Non-practising lawyer M Ravi 2nd person to mount legal challenge against Elected Presidency scheme

Non-practising lawyer M Ravi has mounted a legal challenge against the changes recently passed to Singapore's Elected Presidency scheme, Todayonline reported on May 23, 2017. The polling is slated to start in September. 

Ravi filed an application in the High Court on May 22, arguing that reserving elections for particular races goes against the Constitution. He was the second person to do so, though his challenge was distinct from that by former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock.

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The application was made in the capacity of a private citizen but, Ravi said he will be arguing the case himself.

The High Court confirmed yesterday that it has received Mr Ravi’s application, though no date has been set for the next hearing of Mr Ravi’s application yet. 

Ravi’s challenge centres on the constitutionality of reserving election cycles for particular racial groups. This was one of the changes passed in November last year to ensure minority representation in the highest office in the land from time to time. Ravi argued that allowing a reserved election to be triggered when a minority race has not been elected President for five consecutive terms is “discriminatory.” This is because 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 human rights activist also contended that these changes violate the basic structure doctrine, a legal principle that holds that any constitutional amendment that goes against the key tenets of the Constitution shall be deemed invalid.

Earlier this month, Tan launched a legal challenge of a different aspect of the changes. He had intended to mount a second bid for the presidency before these changes were announced. 

Tan argued that there has not been a long enough hiatus to trigger a reserved election for the Malay community. He challenged the Attorney General's method of counting the number of elected presidential terms. Tan’s court application was scheduled for hearing sometime in late June.

Kareyst Lin
Kareyst Lin – Senior Correspondent

Kareyst has experience in writing about B2B technology for Computerworld Singapore, MIS Asia and CIO Asia; and on government technology for GCIO Asia. Her pet areas are artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and smart cities - these are fueled by her obsession with sci-fi movies and philosophy of mind. An active Yoga practitioner and cat lover, with a background in Indian philosophy, subaltern and diaspora studies.


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