Source: Singapore Democrats

District Judge Christopher Goh dismissed a Magistrate’s Complaint filed by Ms Chee Siok Chin and Mr John Tan last week.

Ms Chee and Mr Tan had filed the complaint in February this year for unlawful detention and selective use of the law by the Singapore Police Force when the two were walking along Orange Grove Road in 2007 (watch video Part I and Part II).
In her complaint, Ms Chee stated that during the ASEAN Summit that year, police officers along Orange Grove Road harassed and stopped her and Mr Tan from walking to Shangri-la Hotel. The police had told them that the area was under gazette at that time.

Ms Chee argued that if that was the case, why were other pedestrians and vehicles allowed in the vicinity while she was being prevented from proceeding.

Mr Tan also said that he had been assaulted by the police officers in the the van.

The SDP leaders stated that after they were forced into the van, the police officers told them that they were not being arrested but refused to answer repeated questions about where they were being taken.

On Tuesday last week, the judge told both complainants that in response to the complaint, the Internal Investigation Department of the Singapore Police Force had come to the conclusion that Ms Chee and Mr Tan were removed from the vicinity under the Protected Area and Places Act. The report was sent to the Attorney-General’s Chambers who decided that there was no case for the police to answer. The judge thus dismissed the matter.

Ms Chee pointed out that the investigation was carried out by the same body against whom the report was made.

Mr Tan argued that the two main issues highlighted in the complaints were not being addressed by the investigation. He asked the judge to demand answers to the questions raised, but was rejected. The selective application of the law and the wrongful detention of the aggrieved persons were dismissed by the district judge.

Judge Goh responded by saying that he had no powers to initiate prosecution. In other words, he could only act on the direction of the AGC.

Despite much explicit reasoning, the judge could not see the absurdity of an investigation carried out by the perpetrators and the decision not to carry out further action by their accomplices.

The PAP has for decades used public institutions against its political opponents and dissenters. This is a serious misuse of power. Unfortunately, Singaporeans have been subjected to such abuse for so long that many have come to accept it as normal.

Is this the Singapore-styled democracy to which Mr Lee Kuan Yew is referring when he rejects “liberal democracy?” Is this the kind of democracy that Singaporeans have pledged to uphold? The answer is clear. The function of all government agencies or public institutions is to serve the people, not the party in power.

This is why the Singapore Democrats and Friends continue with the struggle for democracy and pursuit of justice and equality for all.

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Who is John Tan?

December 29, 2008

By Chee Siok Chin

I first met John in September of 2006 during our three-day standoff at Hong Lim Park with the police. He had heard about our rally and march on September 16 and came to lend his support.

I remember him staying on into the wee hours of the morning with us that first day. He came every day subsequently and buoyed our spirits by encouraging us. He had brought refreshments and little things like raincoats and toiletries that would make our stand-off less taxing.

He has since been one of the most active members of the party as well as a dedicated practitioner of Nonviolent Action.

That’s John Tan.

The mettle in this man is inspirational. On the morning that he found out that James Cooke University had suspended him, John broke the news to me over brunch. I was angry for him. That was evident especially in my language. It wasn’t quite French, but still…

John, on the other hand was cool, composed and very “head” about it. Getting fired from one’s job is a big enough blow for anyone who is the sole-bread winner in a family of five. Getting fired unjustly is downright infuriating.

But John never once expressed any anger or ill-will towards those who were responsible for his suspension. Instead of lamenting and complaining, our conversation was steered by him to talking about possibilities and opportunities that would arise from this situation.

It dawned on me that I was upset than he was. Instead of my helping to bring comfort to him, John’s steadiness and refusal to succumb to bitterness served to console me.

This was the same reaction when he received the 15-day imprisonment judgement. John had argued before High Court Judge Judith Prakash that his wearing of the kangaroo t-shirt was a matter of self-expression and fair criticism of the way her colleague Belinda Ang had presided over the Lees vs Chees defamation suit.

Some of us put our arms around him and tried to offer some consolation when we met immediately afterwards, but there was no hint of anxiety or resentment in this man. Sure he thought the judge shouldn’t have found him guilty for contempt of court in the first place, but he accepted the sentence without any doom or gloom.

That’s John Tan.

About a half a dozen of us took him out for lunch the day he was to surrender himself at the High Court to serve his sentence, but it was John who paid for our lunch.

He ordered a big meal and we joked about that being his last edible meal for the next two weeks (especially difficult for him as he is a fantastic cook).

Although he wasn’t looking forward to spending the next two weeks in jail, he was upbeat, positive and confident.

John will be released on Tuesday morning, 30 December. While most of us are merry-making over the Christmas period, he is spending that time in a tiny cell. But despite this, I’m certain his conviction to his struggle against the self-serving PAP and to bring greater justice and freedom to Singaporeans will only grow from strength to strength.

That’s John Tan.

John Tan, Asst Secretary-General of the SDP, will be released from Queenstwon Prison at 9.30am on 30 Dec 08 (Tue). He was sentenced to 15 days imprisonment for wearing a t-shirt with a kangaroo in a judge’s gown during the defamation hearing between Lee Kuan Yew and the Singapore Democrats. Two other activists, Shafi’ie and Isrizal, were both sentenced for 7-days jail. They were released on 18 Dec 08.

By Chia Ti Lik

THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PINCER MOVEMENT

EXECUTED ON CHEE SIOK CHIN

A write up on the events relating to the Originating Summons (“OS”) for review of the Official Assignee’s decision to disallow Ms Chee Siok Chin (“CSC”) from leaving Singapore for Stanford University.

The application was filed by CSC in person on 4th August 2008. She had requested for and obtained an urgent hearing date on 11th August 2008 for her.

I was instructed argue on her behalf on an urgent basis and I appeared before the Honourable Justice Tan Lee Meng on a short notice on 11th August 2008. At that hearing, the AG-C alleged that there had been improper service of the documents on their office and they registered objection to the lack of clarity of CSC’s OS.

Notwithstanding the alleged improper service, the AG-C came ready with a submission, and 4 affidavits to address the position taken by the Applicant.

In the affidavits, the Attorney-General’s officers claimed as follows, namely that:-

a.                   they were improperly served. AG-C received only the 1st page of CSC’s  affidavit without any cover letter; and

b.                  The AG-C encountered difficulty of serving the said affidavits on CSC.

In the affidavits, the Official Assignee’s officers claimed as follows, namely that:-

a.                   CSC had been uncooperative towards their office in the management of her financial affairs; and

b.                  The Official Assignee’s office email delivery system had prevented them from receiving the emails.

Faced with the objections and having had sight of the 4 affidavits for the first time only at the hearing, I asked for time to rectify the OS as well as to respond to the affidavits filed by the AG-C.

The Honourable Justice Tan Lee Meng made the following directions:-

a.                   1 week to CSC to make amendments and file all necessary further documents;

b.                  1 further week for AG-C to respond; and

c.                   the hearing to take place on week thereafter on 1st September 2008.

The hearing on 11th August 2008, even if heard and ruled in favour of CSC was already impossible for CSC to make it meaningfully to the fellowship of democrats at Stanford University which would have ended on 16th August 2008. CSC was supposed to have been at the fellowship on 29th July 2008 till 16th August 2008.

The adjournment, however, was not the cause of a delayed review application because CSC had requested the Official Assignee for permission from to travel from as early as 28th April 2008. In addition to that, she had sent reminders sent to the Official Assignee on 3 occasions: 2nd May 2008, 8th May 2008 and 13th May 2008.

To these email communications, the Official Assignee’s office claimed on affidavit that the government internet filter prevented them from receiving the emails from CSC because of the attachments she annexed to the email.

Subsequent to the adjournment, I got down working with CSC on her Reply Affidavit as well as the amendments to the OS and other documents.

An unsuccessful attempt was made to file the Amended OS on 18th August but the Electronic Filing system refused to accept the documents.

When CSC affirmed her reply affidavit on Thursday 21st August 2008, a 2nd attempt was made to file the Amended OS and the Reply affidavit.

I attempted to inform the AG-C on 21st August 2008 of the delay. The facsimile failed to transmit and was re-faxed in the morning of 22nd August 2008.

