Anwar Siraj and another v Attorney-General

JudgeQuentin Loh JC
Judgment Date08 February 2010
Neutral Citation[2010] SGHC 36
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Docket NumberOriginating Summons No 1213 of 2009
Published date11 February 2010
Hearing Date14 December 2009
Plaintiff Counsel1st and 2nd applicants in person
Defendant CounselLow Siew Ling and Tan En En (Attorney-General Chambers)
Subject MatterAdministrative Law
Citation[2010] SGHC 36
Quentin Loh JC:

The Plaintiffs in this Originating Summons, Mr Anwar Siraj (“Siraj”), and his wife, Ms Khoo Cheng Neo Norma (“Norma”, collectively, “the Plaintiffs”), are seeking leave under O 53 r 1, Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 2006 Rev Ed) (“ROC”), to apply for various mandatory orders against the police and the Senior District Judge. The application for leave was heard by me on 14 December 2009 at the end of which I dismissed the application. The Plaintiffs filed their appeal on 13 January 2010. Putting to one side the learned Attorney-General’s objections that the Plaintiffs’ request for me to hear further arguments are out of time under s 34(1)(c) of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322, 2007 Rev Ed) (“SCJA”) and O 56 r 2, ROC, I set out my full grounds for dismissing the Plaintiffs’ application for leave.

The Plaintiff's have asked for leave under O 53 to apply for the following mandatory orders: That the Police be compelled to obtain and provide to the Courts and the Plaintiffs the particulars, including full names, NRIC numbers or passport numbers and addresses of 5 male workers of Sysma Construction Pte Ltd and that one Ms Janis Tan, a secretary of AIMS Associates Pte Ltd; this was “…as ordered by the Honourable Magistrate Ms Wong Peck on 22 September 2004...” pursuant to Police Report Nos G/20030912/0163D and G/20030912/0162D and/or the Magistrates Complaints Nos COM-002184-04, COM-001081-04 and COM-002943-04; That the Police be compelled to explain why the investigations into the matter as ordered by the Honourable Magistrate Ms Wong Peck has taken so long, more than 5 years and 1 month and, if the investigations have been completed, be compelled to furnish their comprehensive report on the matter to both the Plaintiffs herein and the Courts; or in the alternative if the investigations have not yet been completed, be compelled to explain the reasons for the delay and be compelled to speedily complete their investigation followed by submission of their report as set out above; That the Senior District Judge or District Judge in charge of the Subordinate/Magistrates Courts be compelled to explain why only two of the three Magistrates Complaints made before the Honourable Magistrate Ms Wong Peck were forwarded to the Police for necessary action at the material time (on or about 22 September 2004) as ordered by the Magistrate; only one of the seven (7) persons alleged in the aforementioned Magistrates Complaints to have committed offences was summoned for a Hearing on 21 February 2005 and 23 February 2005 in the absence of the other six accused persons; and sometime on or about 26 August 2005 a complaint bearing Reference No. MAG-000262-05/C (CM-002282-05) was referred to the Bedok Police Division HQ for investigation and the relationship, if any, between this “complaint” and the three Magistrates Complaints made on 22 September 2004; That the Senior District Judge or District Judge in charge of the Subordinate/Magistrates Courts be compelled to furnish to the Plaintiffs herein and the Supreme Court any and all Police Investigation Reports and/or results of magistrate Complaints Nos COM-002184-04, COM-001081-04 and COM-002943-04 received by the Subordinate/Magistrates Courts to date; to report on the status of investigations and/or any further action to obtain particulars and investigate in respect of the third Magistrate Complain which was then not forwarded to the Police together with the first two Magistrates Complaints; That the Service and Inspectorate Division, Singapore Police Force be compelled to identify and provide particulars of the Divisional Police Officers who conducted the initial Police investigations, if any arising from Police Reports Nos G/20030912/0163D and G/20030912/0162D; and the Service and Inspectorate Division Officers who conducted the review of any purported investigation or work done by the Divisional Officers as set out at 5(i)(a) above; furnish to the Courts and the Plaintiffs herein their report on any and all investigations and particulars of Police personnel as described at item 5(i), (a) and (b) above; and explain the rationale and need to withhold information and/or to delay disclosure of particulars of police personnel despite being given full, adequate and sufficient justification of the need to furnish such details called for in the Plaintiff’s letters of 2 March 2009, 16 March 2009, 24 March 2009, 6 April 2009, 16 April 2009, 23 April 2009 and 4 May 2009; That the Commander “A” Division, Singapore Police Force be compelled to speedily complete their investigations into the Police Report No. A/20090125/2044 made on 25 January 2009 if investigations have still not yet been completed; OR, in the alternative if investigation have been completed to compel the Commander to furnish to the Plaintiffs herein and the Courts their comprehensive report of their investigations; and Such further Orders and direction that this Honourable Court deems fit and/or just.

