Saturday, May 3, 2008

Singapore. The law that requires a government permit for 5 or more to assemble in public is now a dead letter.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore law states, despite the clear wording of the Constitution, that an assembly of 5 or more people is illegal unless they have the written permission from the government. Dr. Chee and his SDP have over the years deliberately defied this unjust law, by protesting in the prohibited numbers without permits; for which he has been repeatedly imprisoned.

Now finally it seems, the tables have turned. Dr. Chee has won. The government is no longer enforcing this law. For all intents and purposes, it is a dead letter. The PAP government who have all along painted the image of a tough government which brooks no defiance to their laws, is now finally seen, to use Miss Slocum's words of Are You Being Served British comedy fame; "as weak as water".

You can see this for yourself. Only some months ago, at St Martins Drive outside the Singapore Burmese Embassy, Dr. Chee and several supporters protested, resulting in the police requiring the protesters to attend at police stations for interview. To date, no one has been charged with anything.

Same thing with the protests earlier to the Burmese one, at the Istana; sometime last year. Once again, a great deal of buss with the police doing their broken record routine of repeatedly telling Dr. Chee and party that they have broken the law, and blah blah; asked to attend at police stations for the usual routine of questions, but at the end nothing. In fact I have been told by one among the Dr. Chee company that he has lost track at the number of times the police have threatened to charge him, but apparently they are reluctant to do anything.

And now finally this. On May day, May 1st 2008, next to Toa Payoh Library, no less than 10 people assembled resplendent in their red insignia T shirts brazenly inscribed with the protest words Tak Boleh Tahan, assembled in defiance of this protest law requiring a permit, challenging any policeman there to arrest them on sight. Please see the article in the Singapore Democrat, Follow the Tak Boleh Tahan! event "live" right here . This time, the police were nowhere to be seen. This unjust law has been clearly broken by Dr. Chee and company with impunity.

Same thing once again. On May 3rd, 2008, the World Press Freedom Day, 7 protesters protested outside Singapore Press Holdings at Toa Payoh for an end to press censorship in Singapore, to erase the bad name Singapore has on press freedom, being equated to countries such as North Korea, with even Cuba having a better ranking, by the respected freedom of the press monitor, Reporters Without Borders based in Paris.

Please see the article Activists protest against media control outside SPH of May 3rd 2008 in Singapore Democrat. This time once again, being helpless to do much, the Lee Kuan Yew government have decided to ignore it. Yet again, no arrests this time. Yet you can see, the law has clearly been violated. But Lee can do nothing. He is helpless. Another victory for our freedom fighters.

What I had predicted has come true; no doubt about it. I had repeatedly asked Dr. Chee and company to break these laws to test this governments resolve. Both we and this government knows that these laws have no legal or moral basis whatsoever. The Constitution specifically provides for freedom of speech and assembly. Any law that conflicts with the Constitution without a compelling interest of national dimensions, is illegal and ultra vires. It must be struck off. The government all along have been playing on the ignorance of the people in order to get away with something which is clearly unconstitutional and illegal. The only question was, how long will this government try to hold on to an illegal law in the face of the peoples defiance.

Well you have seen it now. This government has capitulated on this issue. They realise they have no leg to stand on, either in law or morality. So they decide not to enforce it.

Singaporeans should take pride on their success and appreciate Dr. Chee and company for finally achieving this success. We always knew that with persistence, truth will always overcome tyranny.

Those Singaporeans who have been sitting on the fence out of fear of this government, should now take courage. You now have the proof you need. This government can do nothing to harm you. They know that their days of intimidation are gone. So take courage. Join the protests. I believe many more are forthcoming in increasing strength of numbers. This is the way to regain your rights. In the present circumstances in Singapore, waiting for the next elections is not going to do much good. You have to physically take your rights back. And that is exactly what I mean.

I ask the reader especially for this post to distribute it as widely as possible. Ask your friends to contact Dr. Chee or any other SDP Party member as to the coming protests and do what you can to spread the message of democracy. Thanks a lot.

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

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