Thursday, June 7, 2007

Singapore. The justification for civil disobedience and peaceful assembly

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For those who may question the lawfulness of peaceful protests and peaceful civil disobedience, this is what I say, and I believe, this is what is universally held to be true. Just because laws have been enacted, it does not always mean they are just laws. Dictatorships and tyrants around the world enact laws and edicts, not for justice but to crush any political opposition to their continued unjust rule. In such cases, these unjust laws, do not have justification or legal basis. They should not be followed. In fact, a true patriot would feel justified, indeed duty bound, to break that law.

Singapore is one such dictatorship where the rulers enact unjust laws, not for peaceful and lawful administration of the country but for the illegal purpose of crushing any legitimate opposition.

Singapore law makes it illegal for more than 5 people to congregate in public without a permit from the government. Such a law is unjust and without legal basis. There is no logical or rational reason why 5 or more people should not get together in public in a peaceful gathering. They are not harming anyone. No one is disadvantaged because more than 5 people have got together. As you can clearly see, the only reason why the Lee Kuan Yew administration have enacted such a law is because they do not want you to engage in a peaceful protest against their rule in public. This law is entirely politically motivated. There is no other basis for this law. This is a law which can clearly be disobeyed, both under the concept of natural law, and because it has no legitimacy what soever.

Another law which is clearly unjustified is the House to House Street Collections Act which makes it an offense to receive donations from the public. There is no reason why someone asking money from the public for a legitimate cause should have to apply for a permit from the government before doing so. A political organization or political activists require money to print leaflets for distribution to the general public on their agenda; they may have to travel from place to place needing money for transportation and other legitimate expenses. There is no logical or rational reason why such an activist should require a permit before asking the public for financial donations. The donor in these cases willingly gives his money. There is no coercion or fraud whatsoever. Why then does the law require a permit before one engages in this activity? The answer can only be, that Lee Kuan Yew does not want his opponents to get any funding to be used in opposition to his rule. Such a law is illegal and without any lawful basis.

Public speaking requires a permit. Can anyone see any legitimate lawful basis for such a law? I certainly cannot. One is not harming anyone by speaking in public! Dr. Chee has been repeatedly been charged and convicted under such an unjust law. Anyone can see why Lee has such a law in place. It is to prevent anyone in opposition to him and his PAP government from being able to speak publicly to Singaporeans on why this government is unjust and tyrannical. Such a law, without any legal or moral basis is not legitimate. It therefore can and should be broken.

News material and other printed matter to be distributed publicly requires a permit from the government declaring it a newspaper before it may be disseminated publicity. Why such a law? Why should I not, with my money, print news material in news print and sell it to passers by. I am not doing any damage to anyone else by giving or selling what I write publicly. Such an activity is legal and should not require a government permit anywhere else. Not in Singapore! Why? The Lee Administration does not want anyone writing anything that is critical against Lee Kuan Yew and his government. This is not a just law. It is enacted for a political purpose, to prevent the opposition from publicising their viewpoint. This is another law that should be deliberately broken.

It seems to me totally unacceptable for the Lee Administration to impose such laws on law abiding citizens of Singapore. And Singaporeans must see that as taxpayers, and citizens, it is your money that goes to pay the salaries of these government politicians. What right do they have to say that you cannot peacefully assemble, peacefully distribute leaflets in public, peacefully give speeches in the public without first obtaining a permit from Lee and his government! Totally unacceptable.

I am not suggesting for one moment that you should break any law that you disagree with. Most laws are just and must be followed. For example, no one can argue that there should not be criminal penalties for theft. But why should one have a permit for 5 people to assemble together in public?

As long as you can see that many of the laws are put in place not for reasons of justice but to stifle political opposition, you should feel both the right and the duty to disobey such laws.

At present there are so many glaring injustices crying out for protest and peaceful assembly. One of the most egregious is the Prime Minster paying himself $10,000.00 per day when the poor have to live on less than $300.00 per month, resulting in not being able to afford 3 meals a day! And everyone has seen the total insensitivity of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. You will recall that immediately after paying themselves humongous salary increases, they appeared on TV dancing the twist! As if to mock the poor in Singapore even further, to rub salt in their wounds, since many poor people live on $300.00 per month. Has anyone asked the government why they found it necessary to dance publicly? Are they politicians or entertainers?

I suggest that you and other like minded responsible citizens should print leaflets and distribute them publicly explaining the injustices that this Lee Administration perpetrates, collecting money from the public while distributing leaflets to defray printing and other costs. I suggest such public distribution of leaflets be done on a massive scale throughout the island. As you will receive donations while doing so, the money can be used to print more leaflets. You should also assemble deliberately with more than 5 persons and make speeches. You should do everything that the law prevents you from doing, unjust laws that is.

I have no doubt in your succeeding in this endeavour because when you commence in such activity, others will join. In numbers you become stronger. It is not possible or practical for the government to arrest and prosecute each and everyone of you. I think this is what the government is afraid of, and this is exactly what you should do.

In this confrontation with an unjust government, everyone can see that the truth is on your side. That is why there is only one winner. That is you. And that is why the government is so afraid. And that is why I ask that you seize this opportunity. You cannot fail.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

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