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Recent court rulings & police shortcomings show system needs changes

justice

In recent years, the actions of the enforcement agencies in Singapore have been called into question not just by the public, but also by the courts.

Such intervention by judges is welcome and is necessary to rein in the authorities’ sometimes over-enthusiastic application of the law.

Calls for the government to relook some of these legal provisions have been made consistently over the years, and in light of the courts’ recent decisions, it is worth looking at these again, and reiterate the need (and urgency) of putting them under the microscope of review. Read More…

Boy’s death – a police review of procedures not enough

courtThe death of a 14-year old boy now puts the question of access to lawyers for an accused at the doorstep of Parliament.

The boy, a secondary three student, had apparently committed suicide after being interviewed by the police for an alleged offence of “molestation”. That was the offence he is deemed to have committed, according to the police statement released on 1 February 2016. (See here.)

The police also said that it “will review and address” the issue of whether “to allow an appropriate adult to be present when a young person is interviewed.”

First, let us be clear about one thing: no one knows exactly why the boy took his own life. Any suggestions on the reasons are at best speculation at this point in time, given that police investigations are still ongoing; and that eventually the coroner would also have to weigh in on the matter.

So, let us hold off on the finger pointing, especially that directed at the police. It would be most unfair to lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of the police officers involved. Read More…

Thanks, Lilian; shame on you, PAP

Photo: New Paper

Photo: New Paper

Reading news reports of what transpired in Parliament the last few days has been disappointing, to say the least. And particularly so is the People’s Action Party (PAP)’s politicking over the decision by Workers’ Party candidate, Lee Lilian, not to take up the Non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) seat.

PAP MPs such as Lee Bee Wah, Edwin Tong and Charles Chong, along with minister Chan Chun Sing, all cast aspersions of various kinds on the WP and Ms Lee.

I do not think it is worth repeating them here. Suffice it to say that the attacks (even if they are veiled ones) reflect badly on the perpetrators.

Here they are, casting aspersions on a lady who had stepped forward to serve her community, and had and continues to do so for 10 years now, including her two years in the highest lawmaking body in the country. Read More…

So, Yang Yin is part of this “Singaporean core”?

Yang Yin, Chinese national and Singapore PR

Yang Yin, Chinese national and Singapore PR

The issues of foreigners and foreign labour have been in the spotlight for many years, going way back to the 1990s, in fact. If you do a search on parliamentary reports or speeches, you realise that Members of Parliament way back were already raising concerns about opening the door too widely to them.

And so, it is no surprise that the issues have in fact gotten even more intense attention in recent years, especially with the influx gaining ground up until recently (at least according to what the government is claiming).

So now, because of political and public pressure, the government has decided to maintain a “two-thirds” “Singaporean core” in the economy, or workforce, according to Manpower Minister, Lim Swee Say, on Thursday. Read More…

Amos Yee and the intolerance of the hysterical minority

yee

Christians are offended? Really?

Vincent Law, a family and youth counsellor, has stepped forward and bailed out 16-year old Amos Yee on Tuesday.

Yee was being held by the authorities because no one had posted the S$20,000 bail for him over the weekend.

He had been in remand for 4 days, and is being charged for three alleged offences which are (quoting local news reports):

  • Allegedly causing matter to be seen and heard by five victims by creating a video clip containing remarks against Christianity with the deliberate intention of wounding the feelings of Christians.
  • Allegedly transmitting electronically an image showing obscene figures, believed to be a cartoon or caricature of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Mr Lee in an unflattering sexual depiction.
  • Allegedly making an insulting video clip online containing remarks about Mr Lee which was intended to be heard and seen by persons likely to be distressed by the same.

As his case is before the courts, I shall not delve into it specifically.

Instead, my concern is a wider one of how the government decide what is allowable and what is not, in the area of things which are deemed to be sensitive for some religions and their adherents. Read More…

Poison pen fliers – a virulent kind of sneakiness

Victor Lye's poison pen flier

Should the police investigate the PAP poison pen fliers incident?

Since a branch chairman of the People’s Action Party (PAP) led a group of party activists to distribute anti-Workers’ Party (WP) fliers in Aljunied, questions have been raised asking if the Singapore Police Force (SPF) should investigate the matter.

Briefly, the PAP branch chairman for the Bedok Reservoir area of the constituency, Victor Lye, together with his group of activists, had apparently distributed perhaps thousands of fliers to the flats in the area, urging residents to query the WP on issues pertaining to the running of the town council.

Are the actions of Victor Lye, who is also the chairman of the non-political grassroots organisation, the Citizens Consultative Committee (CCC), of the area, setting a precedent, or is he simply following one, when he distributes political literature to the public?

Incidents in recent years, particularly in 2009 and 2010, are instructive in viewing the issue.

In May 2009, several not-so-flattering posters of Member of Parliament for Nee Soon, Lee Bee Wah, were posted at some blocks in the area.

Read More…

Where is the junzi, gentleman?

ccsOnce upon a time, PAP leaders spoke of how ministers should be junzi, gentlemen.

“Dr Chee has stood for elections thrice – and lost badly all three times, once receiving just 20 per cent of the vote,” the Minister of Social and Family Development (MSF), Chan Chun Sing, wrote in his letter to the Huffington Post on 15 January protesting that the US-based website was giving “considerable but undeserved attention and space” to Dr Chee.

Mr Chan then went on to list Dr Chee’s alleged shortcomings, dating back more than 20 years, and haughtily concluded:

“It is because of these and other failings that Dr Chee is a political failure.”

Mr Chan’s remarks deriding Dr Chee’s supposed “failure” as a politician have been met with equally derisive reactions from the public towards Mr Chan – they point out that Mr Chan himself is “wet behind the ears” politically, having only entered politics in 2011 through a non-contest in the Tanjong Pagar GRC, helmed by former prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew.

Some say Mr Chan should not be making fun of Dr Chee when he himself “has not won a single vote”.

Read More…

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