Closed-door hearing for challenge against Singapore’s US$4b IMF loan
SINGAPORE, Aug 22 — Reform Party secretary-general Kenneth Jeyaretnam’s legal bid to stop Singapore’s US$4 billion (RM12.4 billion) pledge to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be heard by a judge on September 12.
Local television Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reported that the date has been set for a leave hearing in chambers, where the judge will decide if the case should proceed to open court.
In April, Singapore made the pledge to bolster the IMF’s war chest, to tackle the ongoing euro zone debt crisis.
CNA reported that Jeyaretnam filed an application for a quashing order against the loan on July 6. He contends that the loan violates the constitution under Article 144, as no prior approval for the pledge was sought in Parliament or from the President.
Among other things, Article 144 states that “no guarantee or loan shall be given or raised by the Government except under the authority of any resolution of Parliament with which the President concurs”.
According to CNA, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) had previously responded to the issue, stating that Article 144 “does not apply to lending by Government” but “prevents the Government from borrowing without the authority of Parliament and the President’s concurrence”.
An affidavit filed by the Attorney-General states that the loan will be part of Singapore’s Official Foreign Reserves (OFR), which is managed by the MAS.
It added that should the loan be drawn, there will be no change to Singapore’s OFR as it will be a conversion from one asset form to another, and will be repaid by the IMF.
It reiterated that the government did not extend the loan commitment, and neither will it come from the government’s budget. — Bernama