This paper critically analyses the decision of the Singapore Court of Appeal in Yong Vui Kong v Attorney-General in relation to presidential pardon. Two questions were central to the case. First, is the President bound by the decision of the Cabinet in pardon-related matters? Secondly, are decisions regarding pardon—whether made by the Cabinet or President—subject to judicial review? In relation to the first question, the Court based its reasoning on Singapore's political system being a Westminster-inspired model and, therefore, that the President generally undertakes the same functions as the British monarch. However, this paper identifies the unique features of Singapore's presidency, and argues that the British model does not act as an adequate starting point with regard to the issue of discretion. With regard to the second question, the Court of Appeal held that decisions on pardons are subject to judicial review not on their merits, but only in relation to procedural inadequacies. The paper, however, suggests that the Court's conclusions are inconsistent: either decisions to grant or refuse pardons can be reviewed on their merits, or the suggested grounds of review must be revised.
Singapore, President, pardon, discretion, judicial review
Asian Studies | Common Law | President/Executive Department
Law, Society and Governance
Common Law World Review
Presidential Pardon in Singapore: A Comment on Yong Vui Kong v AG. (2013). Common Law World Review. 42, (1), 48-60. Research Collection School Of Law.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/sol_research/1243