The Workers’ Party (WP) run Sengkang Town Council (SKTC) announced on Tuesday (8 September) that an Independent Panel was appointed to make all decisions relating to the pending appeals, involving Pasir-Ris Punggol Town Council (PRPTC) from various court decisions, which will be transferred to SKTC on 28 Oct this year.
The Independent Panel comprising of three distinguished persons, namely Mr Kenneth Tan Senior Counsel, Mr Lok Vi Ming Senior Counsel and Dr Kevin Tan, were appointed on 5 Sept under section 32(2) of the Town Councils Act.
According to SKTC, Mr Kenneth Tan was graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS) with 1st Class Honours and was among the first batch of Senior Counsel appointed in 1997.
Mr Lok, who is also a Senior Counsel, has served as President of the Law Society of Singapore in 2013 and 2014.
While for Dr Kevin Tan, he is an Adjunct Professor at the Law Faculty of NUS and is a noted public law scholar.
Noting that the Independent Panel will act “independently and impartially in the best interests of SKTC” at all times, SKTC said the members have agreed to “receive no remuneration for their services”.
“The appointment of the Independent Panel is in furtherance of the SKTC’s previous public statement that it is fully committed to ensuring that all decisions taken in relation to the management of the Appeals are fair, transparent and in accordance with the law,” it noted.
SKTC also expressed appreciation and gratitude to the members of panel for agreeing to take up their respective appointments.
On 22 July, the Ministry of National Development (MND) revealed that the management of a lawsuit commenced by the PRPTC will be handed over to the SKTC as the former Punggol East SMC has become a part of Sengkang GRC, after the WP’s team won in the recent general election.
The lawsuit was initiated by PRPTC against WP chairman Sylvia Lim, former party chief Low Thia Khiang and six other defendants in the High Court. It came after the WP-run Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) had taken the same defendants to court.
Initially, Punggol East was handled by AHTC from 2013 to 2015. However, in GE2015, the People’s Action Party (PAP) won back the constituency. In GE2020, the electoral boundaries were redrawn and Punggol East became part of Sengkang GRC.
PRPTC and the WP town councillors are appealing against a High Court decision which ruled, among other things, that Ms Lim and Mr Low had breached their fiduciary duties to the town council.
In response to the handover of lawsuit, the MP for Sengkang GRC He Ting Ru on 24 July said the SKTC will ensure that “all decisions taken in relation to the management of the ongoing lawsuit are fair, transparent and in accordance with the law”.
Earlier, The Straits Times reported that the appeal hearing involving AHTC has been postponed as the SKTC on 10 Aug had requested for a six-week adjournment to allow for “sufficient time” to consider its legal position on the case.
In the letter written by Ms He to the Supreme Court Registry, she said that the outcome of the appeal hearing and any judgment of the Court of Appeal “will bind SKTC and, therefore, ultimately affect the residents of Sengkang whose interests we must safeguard”.
“We consider it prudent to obtain legal advice relating to the steps SKTC ought to take (if any) including whether to file an application for intervention and if so, the legal position to take,” she added.