On 22nd August 2008 the AG-C wrote complaining of:-

Not having any specified the problems we encountered;

Not having been served the amended OS and reply affidavit;

Objecting to any adjournment; and

Objecting to any late filing of CSC’s papers.

I replied on 22nd August 2008 clarifying a number of points, namely that:-

The adjournment granted on 11th August 2008 was inconsequential given the delay given by the Official Assignee’s office in replying in the first place;

The problem encountered in filing the amended OS;

The suggestion of adjournment was offered to avoid prejudicing any party;

The late filing would never in any circumstance be allowed to prejudice the AG-C;

And I effected service of the documents on the AG-C via fax without the confirmation that Supreme Court Registry has accepted the same; and

Informing that by 25th August 2008 we would seek to refix the other matters in the subordinate Courts should AG-C still object to the said suggested adjournment.

On 25th August 2008, the AG-C replied:-

Taking issue with the fact that CSC’s reply affidavit was sworn on 21st August as opposed to be filed on 18th August 2008;

Taking issue that the documents do not seem to have been accepted by the court for filing in EFS as at 1045hrs 25th August 2008;

Reserving the right to make a proper response only if the documents are properly filed and served; and

Objecting to any adjournment of the hearing on 1st September 2008.

On 1122hrs Monday 25th August 2008, the Supreme Court Registry rejected the Amended OS and CSC’s reply affidavit for Electronic filing. The rejection was received on 1205hrs on Monday 25th August 2008. The reason for rejection given – late filing.

On 28th August 2008, there as a further letter from AG-C:

Reiterating previous points;

Citing that as at 10am 28th August 2008, I had still not re-filed and re-served the documents nor written to explain the same; and

Insisting that the only documents which CSC will rely on would only be the documents filed previously.

I responded to AG-C via a letter dated 28th august 2008

Informing (incorrectly) that the documents were rejected on Friday 22nd August 2008 (when it was actually Monday 25th August 2008);

Explaining no separate formal application for leave for reasons of costs and feasibility;

Given the reason of rejection furnished by the Registry in the circumstances, no further attempt at filing was made; and

There is no reason for AG-C to deny the Applicant any adjournment or leave to re-file and insist on CSC relying only on those documents filed previously.

The AG-C’s letter dated 28th August 2008 (received on 29th August 2008):-

Asserting that it was by our course of conduct that the court does not have CSC’s further documents;

Reiterating that the hearing on 1st September would proceed on the basis of the documents filed in court; and

Copying our letter and the current letter to the Registrar Supreme Court.

I replied to the AG-C on 29th August 2008:-

Objecting to the persistent assertions that it was our conduct that led to the Court not having CSC’s proposed documents to justify a stand denying her the right to place her further documents before Justice Tan Lee Meng;

Citing their right to a rejoinder response in any event;

The greater importance is for the issue of the actions of the Official Assignee’s office to be reviewed by the Court;

AG-C has to act impartially when exercising a public function; and

Requesting AG-C to place all correspondences before Registrar Supreme Court and Justice Tan.

The response from AG-C via letter dated 29th August 2008:-

Reiterates previous points;

Explaining why chambers make no proper response as the documents have not been properly filed;

Stubbornly insists on proceeding with application on 1st September 2008 on the basis of documents filed and accepted by the Court Registry; and

Refusing to copy complete correspondence to the Attorney General’s office.

CSC is a bankrupt and given the difficulties encountered to file the relevant papers, there was a limit to what she or her counsel could do.

The rejection by the Supreme Court Registry of the documents for Electronic Filing was received only in the afternoon of 25th August 2008.

By that time, it would have been too late for CSC to prepare and file a separate application for leave of court for an extension of time to file the same as such an application would in all probability yielded a hearing date before after 1st September 2008. Furthermore, there were cost considerations in terms of additional disbursements when the Applicant is clearly a bankrupt.

CSC was ready and willing to proceed with the application for review but the crux of her case and the proper process requires her papers to be filed to be accepted by the Supreme Court Registry and in the circumstances, leave of the Court was required.

The AG-C was aware of the difficulties encountered by CSC but was intent on keeping her at a disadvantage even though as at 22nd August 2008, the AG-C had been served with a copy each of the papers.

