Lucien Wong’s Controversial Past Points to Need for Reform of the AG’s Office

AG Lucien Wong

In the wake of Ms Parti Liyani’s acquittal several stones are being overturned and not surprisingly all manner of unpleasant things being found underneath them. I wrote in my last blog that Lucien Wong recusing himself from the inquiry by the AGO into the prosecution was not sufficient. He has handed the matter over to his deputy, former MP Hri Kumar, who doxxed an elderly woman who complained about her CPF at a forum he was holding. I would not expect him to uncover anything that could be damaging to his boss or to the Government. At the very least Lucien Wong should step down from the AG’s role until the investigation is complete.

There were revelations last week about Lucien Wong’s past misdemeanours. In 1986 a police report was made against both him and a female lawyer (Christina Ong, now Senior Partner at Allen and Gledhill) for alleged wrongful removal of files (a euphemism for theft?) from their employers’ offices after they were caught with the files in the boots of their cars. There was also a complaint made around the same time to the Law Society but it was apparently dismissed as “unmeritorious”. This raises questions as to why he was not prosecuted when for instance the AG pursued other “unmeritorious” cases such as the one against JBJ who was found guilty of a non-existent offence and sentenced to jail, deprived of his seat in Parliament and then struck off by the Law Society. He was only able to appeal to the Privy Council in the UK over his disbarment but they did not mince their words, recording their “deep disquiet that by a series of misjudgments”, JBJ had suffered “a grievous injustice”. Despite the Privy Council asking the Government to take the necessary steps to exonerate JBJ, the Government, headed by LKY, refused to do so.

Under Article 35(8) of the Constitution, the Attorney General “shall have power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for any offence.” This is problematic because the AG is a political appointee who serves as the Government’s chief legal adviser. He is appointed by the President on the advice of the PM who under the Constitution is also supposed to consult the Chief Justice. Most of the past AGs have been only too willing to initiate politically motivated prosecutions, e.g. of JBJ (the AG at the time was Tan Boon Teik who was best man at my parents’ wedding).

They have also used their power not to prosecute, as in the notorious case from the 1997 GE, when DPM Lee Hsien Loong (as he then was), DPM Tony Tan and PM Goh Chok Tong entered polling stations in Cheng San GRC in a clear breach of Sections 82(d) and (e) of the Parliamentary Elections Act:

82.—(1) No person shall —

(d) wait outside any polling station on polling day, except for the purpose of gaining entry to the polling station to cast his vote;
(e) loiter in any street or public place within a radius of 200 metres of any polling station on polling day;
The then AG Chan Sek Keong, decided that being inside a polling station was not the same as being within 200m of the polling station. Surely the AG’s extensive legal experience would have made him familiar with a similar case in the UK where a defendant to a charge under the Official Secrets Act 1920 tried to argue that being inside a prohibited place (in this case a military base) was not the same as being “in the vicinity” of that place. In that case the judge gave short shrift to the sophistry of the defendant’s argument holding quite rightly that it would be absurd to suggest that being inside the prohibited place would not be an offence whereas being outside it but within the vicinity would not.

Chan Sek Keong may have earned his promotion to Chief Justice by his rightly ridiculous reasoning, since a prosecution may have disqualified PM Goh, LHL and Tony Tan from office and at the very least forced a re-run of the Cheng San vote.

The selection of Lucien Wong as AG demonstrates how little has changed since then. With his questionable past and his conflict of interest as the PM’s former personal lawyer he is unsuitable to hold the role. In his case the fact that he is over 60 (the statutory retirement age for the AG under the Constitution) makes him even more susceptible to pressure from the PM as his appointment is for a fixed term which the PM can extend at his discretion (with the rubber stamp of the President). In a similar way the Government has the power to allow High Court Judges, including the Chief Justice, to serve beyond the statutory retirement age raising questions about judicial independence.

We need to remove the power to initiate or stop prosecutions from the Attorney General and establish an independent Prosecution Service modelled on the UK Crown Prosecution Service. It would be great if that was a result of the Parti Liyani case, since it failed to happen as a result of the JBJ case (where the Government still refuses to acknowledge the Privy Council ruling and our Judiciary is notoriously silent on the subject) or the Cheng San polling station case.

However instead we are seeing a big damage control exercise by the Government, from Minister of Law Shanmugam downwards to state media employees (and likely ISD operatives) like Chua Mui Hoong who are trying to turn it around and say that Ms Liyani’s acquittal on appeal shows that our system works. This needs to be resisted. The fact that the dogged persistence of an unpaid probono lawyer who gave up hundreds of hours of his time and the indomitable courage of Ms Liyani who refused to stop insisting on her innocence were after four years vindicated by a honourable High Court judge’s decision does not show that the system is working. We need to reform a system where powerful people connected to the Government like Mr Liew Mun Leong seem able to use our police and courts to silence and punish individuals who threaten them, particularly if they are poor and vulnerable, even to the extent of the district judge accepting the perjured testimony of Karl Liew, who had been found guilty of deceit in his bankruptcy case.

