CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE The Constitution of the Republic of Singapore is the supreme law for Singapore. It is a written constitution which took effect on 9 August 1965 and was derived from the Constitution of the State of Singapore 1963, provisions of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia made applicable to Singapore by the Republic of Singapore Independence Act 1965 (No. 9 of 1965, 1985 Rev. Ed.), and the Republic of Singapore Independence Act itself. Singapore inherited the Common Law system. Singapore’s legal system closely resembles the English legal system in term of methodology, style of legal thought/reasoning, structure of legal institution and doctrines of legal classification and procedures. Some Definition of meaning in the constitution Meaning of Constitution A constitution is the system of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed, and it is also the Rule of Law. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is. When these principles are written down into a single document or set of legal documents, those documents may be said to embody a written constitution. Constitutionalism has been “concerned with curbing oppressive government and preserving individual freedom while retaining a realm for the exercise of legitimate governmental power”. A constitution can therefore be described as “the fundamental and organic law of a nation or state, establishing the conception, character, and organization of its government, as well as prescribing the extent of its sovereign power and the manner of its exercise”, or a specific statute containing provisions that serve those purposes Meaning of Rule of Law The rule of law is the principle that law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by decisions of individual government officials. It primarily refers to the influence and authority of law within society, particularly as a constraint upon behavior, including behavior of government officials. The Rule of law implies that every person is subject to the law, including people who are lawmakers, law enforcement officials, and judgesConstitutional law is a body of law which defines the role, powers, and structure of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the parliament or legislature, and the judiciary; as well as the basic rights of citizens Separation of power The state needs laws for it to function, and this results in the creation of three distinct powers: one to create laws (the legislature), one to execute the laws (executive), and one to ensure that the rules are being followed (judiciary). Each branch of government has its own set of functions and hence the power that is available for each branch to wield is different as well. Even though this power to govern the society has already been divided into the three branches, the idea of constitutionalism implies “a commitment towards regularized legal restraints on power in the form of inter- and intra-institutional checks and balances and legal procedure. The origins of the separation of powers in Singapore lie in the Westminster constitutional model inherited from the United Kingdom during its colonial past, first as part of the Straits Settlements, and then as an independent nation. The separation of powers doctrine in Singapore is not absolute but qualified; it is not pure but partial with executive drawn from the legislature and the President sit on both Executive and Legislature. The English influence on Singapore’s governmental system is visibly strong, though Singapore’s system fundamentally differs from that of the United Kingdom as it is unicameral. Singapore’s take on the separation of powers is greatly informed by its unique values and legal culture Executive – It is the group or organization that exercising authority in enforcing and maintaining the law for the state. They execute and enforces law but does not pass laws (legislature) or interpret them (judiciary). Instead, the executive enforces the law as written by the legislature and interpreted by the judiciary. Singapore Executive are drawn from the Elected members of Parliament Legislature – This made up of the President, the Elected Member of Parliament, the Non-Constituency members of parliament (NCMPs) and Nominated members of parliament (NMPs).. NCMPs enjoy the same privileges and immunities as elected Members, but they cannot vote on a bill to amend the Constitution; a supply, supplementary or final supply bill; a money bill, a voteof no confidence in the Government or a motion for the removal of the President from office. . They are the primary law-making body The President plays a minor but important, role in the process. There is only one chamber and no upper house. Judiciary – Court System that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. Generally, it does not make law or enforce law, but rather it interprets law and applies it to the facts of each case. However, the judiciary does make common law, setting precedent for other courts to follow. Inter-branch checks – The office of the Elected President of Singapore represents an indigenization of the Westminster system of government and is cast as a check against the powers enjoyed by the parliamentary executive, adding to the overall scheme of checks and balances in the doctrine of separation of powers. However, the office of the elected president has a limited range of functions and is essentially reactive in nature. The President has was no political power but the president have power to block attempts by the Government to draw down past reserves it did not accumulate, to approve changes to key appointments, and