CSC’s position is therefore known to the AG-C since that date but those positions are not open to CSC for her to canvass the same in Honourable Court so long as her affidavits was not accepted by the Supreme Court Registry.

It must be noted that in any event, the Honourable Court had given AG-C leave to file and serve their rejoinder response which will allow the AG-C to have the last word on this application. The AG-C would have been in no way prejudiced by any adjournment.

Notwithstanding the above, AG-C successfully objected to the CSC being given leave to file her papers and CSC had to proceed with the hearing based on what she had successfully filed in Court when what CSC had on court record was insufficient to address allegations made by the Official Assignee’s Office in their affidavits.

The Court dismissed the application on the ground that there was no reason for the court to rule on a matter which has already passed in that it was no longer meaningful for the review to be made as the period of travel was over and that such a review over matters of discretion decided by the OA would not give rise to a precedent for future actions.

In this process, I learnt of the whimsicality of the Official Assignee.

I learnt of the tenacity of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

I experienced the illogicality of the actions of the Supreme Court Registry.

I witness the opportunistic nature of government-controlled media.

And I understood the effectiveness of the pincer movement executed on Chee Siok Chin.

By Ng E-Jay

Earlier in June, Ms Chee Siok Chin received notice from Stanford University that she had been selected to attend the Stanford Summer Fellows on Democracy and Development Programme which takes place from 28 Jul to 15 Aug. She was one of only 27 candidates selected from over 500 applicants.

However, the Official Assignee’s (OA’s) office saw fit to reject her application for travel, stating “none of these travels have translated into a benefit to your creditors“. Ms Chee was adjudicated a bankrupt in Aug 07 after she was ordered to pay costs over a court case challenging the Government on the Constitutional rights of the four persons who had protested in front of the CPF building in 2005. In the past year, the OA’s office had granted her permission to leave Singapore on several occasions when she had to attend international conferences and meetings.

Ms Chee appealed to Minister for Law, Mr K Shanmugam, stating that the fellowship was crucial for her as part of her research for a book which she is planning to write. “Part of the earnings from the sales of the book will then be made to the benefit of my creditors,” she informed Mr Shanmugam.

The Ministry responded thus: “We regret to inform you that the decision to reject your travel application remains. The OA is not persuaded that your attendance at the fellowship program in Stanford University would result is any substantial additional benefit to your creditors.

The Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) then wrote to the Minister for Law appealing for Ms Chee to be allowed to attend its Summer Fellows Program. The letter, dated 22 July, stated: “Ms Chee has been invited to give a public lecture here at Stanford University, during her stay as a Summer Fellow, with an honorarium of US$2,000 … … Since all of her expenses as a summer fellow will be covered separately, we would assume that her honorarium earnings could be used to help meet her obligations to her creditors upon her return, benefiting all concerned.

So now, the OA has been informed of 2 ways in which Ms Chee’s attendance at the programme could benefit her creditors — she has been awarded an honorarium of US$2,000 which could be made fully available to her creditors as all her travel expenses are separately covered, and part of the proceeds from the sales of her book which she is going to write could also be made available to her creditors.

However, the OA replied and still would not allow Ms Chee to travel. This was followed by a Straits Times article entitled “‘No’ to Stanford trip for Chee’s sister” published on 02 Aug recapitulating the events much as I’ve described thus far.

What does the OA’s office do, now that the sequence of events has been exposed in the national press? They take the fight to the next level.

Malcolm B.H. Tan, the Assistant Official Assignee, wrote a letter to the ST forum dated 05 Aug slamming the ST article for containing many factual errors. He claimed that during Ms Chee’s meeting at the OA’s office on July 3 as part of her application for travel, she refused to give her passport for verification, refused to disclose how she would be paying for her trip, and refused to verify information concerning her income and expenditure.

The letter by the OA’s office also unceremoniously disclosed the total amount Ms Chee owed her creditors, a move tantamount to infringement of privacy.

And to top the icing on the cake, the Assistant OA claimed that Ms Chee “did not mention her US$2,000 honorarium during the interview on July 3. It surfaced only after her application was rejected. By then, she had clearly demonstrated her unwillingness to cooperate.