As importantly we need an end to a system in which the PM can use the police, the AG and the judiciary to pursue politically motivated prosecutions of his opponents while using that same control to give himself and his Government a free pass to break the law.

 

Kenneth Jeyaretnam

* The author blogs at https://kenjeyaretnam.com/

 

 

Corrections

I said that the woman arrested by the police together with Lucien Wong later became his wife. Apparently this is not true as they never married. Also the files were found in the boot of her car not his. Neither amendment alters the central facts in the article.

 

.

 

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22 Responses to “Lucien Wong’s Controversial Past Points to Need for Reform of the AG’s Office”

  • Kudos to Mr. Balchandani:

    “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude… One man with courage is a majority.”

    - Thomas Jefferson

    * Majulah Singapura! *

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  • K Jeyaretnam "firing blank":

    KJ is braking up the wrong tree. Does he have any evidence/proof that the Police and the Law Society should have taken strong action against Lucien Wong? Unless he has he cannot claim Lucien has a controversial past. Lucien Wong recusing himself from the investigation should be sufficient. What KJ should focus on is the scope and terms of reference of the investigation.

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  • Will Shanmugam talk cock?:

    Straits Times: Shanmugam to make ministerial statement in Parliament on ex-maid Parti Liyani’s case

    The investigation Shanmugam called for should include the Liew’s family illegal deployment of the maid and the attempt to silence / frame her by accusing her of theft. These are what the police should have investigated before deciding whether or not to arrest the maid. After these two issues are clarified then the investigation on why there were not done by the police and prosecutor should be addressed.

    If the Liew family broke the law they should be held accountable.

    A thorough (completed) investigation is required or the investigation will just be a “SHAM from SHAMugam”.

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  • What about free-rider Ivan Lim:

    PAP said it would “come back” to the Ivan Lim saga after the elections. It is now two months and 10 days since the last GE.

    Shanmugam will be maid a ministerial statement in Parliament on the maid case. He should use this to get the “ball rolling” again on the Ivan Lim saga. Why? The two cases are similar in that both needed a “thorough investigation or vetting” that did not happen. Also, both involved “free-riders” (Liew Mun Leong and Ivan Lim).

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  • Realistically:

    Dear Kenneth

    I FULLY support your disquiet and disgust at the “GRIEVOUS INJUSTICE” and unjust persecution of your father and your call for reform.

    I would suggest that NOT only should the AG’s function be split to separate the Office of the Prosecutor from being the legal adviser to the Government, BUT for a Commission of Inquiry into the Liyani’s case, and ALSO to recommend reform to the current system where ONLY the Prime Minister selects judges to the Supreme Court and other office holders in the administration of justice.

    Incidentally, that rabid ranter and whiner of inane diatribe is WRONG to ascribe the illegitimate persecution of your father with Lee Kuan Yew’s abuse of power, as a “MISCARRIAGE of Justice”.

    For those who might have missed out on my earlier comments might find what I posted in the undermentioned thread informative and also be better forewarned of the shameful and disgusting attempt by charlatans, most probably from the SDP and or wayang party to discredit me with dubious and unethical tactics:

    http://www.tremeritus.net/2020/09/14/they-stood-up-for-a-maid-theyll-stand-up-for-us/

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  • Harder Truths:

    “…As importantly we need an end to a system in which the PM can use the police, the AG and the judiciary to pursue politically motivated prosecutions of his opponents while using that same control to give himself and his Government a free pass to break the law….”

    It’s called Communism, Fascism or Despotism. take your pick. And unfortunately no, as long as Ownself check Ownself, it’s not going away any time soon.

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  • Boh Kia See:

    Nothing will change, whatever investigation or review they conduct. That is the PAP way.

    The only way to change anything in Singapore’s governance is remove the PAP from the seat of Government. then comes a period of de-linking State from party before any progress can be made.

    However, Justice Chan may have to consider early retirement after the review or investigation is over.

    That is the way it is in Singapore–unless the 60% wake up and make their view known.

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  • Went to Japan:

    We do not have an independent civil service like US, the courts can go after the politicians in power…

    Civil service are planted their own men and told to take orders from the ruling….

    Except for cases non political, the court is quite far… but recent years, the preference for foreigners, new citizens, elites and party members are becoming very obvious with this FT law min.

    He is unfit… but he has been a good barking puppy.

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  • anonymous:

    We need more rare people like KJ who writes courageously, sensibly and in revealing manner!