to exercise oversight over the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau and decisions of the executive under the ISA and the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act with the advice from the Presidential Council for Minority Rights (“PCMR”) can be seen as a quasi-second chamber as it plays a role in legislative review, highlighting bills containing measures that discriminate against racial and religious minorities. Thus, it plays a role in the separation of powers by acting as a check upon the executive and legislature. The aim is not to enable the President to target unlawful executive actions, but lawful actions against national interests. Article 9 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore: specifically Article 9(1), guarantees the right to life and the right to personal liberty. The Court of Appeal has called the right to life the most basic of human rights, but has yet to fully define the term in the Constitution. the Court of Appeal held that such fundamental rules of natural justice embodied in the Constitution are the same in nature and function as common law rules of natural justice in administrative law, except that they operate at different levels of the legal order. In Yong Vui Kong V Public Prosecutor 2015 SGCA 11 on the subject that is canning a torture? Does caning constitute a deprivation of “life or personal liberty”? Sundaresh Menon CJ (delivering the judgment of the court) explain about Article 9(1) in the judgment (para 13 to 15)13 In order for Art 9(1) to be engaged at all, caning must involve a deprivation of “life or personal liberty”. The Appellant submits that caning does involve a deprivation of personal liberty because it is administered on a prisoner while he is physically restrained. On the other hand, the Respondent contends that the words “deprivation of … personal liberty” in Art 9(1) refer only to unlawful incarceration or detention. The physical restraint of a prisoner while he is being caned does not count as a deprivation of personal liberty because that is not the primary object of caning but is an incidental aspect of its administration.14 Before we consider the construction of these words “life or personal liberty”, it is helpful to note two key features of Art 9(1) which are apparent on a plain reading. First, it prohibits the State from unlawfully depriving an individual of his life or personal liberty, but does not impose any duty on the State to take affirmative measures to facilitate or promote a person’s enjoyment of his life and personal liberty. Second, Art 9(1) contemplates that the State may deprive an individual of, or intrude upon, rights that are within the ambit of “life and liberty” but only in accordance with law. Thus, the provision seeks to ensure that any such deprivations or intrusions are authorized by and comply with “law”. The word “law” includes legislative enactments: Art 2(1) of the Constitution. Therefore, even assuming that a particular right falls within the ambit of the words “life and personal liberty”, that does not preclude Parliament from depriving a person of that right by way of a validly enacted law. In order to challenge such an enactment, a litigant must not only show that it deprives or threatens to deprive him of his right to life and personal liberty; he must go further and establish that the enactment is void and/or inconsistent with another law that takes precedence over it.15 In sum, the object and purpose of Art 9(1) is to ensure that the Government acts in accordance with valid laws when depriving a person of his life or personal liberty. In these circumstances, it might be thought surprising if Art 9(1) protected a person only from unlawful execution, incarceration, or detention. Such a parsimonious reading would mean that there is no constitutional safeguard against other forms of criminal punishment that entail improper interference with a person’s bodily integrity or personal liberty.Article 9(2) of the Constitution states the right of persons who have been detained to apply to the High Court challenging the legality of their detention. The application is for an order for review of detention, which was formerly called a writ of habeas corpus. The Court is required to inquire into the complaint and order the detainee to be produced before the Court and released unless it is satisfied that the detention is lawful. The case of Tan Seet Eng V Attorney-General and other matter 2015 SGCA 59 that despite that the subject is detain under s 30 of the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act (Cap 67, 2000 Rev Ed) (“the CLTPA”). An appeal was file and the court of appeal accepted the case and look into the case and freed on after the court conclude and free him at court. Sundaresh Menon CJ (delivering the judgment of the court): wrote the following (Para 148- 150) 148 We therefore hold that the Appellant’s detention was unlawful because it was beyond the scope of the power vested in the Minister, which was to detain persons in the circumstances where activities of a sufficiently serious criminal nature threatened to or did undermine public safety, peace or good order in Singapore. Conclusion 149 For these reasons, we allow the appeal. The conclusion we have reached makes it unnecessary for us to deal with two other grounds of challenge raised by the Appellant, namely, irrationality and procedural irregularity. As to the argument on irrationality, this raises a number of difficult questions including the proper limits of illegality and irrationality which we have touched on above at 80. In any case, the central contention even in this part of the Appellant’s case rests on the argument that the detention could not be justified because there was nothing to suggest a threat to public safety, peace or public order in Singapore. As it was not necessary for us to reach these issues, we leave them for another occasion. 