How much truth is there in the Assistant OA’s statements? I will leave it to readers to judge, based on Ms Chee’s reply which is attached below:

Mr Malcolm Tan’s distorted version of my meeting with the OA’s office is misleading.

He says that I had refused to give my passport for verification. This is a lie. One of the officers had asked to go through my passport. As the majority of my travels had taken place before my bankruptcy, she had no right to peruse it.

I therefore flagged the pages of my passport which contained my travels that took place after my bankruptcy and went through these with the officers. None of them objected.

One officer said that she merely wanted to confirm if I had gone on the trips where the travel permits were approved. I confirmed that I had gone on each of those trips.

It is clear that Mr Tan is not telling the truth.

Mr Tan also accuses me of not telling them who was paying for my trip. Again, this is an outright lie.

I had submitted to the OA’s office on no less than four occasions the letter from Stanford University telling me that the university was paying for my trip. In part, the letter read:

“As mentioned, CDDRL (Centre on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law) will cover the cost of your air and ground transportation. We will also buy a health insurance on your behalf …You should not really need much money since all of your meals, transportation, and housing are covered by the program.”

Contrary to what Mr Tan said in his letter, I never refused to answer who was paying for my trip to Stanford. Mr Tan is quite shameless in covering up the fact that the OA had full knowledge of this matter.

Mr Tan also says that I had refused to verify information of my income and expenditure statement. At the meeting, one of the officers told me that my creditors had wanted to know who was helping me financially. She said that if they wanted to remain anonymous, all I had to do was to put that in writing. That was done in my email to the officers on 9 July 2008.

How have I refused to verify the information requested?

The officers at the OA must come clean about why it refused my travel application to Stanford University. The initial reason they gave was that my previous trips had not benefited my creditors.

But after I sent them the letter from Stanford saying that the university would pay me an honorarium so that I could use that to pay the creditors, the OA changes tack and now says that the reason I was refused the travel permit was that I had been uncooperative.

Such flip-flopping is offensive.

To add insult to injury Mr Tan reveals the figures owed to my creditors. I remind Singaporeans that I was made bankrupt by the AG’s Chambers over a court challenge on a Constitutional matter, not because of my own private dealings.

Still, it is wholly unethical for the OA’s office to make public what they have been privately entrusted to manage. What has the information anything to do with this case? Even then, Mr Tan cannot get the figures right which adds to his unprofessionalism.

Lest the OA’s office forgets, the Insolvency and Public Trustee’s Office is a body that is supposed to serve citizens. It is not a vehicle to further the agenda of the ruling party.

Chee Siok Chin
Singapore Democratic Party

By Charles Tan

The more oppressive this government becomes, the more determined I am to break the shackles of repression. The tyranny that exists here has also called up strength and will in me that I never thought I had – Siok Chin, ‘The best place to be during those 72 hours’

At the European Parliamentary Democracy Caucus hearing in Brussels, Belgium in March this year, Chee Siok Chin, a member of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) voiced out concerns about regional leaders such as Mr Nong Duc Manh of Vietnam, former Thai prime minister Thaksin, and Hun Sen of Cambodia of emulating Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his party’s authoritarian rule (CALD 2008).

While she has received less attention as compared to her brother, Dr Chee Soon Juan, her commitment to defending human rights in Singapore is equally outstanding.

Her foray into politics can be dated to 2001 when she became the only female Opposition to run in that year’s General Elections. There had been a hiatus of 10 years prior to that occurence – in 1991, SDP fielded another women candidate, Toh Kim Kiat against the ruling party. In that election, she had focused on educational issues for her campaign given her experience in the teaching service for more than 12 years. After working in the sector, she was obliged to voice out her dissatisfactions against its overtly elitist approach (Think Centre 2002).

Over the years, she had grown to become a more ardent critic of PAP and a outspoken activist who has engaged in non-violent actions and to highlight the regime’s repressive and autocratic rule.

In 2005, together with 3 other activists, they made history by conducting a silent lunch time protest outside the Singapore’s Central Provident Fund (CPF – a national pension fund scheme) building demanding accountability and transparency from the Singapore government, especially in the way it manages the national reserves.

