Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Singapore Democrats, the newspaper of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party, www.yoursdp.org, of Sunday Sept 06, 2009, has this article "Judge fines Chee Soon Juan $10,000 for speaking in public". This is yet another disgraceful example of Singapore's strongman Lee Kuan Yew misusing the law to silence his political opponents, in this case, his favorite victim, Dr. Chee Soon Juan.
This misuse of the law by Singapore's courts is so shamelessly egregious, so incredible, so ridiculous and so blatant; as in the long litany of such misuse of the law in the island against political opponents; each time this is done, it is as if it is taken directly from the pages of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Nowhere else in the world can you see the law being so brazenly abused as here?
Dr. Chee Soon Juan the foremost opposition politician of Singapore and his colleagues had in the run up to the 2006 parliamentary elections in Singapore as part of his political campaign, distributed his party newspaper “The New Democrat” to the public and urged them to support his party at the impending elections. This is all that he did. He did not assault anyone, kill anyone or even as much as hurt a fly. To repeat again, all he did was to distribute his newspaper to the public and speak in favor of his political party. That's all.
Now, if you were from any other normal country in the world and if you were an ordinary human being you would not have even remotely imagined that Dr. Chee Soon Juan had committed any crime here.
But sorry, you are wrong. You are wrong because you are in Singapore. And in Singapore if you are a government critic, like Dr. Chee Soon Juan is, you will suddenly find that Singapore not only has some very strange laws, but that they will be used against you like a sledgehammer and you will be floored, silenced, imprisoned and bankrupted. Terrible calamity will befall you in Singapore if you dared to criticize Lee Kuan Yew and his government! Like in this story.
On Friday, Sept 04, 2009, in Singapore’s Subordinate Courts, Judge Thian Yee Sze, did what her job requires her to do in Singapore, which is not only punishing the regular law breakers but also persecuting Lee Kuan Yew's political opponents and thereby keep her job and advance her career. In this dirty work, which by the way is undertaken willingly by every other judge in that island, she convicted him of 2 counts under the strangely titled Public Entertainments and Meetings Act and fined him Singapore $10,000 or else 10 weeks in jail. And his "crimes" were, to remind you of the outrage of it all, selling his newspaper, the New Democrat and talking to the public!
Needless to say this is a disgraceful misuse of the law. In any other normal country, it is not a crime to sell a newspaper or talk to the public. And just for doing this in Singapore, this man is fined $10,000 and in default will have to spend 10 weeks in jail. Tell me what kind of crazy justice is this.
And what is worse, the irony is, Dr. Chee Soon Juan is in fact lawfully allowed to do this, under the Constitution of Singapore which guarantees him freedom of speech and expression. But by misusing the law, Lee Kuan Yew, has amended the Constitution thereby making completely innocuous acts such as this, punishable; which he can use as and when he needs to silence a political opponent.
Article 14 of the Constitution of Singapore specifically guarantees freedom of speech and expression. It says, Every Citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression/ every citizen has the right to assemble peacefully and without arms.
Everyone knows the Constitution is the supreme law of Singapore. It is what all other laws have to abide by. Any law that violates the constitution is by itself illegal and without force.
Having said this much, you would have thought that was the end of the matter. It is crystal clear Dr. Chee Soon Juan is not guilty. He had the right to speak freely and distribute his paper. He is protected by article 14.
Not so fast. You have Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s dictator to contend with. And what he did was to conveniently ignore the constitution altogether whenever an opposition politician has to be put away.
And this is how the dirty work is done. First, he prevents any other political party members to win at elections by rigging the vote or by suing and bankrupting them. In this way he makes sure that except for a couple of opposition members of parliament, the vast majority to the man are members of his political party. And with 2/3 majority in Parliament, which by the way he managed by fraud in the first place, he amends the Constitution to whittle down your rights.
And he does this by adding an addendum to the article which states that his Parliament can make laws to restrict your rights of freedom of speech and assembly. And immediately thereafter, he passes another law whose title makes no sense "the Public Entertainments and Meetings Act" which requires anyone to obtain a police permit before they can make any speech in public. This law which requires a permit is illegal on its face since it is in direct violation of your constitutional right of free speech! But since he had put into place that illegal amendment to the constitution which permits him to deny your rights; he denies you the right of free speech by this odd sounding Entertainments Act.
And what is worse, Dr. Chee Soon Juan did not provide any entertainment to anyone. Distributing a newspaper and talking to the public is surely not entertainment!
As if this is not bad enough, there is more to it. At this time, the police had been keeping surveillance over him at that particular location, on 10 separate occasions speaking and distributing the paper and therefore they charged him with 10 counts. Any lawyer will tell you that similar charges of this nature at the same transaction have to be tried together. That is one trial for the 10 charges in one courtroom.
Not so in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore when the job is to destroy an opposition politician. Lee Kuan Yew's judges had ruled, against common decency and general principles that Dr. Chee is to have 10 separate trials, the purpose of course is to repeatedly punish him against and again for the each count separately.
So what is happening is this. Dr. Chee is brought to trial for one charge involving the selling of the paper, for instance on Monday morning, for which he is sentenced to say 20 days in jail. After this trial is over, he is brought back to court again to be tried for what he did perhaps in Monday afternoon, for which he is again punished with perhaps a 30 day jail sentence. After this trial he is brought back to court again to be tried for what he did at that same location on Tuesday morning, and sentenced yet again, and so on and so on until the entire 10 charges have been dealt with and he is put away in jail repeatedly, again and again.
And all for distributing his political newspaper and telling people to vote for his party at the 2006 elections! And this is Singapore for you! A country that Lee Kuan Yew claims is a first world country. Surely these are not first world laws in Lee Kuan Yew’s “first world country”!
Recently Lee Kuan Yew's handpicked Minister for Law, K Shanmugam, on one of his grandiose wishful thinking sessions, proclaimed that he is going to make Singapore a legal hub where lawyers and judges and litigants from all over the world will concentrate for legal research, arbitration and what not. He hopes of course that none of those people will come to know the real state of justice in Singapore.
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