Opinion: Mohamed Faizal Should Not Be Appointed Judicial Commissioner

Dear Editor,

I’m very concerned about this particular case: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/toc-terryxu-no-additional-jail-term-fine-3677711  given that the government’s DPP in this instance, a Mohamed Faizal has been nominated to serve as a high court judicial commissioner come next year.

Considering how the case was very politically motivated to begin with and the numerous instances where the Defence was impeded in conducting cross examination of witnesses, I’m unsure if relying on the less than satisfactory conduct of Mr Mohamed Faizal to be appointed judicial commissioner is safe and sound in this present climate, where Singaporeans expect there to be fairness and transparency in government dealings especially in the judicial branch.

The DPP has no track record to speak of and is only relying on the unsafe conviction of the 2 TOC editors to tout his background so to say. On hindsight, what the TOC editors wrote were not entirely untrue as Aedit Abdullah, J ruled on 4 May 23 that the duo did not defame cabinet as alleged but had merely insinuated that cabinet was incompetent under its watch and allowed corrupt practices to thrive as a result. The rest is history.

For this, the learned judge commuted their sentences to a fine as he found the lower court’s imposition of jail terms as manifestly excessive.

However, as 1 of the editors chose to commence his jail term early so as not to increase bail conditions and monies, the DPP took issue with his early opting of serving the jail term and requested that he now either pay the fine or serve 2 weeks in default again.

Fortunately, some logic eventually prevailed and the justice ruled that it would be inconceivable for the editor to be imprisoned again. Which remains the only point of contention, do we want such a DPP to become a high court judge and potentially extend the government’s will in the judiciary?

This will be a crucial test for all Singaporeans as we head to the polls on 1 Sept to elect a president who can reject and not rubber stamp the government’s recommendations for high court judges, if he considers the recommendations to be political rather than based on meritocracy. 

In any case, the government has been making making a mockery of our electoral system by requesting ruling party politicians to resign from key posts just to contest for the Istana. Are we going to endorse such a system or tell the government we do not approve of such political manoeuvres? Now is the time to vote for a candidate other than the government’s anointed senior minister.

Aidan Wang