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  • Realistically:

    Contrary to what I believe to be the wayang party’s propaganda or more like s*ake oil speak @#Harder Truths, Singapore is NEITHER of the political systems he/she has described as :Communism, Fascism or Despotism.

    The Economist magazine, with their years of independent reporting, has described SINKaPOOR as an illiberal democracy.

    For me, the REALITY is that SINKaPOOR is neither of the above description……….it is a FIEFDOM – the Lee Family’s FIEFDOM.

    Nevertheless there are aspects of the political system which is democratic, and it is within such limitations that there are avenues for genuine political discussion and people’s activism which can and must influence the policies, and which the PAPies have now come to realise.

    In Russia, Belarus and Thailand with their very strict laws and policies towards public activism, people are rising up against the status quo of the self-serving policies as advocated by the PAPie’s “CO-DRIVER” in the form of the wayang party of whom its IB @#Harder Truths is propounding, since the supposed “ownself check ownself” policies of the PAPies suit the wayang party just fine………..notice their lack of concern and of course implicit support of the emperor without clothes failed policies whenever the PAPies have been exposed for their failures and abominations like the Parti’s v Liew Mun Leong’s case even as their wayang MPs have been pictured to enjoy themselves………….yes make merry while Rome burns.

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  • Realistically:

    I thought TRE readers must be aware of my describing this little red dot as SINKaPOOR. I have also justified/explained why the term SINKaPOOR is appropriate.

    As confirmation that SINKaPOOR’s is and would continue to face DIRE times which would not affect the wayang party MPs at least for the next 5 years leading their celebration as pictured, the cotton from sheep paper Major General aka khi Chiu had spoken exactly of the DIRE times ahead for the SINKaPOOR’s economy and for more misery for sinkies, except of course the wayang party’s MPs, with clear signs of panic in his expression.

    Decide for yourselves if the voters in Aljunied GRC, Hougang SMC and SengKang GRC are immune to the woes face by all sinkies of declining HDB values to eventually ZERO and their rice bowls being taken over by so-called foreign talents while the wayang party MPs continue life with their monthly assured MP allowance of $16k per month.

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  • xoxo:

    Among ELITES here,some are more *elite* than others?
    Hri Kumar solely respinsible,this bloke doesnt know anything at all?
    Really?
    If it is not LIEW MUN LEONG,maybe.
    But LML IS MEMBER N PREMIUM MEMBER like Lucien himself?

    Even *lesser* elites/MEMBERS can be made *fall guys*???

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  • Ha ha K think more Chans:

    Kenneth, your papa was lucky to have Former SDzj Mr Michael Khoo to preside on one of his defamation suit, if now with POFMA he would not have a chamce. The Philippines maid ifs very very fortunate to have Justice Chan presiding over her case n got her justice retored. mr Michael Khoo career path was aborted n now is a Senior Council. Justice Chan fate is tpyet to be seen n the rest of the Bench will thus be tested …. But with muting on POFMA, can it be any surprises. May be temples, churches, mosques will have to roll their vip carpets n special cushions arranged before the alter for the surprised visit of rare visitors.
    God forgive and protect ……., Good blimy, undrrstand lky got blessing from all faith before he flew. True or false only the characters involved and their tangan n kakis knew n if they want to share!

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  • My dear Realistically:

    Realistically:
    Dear Kenneth

    I FULLY support your disquiet and disgust at the “GRIEVOUS INJUSTICE” and unjust persecution of your father and your call for reform.

    I would suggest that NOT only should the AG’s function be split to separate the Office of the Prosecutor from being the legal adviser to the Government, BUT for a Commission of Inquiry into the Liyani’s case, and ALSO to recommend reform to the current system where ONLY the Prime Minister selects judges to the Supreme Court and other office holders in the administration of justice.

    Incidentally, that rabid ranter and whiner of inane diatribe is WRONG to ascribe the illegitimate persecution of your father with Lee Kuan Yew’s abuse of power, as a “MISCARRIAGE of Justice”.

    For those who might have missed out on my earlier comments might find what I posted in the undermentioned thread informative and also be better forewarned of the shameful and disgusting attempt by charlatans, most probably from the SDP and or wayang party to discredit me with dubious and unethical tactics:

    http://www.tremeritus.net/2020/09/14/they-stood-up-for-a-maid-theyll-stand-up-for-us/

    Did you speak up when “a grievous injustice” was inflicted on JBJ years ago?

    I am not surprise if you voted for the regime that carries out the grievous injustice right up to the lamp post incident and today.

    What can you do to remedy and stop all these injustices?

    Vote PAP?

    You dislike WP as I understand.

    Vote KJ?

    Vote PSP?

    This system has been perpetuated for over 50 years, rock solid, and reinforced daily, will the next government that topples PAP get rid of it?