The law is settled. The Court’s role under an O 53, r 1 application is to filter out groundless or hopeless cases at an early stage and to prevent a waste of judicial time and to protect public bodies from unnecessary harassment, whether intentional or otherwise: Public Service Commission v Lai Swee Lin Linda [2001] 1 SLR(R) 133 at [23]. This includes filtering out frivolous and vexatious cases. The applicant has to show an arguable or prima facie case of reasonable suspicion in favour of granting the public law remedy sought by the applicant: Chan Hiang Leng Colin v Minister for Information and the Arts [1996] 1 SLR(R) 294 and Lai Swee Lin Linda’s case. The burden on the applicant is thus not high.

The Facts

The Plaintiffs’ applications for mandatory orders arise from their misconceived and misguided views on the custody of exhibits brought before an arbitrator at a preliminary meeting.

The Plaintiffs entered into a construction contract on the SIA Form (“the Building Contract”), with a contractor (“the Contractor”), to demolish an existing one-storey building on their property and to construct a three-storey building with a basement and swimming pool. Disputes and differences arose between the Plaintiffs and the Contractor. The matter was referred to arbitration and, in accordance with their agreement to arbitrate, an arbitrator (“the Arbitrator”), was appointed by the President of the Singapore Institute of Architects as the parties could not agree upon an arbitrator.

At a preliminary hearing on 14 April 2003 at the Arbitrator’s office conference room, the Plaintiffs brought some exhibits, viz, two dismantled self priming (Hayward) swimming pool pumps, a dismantled DE 1½ hp Hayward filter, one queen-sized mattress stained by water ingress into the basement and a “bundle” or box of documents. After the hearing, the Plaintiffs refused to remove the exhibits. Even after the Arbitrator wrote a number of letters asking Mr G Raman, Norma’s lawyer, and Siraj, to remove the same, they steadfastly refused to do so. Mr Raman stated that it was Siraj who brought the exhibits to the preliminary hearing and not his client. The Plaintiffs’ stand was that these exhibits were also to be used at the hearing proper of the case and having incurred the cost of bringing these items to the preliminary meeting, they did not see why they had to move it only to have to bring it back again at the main hearing.

The Plaintiffs were clearly wrong. Parties who bring exhibits and documents before an arbitrator are obliged to remove these exhibits and documents when the hearing of that preliminary meeting or that tranche are over or completed. It is not the arbitrator’s duty to store these items pending the next hearing unless he agrees to do so.

The Arbitrator threatened to return the items. There was an unsuccessful attempt by the Arbitrator to return the exhibits on 12 September 2003. As a result, Siraj filed 2 police reports on 12 September 2003 against the Arbitrator’s secretary and four males who accompanied her, for disturbing the peace and causing anxiety and harassment to the Plaintiffs, and another police report against the Arbitrator for causing, engineering and/or aiding and abetting the disturbance of the peace and harassment of the Plaintiffs. It is telling that these two reports did not mention that the Arbitrator was trying to return the Sirajs’ exhibits; one of these reports merely said the aforementioned persons came in: “…a lorry loaded with various size [sic] card box boxes and other items…the said female and the other four males caused anxiety and harassment to the occupants of the premises by hovering at the gate of the private residence and climbing on the entrance culvert to peep into the premises.” (emphasis in the original report). These two reports were also misleading in context by alleging that all the articles “dumped” were in possession of the Arbitrator. Slightly more than 5½ months later, on or around 2 October 2003, the Arbitrator employed the contractor to take the exhibits and unload them in front of the Plaintiffs’ house. In his Affidavit filed on 27 October 2009, Siraj describes the earlier attempt and the return of the exhibits as follows:

67. Equipped with this private and priviledged [sic] information that both Mr Siraj and Ms Khoo were severely handicapped and/or on hospitalization leave, Mr John Ting [the Arbitrator] embarked on malicious, scandalous and oppressive acts of gangsterism and high handedness. Mr John Ting behaved like a mafia mastermind orchestrating a series of criminal acts to harass, intimidate and oppress Mr Siraj and Ms Khoo. It seems that Mr John Ting preferred to spend his time committing mischief and other criminal offences and cause grievous harm, damage and trauma than to...

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1 cases
  • Anwar Siraj v Teo Hee Lai Building Construction Pte Ltd
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 8 October 2013
    ...for leave to discharge himself. Most importantly, the Plaintiffs did not suffer any prejudice thereby: at [49] . Anwar Siraj v AG [2010] SGHC 36 (refd) Hong Kiat Construction Pte Ltd v Ngiam Benjamin [2009] SGHC 158 (folld) K/S Norjarl A/S v Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd [1992] QB 863 (re......
1 books & journal articles
  • Administrative and Constitutional Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2010, December 2010
    • 1 December 2010
    ...the performance of a public duty rather than to facilitate investigations for a plaintiff “s civil claim: Anwar Siraj v Attorney-General [2010] SGHC 36 (‘Anwar Siraj’). 1.13 The High Court in Yip Kok Seng v Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board [2010] 4 SLR 990 (‘Yip Kok Seng’) d......

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