Monday, March 10, 2008

Remember to protest on Saturday March 15, 2008 outside Parliment House

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dr. Chee Soon Juan of the Singapore Democratic Party has thrown down the gauntlet to the Lee Kuan Yew Administration. He is going to hold a protest in front of Parliament House on March 15, 2008 to honor of World Consumer Rights Day, despite the fact he has no permit to do it.

As the refusal to grant the permit is unlawful, Dr. Chee is going to defy Lee and his minions to arrest him. In his defiance, Dr. Chee continues to hold the high moral ground as against this dictatorial regime.

In this action which is both honorable and just, I call upon all other Singaporeans who see the injustice of this regime, to join in the protest in solidarity with Dr. Chee; to tell this dictatorial undemocratic government that enough is enough. We will not take this injustice lying down anymore. We will protest come what may. This I hope is the message that you will send to this government by joining Dr. Chee and others in this proposed task of honor and conscience.

Please refer to the Singapore Democratic Party website for the article on this protest dated 10 Mar 08 headed "Wong Kan Seng says no to rally against price hikes but SDP to proceed". Dr. Chee explains why the Singapore Government's denial of the requested permit is both unjust and unlawful. I weighing in on what Dr. Chee has said.

The Singapore government claims that political protests in Singapore are disallowed. Therefore the permit is denied. Wong Kan Seng, Minister for Home Affairs should know that it is not enough merely to make up your own rules to suit yourself. The Singapore Constitution specifically gives the people the right to protest. Therefore Mr. Wong has no power to restrict or deny this right.

Second, the law which requires a permit to assemble in larger than 5 people is itself a direct violation of this constitutional right. So this law can be and should be ignored. It is a law with no effect. It is null and void.

Mr. Wong says Parliament House is a high security installation, therefore no protests in the vicinity should be allowed. Parliament may well be high security. So what? A peaceful protest outside Parliament House poses no danger to anyone either inside or outside it. So here again, we have to tell Mr. Wong not to tell us fairy tales.

Another provision in the constitution is equal protection. Everyone has to be treated alike. No special favors are permitted. In 2006, the Singapore government agency, CASE held a protest outside this same Parliament House, which was well publicised. Pictures of it appeared in the CASE website. If indeed CASE was permitted to do it, why is Dr. Chee and the Singapore Democratic Party disallowed from that very same activity?

This clearly smacks of discrimination, favoritism for government agencies and discrimination against political opposition. This is a violation of the constitutional requirement of equal protection. The refusal to grant the permit is both unjust and unlawful. The protest should go on without the permit.

Permits in violation of the constitutional provision of the right of assembly can only be justified where the government can clearly articulate a grave and serious harm if the protest took place. Where is the grave and serious harm here? Who is likely to be injured and maimed if Dr. Chee held his protest? None! A compelling reason for the denial of the permit, not being shown, therefore requires Dr. Chee to go ahead and break this unjust ruling.

Wong Kan Seng is trying to make Singapore look like it is a country owned by Lee Kuan Yew and himself together with his other relatives and friends. No it is not! It is a constitutional democracy. People have rights. And in this case, they are going to exercise it.

This government is weak and ineffective. It's power is long gone. It's writs no longer mean anything. Dr. Chee has repeatedly broken these unjust laws. Foreign housewives have demonstrated in public in support of Burmese dissidents with impunity. Burmese have marched with impunity. The SDP supporters have demonstrated outside the Istana with impunity. Protesters have marched along Orchard Road with impunity. In all these case the government had tried to misuse their policemen to harass and intimidate these brave protesters but have failed miserably. Instead of the people being made to look as criminals, Singapore policemen themselves have been seen as the biggest thugs.

The ball is ion the other court now. The shoe is in the other foot.

Please don't let this arrogant government get away with this abuse. Contact Dr. Chee of the Singapore Democratic Party and protest outside Parliament House on March 15, 2008. Justice is on your side. Not theirs.

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

And if you like what I write, please tell your friends. This blog not only gives information, it dispels the government propaganda put out by this dictatorial regime.


Anonymous said...

Ru also coming? or u'll do video conferencing?

Gopalan Nair said...

To anonymous who said "Ru you coming?", well I wish I could. I come to Singapore at least 2 times a year, but because of the nature of my work, being a lawyer, it is not possible to arrange my trips to coincide with what is going on in Singapore.

This protest is one thing I would love to attend but this time I cannot.

Being a lawyer, my appoitnments and court attendances are beyond my control.

As for targeting for the 15th of March, I have to be in Immigration Court San Francisco on 13th March at 8.30 am for an Asylum application. By March 14th, I have to file an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals, Falls Church Virginia, for a denial of an emplyment based immigrant visa. This is work that I cannot put aside to travel at present.

The situation is alwyas the same with a lawyers life. You have no control over the calender. And my being an especially busy lawyer with something every day, it is not possible this time.

But I am monitering the situation in Singapore very carefully and will attend whenever I can.

If you happen to see Dr. Chee please tell him that this time I cannot be there. But I send my goodwill in his protest.

As for video conferencing a protest from here in Fremont near San Francisco, I would not mind doing it all. Please advice if Dr. Chee has arrangements for video conferencing. I would be delighted to do it.

Please keep reading my blog and send the message far and wide about it.
Gopalan Nair