Friday, December 20, 2013

Singapore Little India Riots. Police Commissioner claims the right to deport foreigners anytime he pleases

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the wake of the riots by Indian foreign workers in Little India Singapore on Dec 8, 2013, the island city state's Police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee claims the very alarming threat to deport any foreigner he pleases without any right to a judicial hearing.

This worrying revelation means no foreigner within the island is safe from being deported anytime. The only requirement for deportation, according to him, is the internal finding by the island's police that the foreigner is a "threat to the interests or well being of Singapore".

According to this Police Commissioner, the foreigner faced with this life changing accusation, facing the prospect of  summarily losing his source of income or livelihood and becoming destitute, and peremptorily being shipped off to his native country, will not even be given the chance or recourse to defend himself .

As you can see, the painful consequence of such a heartless policy not only extends to the foreign worker or lawful permanent resident but also to his entire family who depend on him for a livelihood. This cruel and heartless long standing standard immigration policy of the island was made known by the Police Commissioner at a press conference on Friday evening.

Please see the report in Singapore's State Run News Agency Straits Times of Dec 20, 2013 titled "Little India Riot: 53 workers repatriated; 200 to report to CID to be formally warned"

The Police Commissioner of Singapore's rendition of Singapore law to justify summary deportations appeared on Friday at his Press Conference verbatim on video, where he says the following:

"Foreigners regularly get deported. Foreigners are regularly stopped at the border and not permitted to enter Singapore. It is quite regular and common practice that ICA (Immigration and Customs Authority) does everyday. We do it all the time."

But we are not just talking about foreign visitors being turned away at the Singapore Airport or at a border crossing. We are talking here of deporting foreign citizens who have already taken lawful residence in the island and working either as temporary workers or permanent residents, perhaps even for years.

What the Police Commissioner is saying is that these people, just because they happened to be foreigners can be deported anytime just because he has made a finding that they are a threat to state security without more.

The ramifications of this statement are very troubling indeed, and should send chills down the spines of every single foreigner physically within Singapore, including foreign workers and even lawful permanent residents in the island republic.

Singapore's policy of simply accusing a foreigner and summarily deporting him for being a "threat to the interests of Singapore" without giving him any right to answer the charge before an independent tribunal is simply contrary to law and natural justice, shocking to the conscience of any decent country in the world.

This is what we could expect of Nazi Germany which deported millions of Jews, non Aryans and Gypsies  and they too were never given a chance to defend themselves.

This is a thoroughly unacceptable practice. Of course it is completely understandable for a visitor to be turned away at an airport or border crossing without the need for a hearing before a tribunal.

But it is a completely different thing to deport people who have already been admitted into the country either as a visitor, foreign worker or permanent resident, and even sunk roots in the island, without giving him a right to respond.

It is a required by law in the United States, Canada, Australia, all European countries and indeed all countries that claim to have the rule of law to give proper notice to a removal charge to the subject foreigner who then is allowed to respond to the government allegations and if unresolved an opportunity to appear before an Immigration Judge.

The legal basis for this is the fact that the foreigner has a beneficial proprietary right to work and earn an income or live in the country which cannot be arbitrarily taken away without due process .

According to this report from Singapore's state owned news agency the Straits Times, they had repatriated 53 foreign workers to their home countries without any right to a hearing.

What this shameful act by the Singapore government means is that it is no better than some banana republic which merely allows people in when they want and deport anyone they don't want completely at their discretion requiring only a blanket official statement that so and so "is a threat to national security".

This disgraceful lack of rule of law and you-listen-to-me-or-else arrogance continues to hurt the tiny island city state's ability to ever succeed in anything.

For a start, thousands and thousands of English educated young Singaporeans who are aware of this sort of abuse of their people's civil liberties, no matter citizen or otherwise, continue to emigrate to Western countries where they can expect some decency to towards their fellow man.

This will hurt any country but it is devastating for a tiny island with no more than perhaps just 2 million or less native born citizens left, and shrinking, with the rest being all foreigners.

Thousands of native highly qualified  English educated Singaporeans who have already gone to Australia and the West from this tiny native population of just 2 million are encouraging their family and friends to join them, over and above new applicants, who are dying to leave this repressive one party police state; and each disgraceful episode such as these deportations only heightens the flow.

Any Singaporean who is able to think and has tasted life in the West would not, over his dead body, want to ever live in an island like Singapore.

To cover the mounting loss of numbers who have left and are leaving, the authorities are desperately scrambling to bring in immigrants who are, by the way, mostly rejects who have been unsuccessful in their migration applications to the West. These immigrants too, given the chance will also leave at the first opportunity.

No one, unless you are a heartless brute, will accept a law which allows foreigners to be simply packed off and deported, just because they are foreigners, just like that.

This sort of high handedness by a government in a tiny country with a native local population of just 2 million today, greatly reduced from 3 million just a decade ago, will simply mean that the thinking and discerning native population would be entirely wiped out within the next few years leaving only illiterate ethnic Chinese noodle sellers who can't tell the difference between the United States and North Korea.

In a tragic way, these repressive measures by the Singapore government should come as a blessing in disguise for anyone wishing to see the back of Lee Kuan Yew's one party government.

It will tend only to expedite the island's demise, from what we know Singapore to be, leaving it with only temporary employment seeking foreign migrants in the island prepared to accept this totalitarian dictatorial rule, because they can have no better, leaving the island effectively changed into another North Korea replete with desperate temporary workers willing to obey this one party police state and the dumb ethnic Chinese noodle seller who can't tell the difference one way or the other.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

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