMyProblem:

    We already know the verdict!! Remember what Lee Sheng Wu said about SG’s court?

    The court would just pass the issue back to Parliament or by-election is not necessary!! I can also be the Judge, especially in SG.

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  • N.Jungne:

    Alarmak if I know she should remain Part-time MP and Part-time President. The problem is how to be Malay when still an Indian, how? Any Suggestions

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  • MarBowling:

    To those deciding the outcome and verdict: Heaven and the Barn Owl are watching. Care more for your conscience and integrity. Show you care for the country and Singaporean. The star of the DieNasty is diminishing and dimming all night Loong!

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  • Bapak:

    We have to thank SDP for their never dying spirit and effort. This is one very rare opportunity to show to the www how pl***t the system was. Hopefully, many sleepers will wake up. SDP’s efforts will one day be rewarded.

    Kurt:
    Just don’t understand you guys. You jolly well know the outcome and the tricks they play, then why in the blue damn hell bother to contest it in court?!
    Waste of time, effort and money. Get nothing in return only to be laughed at.

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  • Dr. Chan:

    Don’t need law, constitution in Singapore. Don’t need court, Parliament too. Whatever AH loong says is the law. 70% approved.

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  • Better than judges:

    Yes we sgs are all psychic..we oredy knew the verdict even before the case went to trial.
    Dont blame us.
    Life in sg had taught us many lessons.

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  • The One & Only Judge U. DREDD:

    The fact that there was reservation on the part of the panel, especially CJ Menon, in & of itself speaks endless volumes (as to how constitutionally legal GRCs are, with specific respect to the arbitrary – and therefore unconstitutional – decision not to hold by-elections to replace a vacated seat in order to restore/reinstate the full number of sworn-into-office MPs their constituents had casted on their sacrosanct voting ballots to represent them as a bloc – and therefore similar to a single whole entity not unlike a single MP-candidate in an SMC situation).

    The Parliament that you have has therefore been unconstitutionally assembled.

    And not just since September 2018 but it has in fact continuously been in illegal existence ever since the time of the first STTA corruption scandal when Choo Wee Khiang (current PAP MP Desmond Choo’s uncle) had to resign in shame as MP and vacate his Jalan Besar GRC seat before being fined (a measly S$10,00 for a million-dollar scam) and jailed (albeit a mere two weeks for such a grievous graft case involving a standing ruling-party politician). SC Shanmugam, now law and home affairs minister, was then Choo’s legal counsel then, it is worthy to note.

    In view of its illegal and unconstitutional nature, laws enacted by Parliament should therefore be void and null, and by extension, all judgements handed down by any court premised on such legislations could, should and must now be declared null and void and retrials rescheduled to avoid further miscarriage of rightful justice.

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  • The One & Only Judge U. DREDD:

    @ N.Jungne

    FROM INDIAN TO MALAY

    Simple. Just say so (declare).

    You may pay anywhere from $50 to a few hundreds to do a Deed Poll at a registered (undebarred) attorney’s office.

    A word of caution though:
    Not at M.Ravi’s, mind you – not that he is not qualified to do it or anything but the very fact that you wish to ‘un-declare’ yourself as an Indian is gonna get him mad. Very, very mad.

    And we all know what he can do even when he’s sober, never mind otherwise, heehee.

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  • Thomson CPF 's MP?:

    Singaporeans remember him!

    No CPF Rep at CPF Talk and ‘embarrassed’ by an old aunty seeking the release of her CPF funds?

    I think the video clip is still on you tube, right?

    You mean he is now the Dy AGC, omg!

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  • NotMyProblem:

    Dr. Chan:
    Don’t need law, constitution in Singapore. Don’t need court, Parliament too. Whatever AH loong says is the law. 70% approved.

    Dr. Tan C B is registering a “Progress Singapore Party” with some ex-PAP members. Let’s see if Singapore voters can kick out the PAP this coming GE.

    We have no law. The Constitution is like written with erasable ink. Parliament is a wayang stage for jokers. What’s Singapore becoming now?

