Saturday, January 07, 2006

S'pore judiciary eat shit!!!

Media release: Judiciary steps into politics with decision on protests
11 Dec 05

The ruling by Mr V K Rajah mocks the Constitution and the principles of democracy. The decision removes all doubt, if there was any to begin with, that Singaporeans effectively live under a dictatorship.

By making this decision, the courts have signaled its refusal to protect the rights of Singaporean citizens to assemble peacefully to protest against the Government and its policies. This is in spite of the fact that there were only four protesters and the Constitution guarantees that only five or more people constituted an illegal assembly.

It is utter nonsense for the judge to equate public protest to public nuisance or “something even more serious.” This is an insult to decent and right-minded Singaporeans who want to express their unhappiness with the Government through public protests – a freedom enjoyed by civilized and open communities all over the world.

This tired argument has been used by the PAP through the years whenever calls for freedom of speech are made. It is also the kind of antiquated thinking that retards Singapore’s development as a modern nation able to run with democracies of the world.

Mr Rajah’s reference to the words “CPF, NKF, HDB, GIC: Be transparent now!” painted on the protesters T-shirts as “incendiary” truly boggles the mind. If calling for transparency and accountability is “incendiary” (and thus prohibited) what can the Singaporeans call for? Even the Government admits that for (specious) commercial reasons, the GIC cannot be transparent.

The judiciary is effectively saying that it will act as the police and decide what messages are permissible and what are not in a public protest, assuming that protests are allowed. By doing this, are the courts not dragging themselves into the political arena, something that all judiciaries in established democracies assiduously avoid?

What about the National Trades Union Congress protesting against the US Government in 1988 for “interfering” in Singapore’s politics? What if it was the opposition who had tried to conduct that protest? Would the protest then be considered “incendiary”? Which authorities will decide what messages are proper and what are not? Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that a protest of four or less persons shall be allowed only if the message is deemed proper.

And since when was it the courts’ duty to protect the integrity and reputation of public institutions? Already the Government has an iron-grip on the media to ensure that the public gets to watch, read and hear nothing but good news about the Government. The voice of the Government shrieks loud and deafening. What is needed is protection of the citizens’ voice. The one-way traffic of political debate in Singapore is painfully clear to all who are willing to see.

Saying that Singaporeans do not have the right to “picket public institutions” because to do so would be to “question the [institutions’] integrity and cast a slur on their reputation” is tragic beyond words.

The judge has unwisely stepped on a political mine that will explode with serious consequences in the future.

The courts have spoken and they have made clear their stand. There is no recourse left available for citizens to express their dissent in a Constitutional manner.

It is confirmation, if any more is needed, that civil disobedience is the only route open to Singaporeans who wish to see our country embark on the path towards democracy and openness, and to remain faithful to our national pledge “to build a democratic society, based on justice and equality…”

Singapore Democratic Party

Also see Yawning Bread's damn steady article.

No comments: