Deputy Attorney-General-designate Hri Kumar Nair is no longer a member of the People’s Action Party (PAP), the party said on Friday (Feb 17) in response to TODAY’s queries, although it declined to say when Mr Nair had resigned.
Mr Nair’s appointment, which will take effect next month, was announced on Thursday.
It marks the first time an ex-lawmaker will take on the State’s prosecutorial function.
As a lawyer, Mr Nair, 50, acted in a wide range of litigation and arbitration matters.
He was appointed Senior Counsel in 2008. He became Member of Parliament for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC in 2006 and later headed the Government Parliamentary Committees for Home Affairs and Law.
He served two terms before quitting politics just before the 2015 General Election, citing his wife’s diagnosis of lymphoma in 2012, which made him relook his priorities.
Lawyers and legal academics dismissed concerns about partisanship as insignificant.
However, lawyer Sylvia Lim, who is also chairman of the opposition Workers’ Party — which has been criticised by Mr Nair on several occasions, including over the financial management lapses by the WP-run Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council — called the appointment “not ideal”.
She added: “It is critical that persons entrusted with vast prosecutorial discretion act in the public interest, and not for partisan political gain … Whether my concerns prove to be founded or otherwise — remains to be seen”.
Mr Nair could not be reached for comments. During his term as an MP, Mr Nair spoke on several issues and had several run-ins with the WP, including over the financial management lapses by the WP-run Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council.