Deputy Attorney-General Hri Kumar's comments 'highly inflammatory': Tan Cheng Bock

Former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock (Photo: Amritpal Khaira/Yahoo Singapore)

Tan Cheng Bock has hit back at Deputy Attorney-General (DAG) Hri Kumar Nair over comments that Nair made during Tan’s constitutional challenge to aspects of the Elected Presidency in the High Court, calling them “highly inflammatory”.

The former presidential candidate added that the DAG’s comments were “hitting below the belt” and encroaches into dangerous racial politics” in a statement posted on Facebook late Friday night (7 July).

Tan’s case, which challenged the timing of the reserved presidential election, was dismissed by Justice Quentin Loh earlier on the same day.

Court documents quoted Nair as saying, “His (Tan’s) motives are purely selfish and he has shown no regard for the principle of multiracial representation which Parliament intended to safeguard.”

Tan also took issue with the Channel NewsAsia report “Tan Cheng Bock’s constitutional challenge dismissed by High Court” published on 7 July on the case. “First, the report gave the impression that Justice Loh accepted the DAG’s remarks about me (which was also unfair and untrue). In fact, the judge did not entertain this submission anywhere in his judgment, presumably because that submission was irrelevant to the case,” said Tan.

He also added that he had “championed multi-racialism and continue to do so” during his political career.

“This case is not about race. It is about process and procedures. It is about upholding the Constitution. Let’s keep it that way,” said Tan.

The former People’s Action Party MP has until 12 July to file an appeal. Chelva Retnam Rajah, who is representing Tan, said his client will consider the judgement and make a decision over the course of next week.

In May, Tan filed an affidavit to the High Court to challenge the counting of five terms of the EP to trigger this year’s reserved election. The upcoming presidential election is reserved for Malay candidates and will be held in September.

More Singapore stories

COMMENT: ‘No space’ in the Parliament press room

No conflict in appointments of Lucien Wong, Hri Kumar as AG and DAG: PM Lee