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Newly appointed Returning Officer’s perceived fairness marred by past controversy in AHPETC allegations and Ridout Road Saga

Questions loom over the fairness of newly appointed Returning Officer Mr Han Kok Juan due to past AHPETC controversy and the Ridout Road saga.



Yesterday, the Election Department announced the appointment of Mr Han Kok Juan, the Director-General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), as the new Returning Officer for the nation’s elections, effective April 1.

This appointment means Mr Han will oversee the upcoming General Election, which is speculated to possibly occur as early as June this year, although the deadline is not until November 2025.

Before his tenure as Director General of CAAS in August 2021, Mr Han served as Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Senior Deputy Director-General at CAAS. Additionally, he held positions as Deputy Director at the Ministry of Health and Director (Social Programmes) at the Ministry of Finance.

Interestingly, in 2015, Mr Han was the Senior Director (Housing) at the Ministry of National Development (MND), where he played a significant role in the MND’s series of allegations against Aljunied Hougang Punggol East Town Council (APHETC) and its town councillors.

These allegations, concerning the profiteering of contractors, led to a special audit by the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO), the appointment of independent accountants and an independent panel, and ultimately, the lawsuit against leaders of the Workers’ Party in 2017. However, the Court of Appeal eventually dismissed the majority of these allegations in 2022, but not before having the WP leaders incur millions of legal fees.

In his 2015 letter, Mr Han alleged gross profiteering by FM Solutions & Services (FMSS) at the expense of AHPETC. Contrary to his claims, the Court of Appeal concluded in 2022 that neither the town councillors nor the employees owed fiduciary duties to AHTC or Sengkang Town Council, which held the previous Punggol East SMC, ruling that they had acted in good faith in awarding contracts without an open tender.

Mr Han’s intriguing past extends further; he was involved in the recent Ridout Road saga, concerning the rental of colonial properties by Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam and Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan.

As the Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Law in January 2017, Mr Han provided the Law Minister with a list of public properties available for rent. From this list, 26 Ridout Road was selected—a property not accessible to the general public due to its condition.

Despite questions about the appropriateness of this approach during a parliamentary session, Mr Shanmugam defended it, stating that Mr Han would typically inform the permanent secretary, who, along with the senior admin service officers, could escalate any concerns to the Head of Civil Service or the Prime Minister.

However, no issues were apparently raised until the matter became public through a blog post by Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam, Reform Party’s Secretary General, followed by the issuance of ministerial statements in response.

Besides announcing polling dates and election results, it’s important to note the new powers granted to the Returning Officer through last year’s amendments to the Presidential Election Act and Parliamentary Election Act.

These amendments empower the Returning Officer to direct content publishers, including individuals and social media companies, to remove election advertising and restrict access to such content for Singaporean users.

Given Mr Han’s history, there is room for speculation regarding how he will exercise the new powers granted to him and perform the duties in the upcoming General Election.

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Just another PAP lap dog ready to bark at the master’s command for a leftover. A man without dignity.

Don’t blame the Returning Officer, blame the voters.

Just don’t leave your voting slips blank. Someone will vote on your behalf, during counting!

Spoilt votes go to the PAP, remember!

No matter HOW MANY KAKI LANG the PAP appoints for the coming election, it makes no difference to the outcome if the majority of voters STILL VOTE FOR PAP. You can get real monkeys to act as Reporting office and the result is still the same , every election, the PAP wins. Perphaps you oppo had been monkeying around and still cannot understand the logic of….ONE PERSON ONE VOTE ! Perphaps you oppo need to get a few hundred thousands monkeys to vote this election. But hey….don’t after that still make hellva noise cos the monkeys you brought in to… Read more »

Boot licker has no choice but to carry out the tasks and to take it as their kpi if you want to continue enjoying taxpayers’ money and to be elevated into the establishment whether you are principled or not.

Seriously what’s the point of discrediting this guy who has little bearing of the election outcome rather than mere reporting. Can oppies be smarter, what do we gain from such an article beside showing ungracious mentality? This may only make the hardcore oppies happy but is just a small portion of the whole population. How to win election battle? think of how to gain the support from the fence sitter, the young voters…and we all know the strategy of stirring dislike and hate sentiments to the establishment doesn’t work. Controversial articles like this will only repel voters away, as people… Read more »

It’s perverse, preternatural and plain nauseous to expect any position or role/s involved in the city state’s elections, … to be helmed by integrity, fairness and equitability.

C’mon, need I remind folks on the island, whom are singaporelarly forgetful, regarding the “inside is not within” nonsense, … that is a testament to the skewed judiciary, gutter politics and abuse of position and privileges, … which is the ultimate signature of this regime’s stance on politics and elections on the “bubbled” island !!!

A dog is always loyal to his master …
How loyal is a well-fed one?

Can article be more accurate and not intentionally omitted facts to make arguments look supported. Non factual article is opened to be pofma and it doesn’t look good and impacting credibility. For the AHPETC I thought the final court of appeal outcome is the defence is liable to pay the 33 mil short fall due to mishandling, and not they are found to be done on good faith and clear of penalty and only need to pay the legal fees? Reader are not ignorant. After reading this, I don’t even know how truthful is this guy involved in the Ridout… Read more »

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EIGHT town councils (TC) run by the People’s Action Party have about $16 million invested in troubled structured products. The lion’s share of $12 million is from two TCs: Holland-Bukit Panjang ($8 million) and Pasir Ris-Punggol ($4 million). The products include Minibonds linked to bankrupt US investment bank Lehman Brothers and the now worthless Merrill Lynch Jubilee Series 3 LinkEarner Notes. Dr Teo Ho Pin, chairman of the Holland-Bukit Panjang TC as well as coordinating chairman for the 14 PAP town councils, disclosed this yesterday. Earlier in Parliament, Senior Minister of State (National Development) Grace Fu identified the two TCs… Read more »

Listening to the Systems talking ……

So, if PAP loses any General Elections, and another political party is in Government,
these are the people that the new Government has to work with.

Smooth relation..?
Will concur with new Government policies..??


Throw some screws into the wheels…?
Inform the PAP of the meetings..??

Work for PAP or work for the Government.. aka the people..??
These people, and I am sure there is more than 10,000 of them.. must be
reminded who pays their salaries..

It is clear that under the Kayu Son reign, balls carrying has become the norm. So much for SG meritocracy. Should list the actual achievements of this guy for SG, instead of telling how he climbed the corporate ladder.

(Btw, CAAS director-general – does that mean he was appointed by Loong after kicking out his brother LHY? Like current AG appointed over the preceding AG even though the latter was younger?)

Ownself check ownself! Did he lived in a kampong previously?

So it’s PAP servants or servants to serve Singaporeans?

What is it that is so bloody beyond one’s wildest imagination this PAP Administration WON’T STEP up to achieve?

and I’m sure he knows what to do …

Always reward a good dog. Roll over han!

Another One like the AG? This action shows the mind of the ruling party caught in the last century. The appointment should have been of someone not related to the PAP in anyway. Couldn’t it have been from the private sector or is there a need for only PAP cronies?

Wah…good job leh…so fast CSI all the ‘past deeds’ of this fella.
But like I always said, no matter who is the returning officer appointed in the GE..
The outcome was and had always been determined as to HOW YOU LOW SES LOCAL SINKIE VOTED!
And who is to be blamed if the incumbent had always been the winner and has that MANDATE in every election?