Application to the High Court on 2006 General Elections results

May 23, 2006

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE

Originating Summons No. )
Of 2006 )

In the matter of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore
And
In the matter of the Parliamentary Elections Act (Cap 218)

Between

CHEE SIOK CHIN……Plaintiff
And
ATTORNEY-GENERAL……Defendant

AFFIDAVIT

I, Chee Siok Chin, do hereby solemnly make oath and say as follows:

1. I am the Applicant in this Originating Summons. I make this affidavit in support of my Application.

2. The facts deposed herein are based on my personal knowledge and are true.

Upgrading for votes

3. On 26 March 2006, it was reported on Channel News Asia that Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said: “I do not want the two constituencies to be left behind, especially Potong Pasir, an old estate. Five years down the road, assuming Chiam do (sic) win, there will be no upgrading. After that, we got to ask ourselves whether the estate is worthwhile upgrading. I’m talking about Lorong 8. By then, the estate would be around 35 years old and the lease is only 99 years, so economically, is it worthwhile? My own view is Hougang should be upgraded, otherwise another five years, another 10 years, it would become rather derelict compared to other estates in Singapore.”

4. On 26 November 2001 during the 1997 General Elections, Mr Goh, then the prime minister, said: “In 20, 30 years’ time, the whole of Singapore will be bustling away, and your estate, through your own choice, will be left behind. They become slums.” He was warning voters that wards which did not vote for PAP would be placed last in line for HDB upgrading.

5. On 4 May 2006 two days before the polling day on 6 May, the Straits Times reported: “Mr [Eric] Low, who was with [Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong] in Hougang, announced that around $100 million will be set aside to carry out a 10-year upgrading plan for the area – provided he wins.”

Giving out money during elections

6. On 3 May 2006, Mr Lee Hsien Loong said: “Suppose you had 10, 15, 20 opposition members in Parliament. Instead of spending my time thinking what is the right policy for Singapore, I’m going to spend all my time thinking what’s the right way to fix them, to buy my supporters votes, how can I solve this week’s problem and forget about next year’s challenges?” http://pap.org.sg/articleview.php?id=951&mode=&cid=23

7. In his National Day Rally Speech on 19 August 2001, Goh Chok Tong said: “I would also like to introduce a new scheme to help especially less well-off Singaporeans. I intend to give you shares which pay a guaranteed dividend for a fixed number of years, plus bonus payments when the economy does well. These shares will also be redeemable immediately for cash, but not all at once. I will call this scheme ‘New Singapore’ Shares.”

8. The shares can be exchanged for money. The Government then announced that the encashment could take place in November 2001 which is during the election period.

9. In his Budget 2006 speech, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said: “First, I will distribute Growth Dividends to all adult citizens…I have therefore decided to distribute the Growth Dividends in the form of cash which can be collected immediately upon allotment…Singaporeans can look forward to receiving their Growth Dividends on 1 May 2006. The Growth Dividends are expected to cost the Government $1.4 billion.”

10. The General Elections were held in May 2006. The polling day was 6 May 2006. The cash was given out on 28 April 2006.

Banning podcasting and blogging

11. On 4 April 2006, the Straits Times reported: “New Internet technologies, such as podcasting and videocasting, cannot be used to disseminate political content during the General Election, the Government said yesterday. In the most extensive answer to date on online electioneering, Dr Balaji Sadasivan noted that streaming of ‘explicit political content’ by political parties or individuals is banned under election advertising rules set in 2001. He also had news for bloggers: They can discuss politics, but will have to register their sites if they consistently espouse a political line.” The unconstitutional ban on podcasting had affected the campaign of the opposition and thus affecting the outcome of voting.

Conclusion

12. It is clear that the PAP Government has been using the HDB upgrading scheme and the giving out of shares and cash to induce voters to vote for it and secure electoral victory.

13. It is also obvious that the PAP has violated the right to freedom of speech as provided for in our Constitution.

14. In the circumstances, I believe that such acts tantamount to intimidation, bribery and censorship which contravenes the Parliamentary Elections Act. I therefore respectfully pray for an order in terms of the Application.

SWORN TO by the abovenamed )
CHEE SIOK CHIN )
on the day 23rd day of May 2006 )
at Singapore )
Before me,
A COMMISSIONER FOR OATHS

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