Legal challenge to reserved election fails

Former MP and one-time presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock speaking at a press conference held at the Sheraton Towers, on March 31, 2017.
Former MP and one-time presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock speaking at a press conference held at the Sheraton Towers, on March 31, 2017. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock has failed in his legal challenge of a government decision that reserves the coming presidential election for Malay candidates.

The High Court has ruled that Parliament has the right to decide the timing of such elections, held when a racial group has not been represented in the presidency for five continuous terms.

Parliament had taken the term of President Wee Kim Wee as the first of the five terms. Dr Tan said this was unconstitutional, arguing that the reserved election should start from 2023. Justice Quentin Loh said ultimately, Parliament's choice of the first term "is a policy decision which falls outside the remit of the courts".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2017, with the headline 'Legal challenge to reserved election fails'. Print Edition | Subscribe