150 It follows that the Appellant should be freed and the costs order made against him below should be set aside. We will hear the parties on any other issues that remain outstanding, including the question of costs.Article 9(3) of the Constitution states that an arrested person must be allowed to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice and requires that an arrested person be informed “as soon as may be” of the grounds of his arrest. In Tan Chor Jin V Public Prosecutor 2008 4 SLR 206; 2008 SGCA 32 V K Rajah JA (delivering the grounds of decision of the court) Wrote on (para 48 – 49) on the right of counsel48 Dealing, first, with Tan’s right to counsel, the argument made by Mr Anandan was that the Judge should have suggested to Tan that he use state-assigned counsel to assist him with his closing submissions. The failure of the Judge to do this, combined with the other two aspects of alleged procedural unfairness (viz, the conditions of remand which Tan faced and the Judge’s decision not to visit the crime scene despite Tan’s request that he do so (see 2 above)), meant that a retrial was necessary.The context in which Tan’s right to counsel arose49 It is important to make clear from the outset the context in which Tan made his request for a lawyer. Several points need to be borne in mind, namely:(a) Tan made this request only after both the Prosecution and the Defence (ie, Tan himself) had completed the examination of witnesses, ie, only closing submissions were due by the time the request was made;(b) Tan had confirmed at least twice before the trial that he did not want a lawyer, and he confirmed this again twice on the first day of the trial; and(c) Tan had chosen to discharge his counsel before the preliminary inquiry as he claimed that counsel would be unable to assist him. Article 9(4) of the Constitution states that the arrested person is not released he must, without unreasonable delay, and in any case within 48 hours (excluding the time of any necessary journey) be produced before a magistrate and cannot be further detained in custody without the authority of the magistrate. The person’s attendance before the magistrate may be in person or by way of video-conferencing or other similar technology in accordance with law. In Yan Jun V Attorney- General 2013 SGHC 245 by Justice Woo Bih Li explain and strike out the claim in (Para 65-68)65 Referring to Art 9(4) of the Constitution, the Plaintiff suggested that once he was arrested, he must be brought before a magistrate within 24 hours of his arrest, even though he had been released before the 24 hours was up. Art 9(4) states:Where a person is arrested and not released, he shall, without unreasonable delay, and in any case within 48 hours (excluding the time of any necessary journey), be produced before a Magistrate, in person or by way of video-conferencing link (or other similar technology) in accordance with law and shall not be further detained in custody without the Magistrate’s authority.66 The Plaintiff did not make it clear whether the Plaintiff’s claim about a breach of his constitutional right under Art 9(4) was a separate cause of action or part of his claim for malicious prosecution or abuse of process or false imprisonment. If he ought to have been brought before a magistrate within 24 hours of his arrest, even though he had been released earlier, that would be part of his claim for false imprisonment and not a separate cause of action.67 In any event, it was clear to me that he had misread Art 9(4). That provision requires the relevant authority to produce a person who is arrested before a magistrate within 48 hours from the time of his arrest if he has not been released by then. The point about requiring the authority to produce him before a magistrate is so that he shall not be further detained without the magistrate’s authority. Once he has already been released before the 48 hours are up, the provision ceases to apply. Article 9(5) of the Constitution State that an enemy alien or to any person arrested for contempt of Parliament pursuant to a warrant issued under the hand of the Speaker will not be covered by Clause (3) and Clause (4). Article 9(6) of the Constitution State that any person detent under the below two Act, namely; Detention under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act and the Misuse of Drugs Act by reason of such law being inconsistent with clauses (3) and (4), and, in particular, nothing in this Article shall affect the validity or operation of any such law before 10th March 1978. As Preventive detention is the use of executive power to detain individuals on the basis that they are predicted to commit future crimes that will threaten national interest. Among other things, the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act empowers the Minister for Home Affairs, if satisfied that a person has been associated with activities of a criminal nature, to order that he or she bedetained for a period not exceeding 12 months if the Minister is of the view that the detention is necessary in the interests of public safety, peace, and good order. Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, the Director of the Central Narcotics Bureau may order drug addicts to undergo drug treatment or rehabilitation at an approved institution for renewable six-month periods up to a maximum of three years.