    We need to get back our country, for our children and grandchildren!!

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  • How does this make sense?:

    This is the reason why Article 49(1) declares that every seat vacated “shall be filled by election” – there were no ‘ifs’, ‘ands’ or ‘buts’ in the section.

    To add insult, Ms Halimah Yacob was the sole minority MP in MYT. The GRC system was introduced specifically to augment the election of minority MPs. Article 39A stipulates that.

    Back then, PAP reasoned that a minority MP can better represent the ethnic group in the constituency.

    Now when it suits its purpose, the government argues that it doesn’t matter if the minority MP resigns her seat because, according to Mr Hri Kumar, the system was “designed to ensure minority representation at the point of elections.” How does this make sense?

    Everyone should help publicize and share such illogic and the all PAP cheating ways to open the eyes (and minds) of the N.Koreanized Sinkies.

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  • Plain Text:

    The plain meaning of Article 49.1 should be followed: there it refers to “parliamentary seat” being vacated; to be filled by “election.” In this case, the vacant seat happens to be a GRC seat. Parliament is not the same as a soccer game; to use soccer rules as an example is inappropriate. A MP is elected to Parliament not to play ball. When one member in a GRC team walks out or steps down, the team is essentially disqualified since it no longer meets the requisite to remain as a group representation – the key minority representation (Indian or Malay?) in a GRC is an essential part of the team the people voted for. The team has to be dissolved for “election” to be held to fill the vacant “seat” and to complete the representation.

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  • Dr Tan Tai Wei:

    Seems to me that, even if the court should rectify the Constitution in light of parliament’s GRC amendments, the restitution should require the by-election appealed for. Constitution says there must be a by-election to replace any MP. Now, a group MP must mean a team to do the work of an MP. Voters cast one vote each to choose a team, ie. all the members who collectively make up the team. The team they voted for no longer exists with any member having left. This is especially so when each member is to represent a race, even more so, when it’s a minority race MP who left, since the very objective has been to ensure minority race representation. So, it cannot be callously said, on the present issue, that football teams have played even with one or two players sent off, ie. even where less than a team, therefore no team in the full sense, remained. This would be a handicap, imposed as a penalty, etc., and it’s only a game, not politics that affect lives and livelihood and national security, etc. Government conceded this importance when it seeks to replace Halimah with a Malay MP from another constituency, but how is “democracy upheld” when voters have to do with one they haven’t elected? (And why even bother to have that replacement if race representation is only for show “at the point of a general election”?)

    “Must all remaining MPs resign?” Seems to me you can have that, or just have re-election for the substitute MP. Anyhow, how would democracy be undermined when a no-longer-the-team former team members make way for a democratically elected integral full group to comprise a real team?

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  • Bapak:

    Why is WP so quiet on this? Certainly it affect everyone’s interest, isnt it? To ignore such a big intentional blunder by PAP is not doing their job. Opposition is to speak for the people not to speak just for their party. Quite disappointed with their total silence on this very dirty trick by the ruling party as government. They dont deserve to be in government. How could the people accept such irresponsible government who doesnt follow the rules?

    Singaporeans are not politically aware & awake enough. Our bochap altitude has brought upon our future generations much suffering by supporting a party that gone rogue. Dont Singaporeans know how irresponsible to ignore their dirty tactics?

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  • Mother of Erections:

    The court must follow the Constitution which is the highest Law of the Land.

    Any other law or Act made under the Consitution is only a subsidiary legislation.

    When a variance occur or a conflict of the subsidiary against the ‘Main Mother Law’, it is Obvious that the Mother Law reigns Supreme.

    Quite rightly, an Erection must take place……..which is why the remaining 4 office bearers Must resign to makeway for this mother of Erections.

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  • Trust only myself:

    The SDP is correct and BE must be called, but unfortunately with so many kangaroos around…….expect the unexpected.

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  • apek:

    make HDB freehold and make us and give us the rest of the goodies lah , PAP, then you can wan sui wan wan sui like in the 70s and 80s.

    Make HDB values drop? You can go fly kite .

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