The Elected Presidency Scheme: My Challenge

Over a week ago, I filed a constitutional challenge in the Singapore High Court against the Elected Presidency Scheme (“EPS”). This application was filed as litigant-in-person in my capacity as an ordinary citizen of Singapore. The application was served on the Attorney General. Below, I will explain the reasons for my application. Before that however, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Andrew Harding who teaches law at the National University of Singapore (for his invaluable insights into the basic structure doctrine), my legal team and several international constitutional lawyers and barristers who have reached out and offered me help and support.


  1. The EPS as well as the recent amendment to the EPS are unconstitutional as they violate Article 12 as well as the Basic Structure of the Singapore Constitution.
  2. The amendment to the EPS, which reserves certain election cycles for racial groups, contravenes Article 12 of the Singapore Constitution. It deprives citizens the equal right to political participation and to stand for public office of the Elected Presidency, even if they possess the appropriate qualifications. The right to stand for the Elected Presidency should be no different from the right to participate in parliamentary elections – all citizens should be equal.
  3. Furthermore, the racial requirement in the upcoming reserved election and the hiatus -trigger status is discriminatory. Article 12(2) of the Constitution provides that “Except as expressly authorised by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens of Singapore on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in any law or in the appointment to any office or employment under a public authority…” The selection of the elected candidate should be based on merit; all other relevant requirements being fulfilled and withstanding.
  4. The EPS goes against the Basic Structure Doctrine as it violates the fundamental right of a citizen to stand for public office. The Basic Structure Doctrine provides that any constitutional amendment that goes against the basic structure or key tenets of the Constitution shall be deemed invalid.
  5. The Indian Supreme Court held in Kesavanda (1973) that “[a] constitutional amendment that sought to destroy the basic structure of the constitution would be beyond the power of parliament” and “could be struck down by the courts”. It further held that “every provision of the Constitution can be amended provided… [that] the basic foundation and structure of the Constitution remains the same”.
  6. The EPS and the related constitutional amendments significantly alter and change the very construct of the Singapore Constitution so framed and goes against the Basic Structure as an overarching parliamentary power, that mandated a constitutional amendment independently, separate from the other two organs of state. As such, this is also a breach of the rule of law which assumes a division of governmental powers or functions that inhibits the exercise of arbitrary state power.
  7. The rule of law remains a foundational principle in Singapore with the Constitution reigning as the supreme law of the land, by which the doctrines of separation of powers and basic structure are entrenched. The EPS thus deprives citizens of the fundamental equal right to stand for public office and promoting discrimination on the grounds of race and ethnicity.

Whilst I am hopeful that the High Court and the Court of Appeal may grant my application on my constitutional challenge, I should also prepare myself for adverse cost orders to be imposed against me for filing the application. Given the amendment to the Government Proceedings Act which allows the government to claim 2 or 3 sets of cost, I will need to raise a sum of $150,000 which is an estimate of potential costs as well as filing fees plus security of costs of $20,000 and other filing fees. I will share more on funding requirements as and when I find out more.

I will be also filing an application in two weeks in the London High Court (en route to New York) as a litigant-in-person to challenge the EPS in London for a serious derogation of the commitment given to the Malays, British Indian subjects and Chinese immigrants under the Reid Commission of 1954 to the right of equality to stand for elections regardless of race, language or religion, the same of which formed part of the 1963 Constitution of the Federation of Malaya which then formed part of the Republic of Singapore Independence Act of 1965.

There was a recent positive development in the London High Court, being a challenge by the Malaysian Indians for a determination on the issue of their discriminatory treatment in Malaysia. This action was filed by my friend, who was a former Minister and a fellow Malaysian Human Rights lawyer, Waytha Moorthy Ponnusamy.

The above estimated crowdfunding will include travel, boarding and miscellaneous expenses to London for me and my assistant. I will also require the services of a legal consultancy firm in London to handle PR and travel advisory plus coordination activities with English Barrister’s etc. ( at a discounted rate ).

I am in touch with some top English barristers who are willing to assist me in court pro bono whilst I argue the application as I am quite familiar with this complex area of law coupled with the Malaysian and Singapore constitutional history which arose in the case of Vellama Marie Muthu (Right to By-Elections).

An Application will also be filed by me as litigant in person this Friday in the Kuala Lumpur High Court at 2pm for a declaration that the EPS is unconstitutional to the extent that it breaches the Federation Agreement of Malaya of 1963 that the Malays would be granted special status to protect the Malay community and that all races would be treated equally under the fresh constitution of Singapore.

The above application is premised on the basis that had Malaysia and Tengku Abdul Rahman (the then Malaysian Prime Minister) known that equality of treatment for all races would be denied, Malaysia would not have granted independence to Singapore.

Please be clear that I’m doing this as part of my national service to the nation as it is my duty to defend the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore and I am doing this entirely pro bono just like the past constitutional applications with lots of love for my country and my people of Singapore.

Soon, I will be providing more information on the set up of my crowdfunding campaign and where and how you can donate and support. Any small or large help will be immensely beneficial. Contact me at to find out more.


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Your information will be kept securely
and as data privacy laws will be adhered
to, no commercial spamming will occur.

Copyright © 2019 | All Rights Reserved
No content on this website is to be used,
downloaded or replicated without permission.