As she relates the incident, after the police had arrived and confiscated their t-shirts, the whole protest was, in her opinion, ‘… Priceless because they will always remind us of the day the four of us found our courage and stood up to demand accountability and transparency from the Singapore government’ (Chee 2005).

A year later, she was also involved in the Singapore- IMF protests which culminated in a 72 hours standoff with the local police. The demands echoed her earlier calls – not just government accountability, but also to take care of the poor and respect citizens’ rights to freedom of speech and assembly (Chee 2006).

In the 2006 elections, she raised the stakes by taking the PAP government to court for conducting an undemocratic election. As she puts it, the ruling party has been using ‘threats and vote-buying tactics that are clearly unconstitutional. All these have been going on since 1997 and it is about time someone checks on how this government uses taxpayers’ money for its own electioneering purpose…’ (Wong 2006).

Her political activism and appeal to the Singapore government to be more open, accountable and respecting citizen’s rights to civil and political liberties has raised the ire of the authorities.

Together with her brother, Dr Chee (who is sentenced to 12 days), she has been convicted ‘for contempt of court’ and imprisoned for 10 days in their cross- examination of the Lees (the Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew and Prime Minister, son, Lee Hsien Loong) for the court case in which the latter has sued for defamation (SDP 2008).

Her devotion to promoting human rights and democracy can be summed up in an IS magazine interview, “I want to create awareness among Singaporeans that they have rights that they should claim and exercise. Don’t let other people brainwash and control you. Own your own mind because if people don’t have a sense of ownership over their own country, then people will move away and we will lose valuable talent…” (IS Magazine n.d.).

===

Works Cited

CALD 2008, Chee Siok Chin in Brussels:Democrats need to pay attention to Singapore, created 5 March, accessed 5 June 2008
.

Think Centre 2002, Only Woman Opposition Candidate in GE 2001, created 12 January, accessed 5 June 2008.

Chee, S. C. 2005, ‘A Protest in Sunny Singapore’, Singabloodypore blog, 12 August, accessed 5 June 2008.

Chee, S. C. 2008, ‘Confessions of a Singapore Protestor III – The best place to be during those 72 hours’, Singapore Democrats, 5 October, accessed 5 June 2008.

Wong, F 2006, ‘Chee Siok Chin takes legal action against PAP’s electioneering, Reuters News, 24 May, accessed 6 June 2008.

‘PRISONER 5925 in good spirits at Changi Women’s Prison’, Singapore Democrats, 6 June 2008, accessed 6 June 2008.

‘How it feels to be a social activist’, IS magazine, accessed 6 June 2008.

Source: Singapore Democrats

Even though it’s her first experience in jail, Prisoner 5925 is in good spirits at Changi Women’s Prison. Ms Chee Siok Chin, who was jailed for contempt of court on Wednesday, 4 June, is lodged in a cell together with two women from China, spending time for overstaying offences.

On the second day, Ms Chee who is tagged as Prisoner 5925, was allowed a family visit yesterday afternoon. Dr Chee’s three children with their mother Dr Huang Chih Mei were able to interact with Ms Chee through video conferencing for close to thirty minutes.

The prison authorities, who had refused to let Ms Chee have her books in the cubicle on the first day, returned them just before the family visit. Prisoner 5925 is also being treated for her tooth infection that had dogged her throughout the three-day hearing to assess damages in a defamation suit by Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Loong against the SDP, Dr Chee and Ms Chee.

On the last day of the hearing on 28 May, Justice Belinda Ang committed both Dr Chee and Ms Chee for contempt of court, including that of having acted “vigorously” in their cross-examination of the Lees. Subsequently Dr Chee and Ms Chee were found guilty by Justice Ang and sentenced to 12 days and 10 days in jail respectively.

Last night, more than 30 activists, SDP members, friends and well-wishers held a candlelight vigil outside the prison where Ms Chee is being detained. Among them was Mr Gopalan Nair, who is presently on bail for seditious charges.

Tonight, a similar vigil will be held at the Queenstown Remand Prison where Dr Chee Soon Juan is incarcerated. The public is encouraged to turn up and light a candle for democracy.

Ms Chee is expected to be released on next Friday, 13 Jun.

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