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  • Soccerbetting2:

    Reported on Straits Times :Quote -”WP MP Raeesah Khan given stern police warning for social media posts that promoted enmity between different groups

    Police reports were lodged on July 4 and July 5 over Sengkang GRC MP Raeesah Khan’s social media posts.PHOTO: ST FILE

    PUBLISHED

    1 HOUR AGO

    UPDATED

    27 SEC AGO

    Wong Shiying

    SINGAPORE – Workers’ Party (WP) MP Raeesah Khan has been given a stern warning from the police for social media posts that promoted enmity between different groups and committed contempt by scandalising the court.
    The police, in a statement on Thursday (Sept 17), said they had completed their investigations in consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers, following police reports lodged against Ms Raeesah on July 4 and July 5 this year during the recent general election campaign.
    The police statement said the offences come under Section 298A(a) of the Penal Code for social media posts that Ms Raeesah, an MP for Sengkang GRC, put up on Feb 2, 2018 and May 17, 2020.

    The additional offence of contempt by scandalising the court, for her 2018 post, comes under Section 3(1)(a) of the Administration of Justice (Protection) Act, police said.
    Ms Raeesah, 26, was part of the four-member WP team that won Sengkang GRC at the July 10 polls with 52.1 per cent of the vote.
    On May 17, she put up a post about an incident in Robertson Quay involving seven foreigners who were caught on camera ignoring safe distancing rules during the circuit breaker period.

    Ms Raeesah, in her post, had said: “Do you see police officers here? Imagine if this was a neighbourhood hawker centre. There would be policemen swarming the area and enforcing the law within minutes.
    “Why is the law different for these people? Is it because they’re rich Chinese or white people? Do you think expats will be treated with the same disdain as migrant workers who broke the law?”
    Another post, in 2018, was made in the context of the City Harvest Church ruling. Ms Raeesah had posted: “Singapore jails minorities mercilessly, harasses mosque leaders but lets corrupt church leaders who stole $50 million walk free. Who did they pay?”…

    At a press conference on July 5 – after it emerged that two police reports were made against her – Ms Raeesah said she regretted making “insensitive” and “improper” remarks, and apologised to those who may have been hurt by them.
    She also said she did not mean to cause social division with her remarks, but had wanted to raise awareness about the concerns of minorities.
    The Straits Times has contacted the WP for comment.”Unquote .

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  • GardenOfSin:

    All the injustices and the burden/DESTRUCTION(on the maasses) of high cost is created(well, not entirely) and maintained by one powerful man, the strong man in the HOUSE.

    As in all nations, it is the HOUSE that gives him all the power.

    According to prophecy, the big guy says his time is up.

    The s*ake(the star) in the garden city is the problem and the solution is only apparent to those who see.

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  • Sham another snaky plp:

    Why is CJ so quiet.? Would he passed a comtempt of court on Sham if he politicizes law or would he remain mute n submissive. Justice is hung on a delicate pivot n needs men with unshakable integrity to keep it balanced.The time
    For show down on Separation of Power , though rather belated after the mute n succumbing of the Judiciary on POFMa? Aren’t there no more mem of honours. Is it that hard to maintain honour on this age of rediclous n c
    Riminal millions ownself xxxx ownself! No wonder the hero whom most if not all PGused to passed by n pbow before the pagoda like memorial n now fond itt s gone n transported very very quietly owhere! G4 really pa pack of …, show cansinkies trust these sbs with lying, cheating n beastly behavious to steal from them 28 m here, 100 m there, 25 millions on the shithole. What else coming. India passengers infected but no check on the passengers on the plane? Really scum mentality!

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  • AristoCATs - says" Hmmmm":

    LHY – Who watch the Watchers?
    -
    Law Enforcers – Not white than White?

    -
    Remember the Ballot Box !

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  • xoxo:

    Right,KJ.
    The respectable JBJ was wronged by the *$ystem*.
    So too DR CHEE.
    BTW,where is WARREN FERNANDEZ?
    Where is Dr Wan of KINDNESS MOVEMENT?

    ALL DIAM DIAM.
    Only rookies of the MSM are making excuses for LML?

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  • OSCOSsive Aristocraps:

    OSCOS = OwnSelf Check OwnSelf.

    A prince who claims himself as a natural aristocrat would always think that he could check his ownself, and could easily do whatever he likes as though he is above law. Worse still, once he becomes a King, he begins to think that he is above God.

    He is indeed a Communist.

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  • MarBowling:

    Like Simon always say: THINK!

    Think the days of Lucy Wong as the AG are numbered! AGC under his armpits are NOT only smelly but in a blady mess.

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  • xLUZ:

    185942 349690Normally I do not read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up quite forced me to try and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, quite good post. 420164

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