Sylvia Lim on new Deputy Attorney General: ‘The appointment of a former PAP MP to such a post is not ideal’

Hri Kumar will be the first former politician holding the role.

By Martino Tan | February 17, 2017

Hri Kumar Nair, Drew & Napier director and former People’s Action Party (PAP) MP, has been appointed Deputy Attorney-General (AG) for a term of three years, effective March 1, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) announced on Thursday (Feb. 16).

But Opposition MP and Workers’ Party (WP) chairman Sylvia Lim thinks such an appointment is not ideal, as Hri Kumar is a former politician from the ruling party.

Hri Kumar served as MP for the Bishan-Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency from 2006 to 2015.

Lim’s frustration probably increased when she was told that her comments would not be published by a local paper “due to lack of space”.

And since has no such problems with space, below is her full comment:

PMO has announced that Mr Hri Kumar, former PAP MP, will be appointed Deputy Attorney-General with effect from March 2017.

I was asked by a local paper whether I had any concerns about partisanship, given that Mr Kumar was such a strong critic of AHPETC, our WP-run Town Council.

I gave my response as follows (which I was just told would not be published due to lack of space):
“It is critical that persons entrusted with vast prosecutorial discretion act in the public interest, and not for partisan political gain. The appointment of a former PAP MP to such a post is not ideal. Whether my concerns prove to be founded or otherwise — remains to be seen”.

Another issue Lim pointed out in her earlier Facebook post was that unlike the US system, Singapore does not need Parliamentary approval of key public appointments such as the AG, so long as the President concurs with the advice of the Prime Minister and the Council of Presidential Advisors.


Hri Kumar’s distinguished legal career

Hri Kumar was appointed Senior Counsel, Singapore’s equivalent to Britain’s Queen’s Counsel, in 2008 and has more than 25 years of experience as a lawyer.

According to the statement by PMO:

Hri Kumar “has acted in a wide range of litigation and arbitration matters for major international and local companies and financial institutions. He has also advised on regulatory issues and led teams to investigate fraud and other issues which have arisen in both private and listed companies”.


But he will be the first politician appointed in the Attorney-General’s Chambers

There are no former politicians who became AGs since Singapore’s independence.

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

This will not change with Hri Kumar’s appointment as he is the Deputy AG.

But he will be the first former politician to play the role of upholding the rule of law in Singapore.


Top photo is a composite photo of Sylvia Lim by Pandora Wong and a photo from Hri Kumar FB page

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About Martino Tan

Martino’s parents named him after an Italian priest, Vatican's 1st ambassador to S’pore. He's inspired by the lives of Robert Kennedy & D. Bonhoeffer, the words of G.Orwell & T.Sorensen, & the music of the Beatles.

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