Former Supreme Court judge Goh Joon Seng, who was a member of the Singapore’s Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA) for 13 years, passed away at age 86 on Tuesday (15 June) due to cancer.
Prior to his career in the judiciary, Mr Goh practiced law, starting in 1963 when he was called to the Bar. As senior partner at Goh Poh & Partners, he specialised in insurance and building cases.
He was appointed a Supreme Court judge in October 1990.
Post-retirement from the Bench, Mr Goh became a consultant to law firm Lee and Lee while continuing to serve the public.
He was one of the three members of the Commission of Inquiry set up to investigate the escape of Mas Selamat Kastari, formerly the leader of the Singapore arm of radical group Jemaah Islamiah, from the Whitley Road Detention Centre in 2008.
Mr Goh was central to the establishment of several mediation bodies in Singapore, having served as founding chairman of the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) and the former Consumer Mediation Unit, among others.
After six years on the SMC board, he stepped down from his chairman position in 2003.
He also served as chairman and director of the board of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and as chairman of the Criminal Law Advisory Committee (Hearing).
Further, Mr Goh represented Singapore on a number of important forums such as the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.
For his contributions, he was awarded the Public Service Star in the 2006 National Day Awards, as well as the Meritorious Service Medal in 2016.
President Halimah Yacob in a Facebook post yesterday said that Mr Goh had contributed immensely as a member of the CPA throughout his time of over a decade on the council.
“He was meticulous and known for his attention to details, and was often counted upon to provide the legal perspective to the issues at hand,” she wrote.
Mr Goh’s tenure in the CPA also coincided with a period when Singapore’s reserves protection framework was put to the test: First during the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, and then most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Mdm Halimah.
“On both occasions, Mr Goh and the CPA provided wise counsel on the proposals to draw upon our past reserves to manage the crises,” she said.
Mr Goh has also served on the Presidential Council for Religious Harmony, Mdm Halimah noted.
“My deepest condolences to the family of Mr Goh. He will be missed within the CPA,” she said.
Mr Goh’s funeral will be held on Monday.