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.

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Source: Reuters

A candidate from the opposition Singapore Democratic Party has appealed to the court to annul the results of the May 6 parliament election, which it says was undemocratic.

Chee Siok Chin, sister of SDP leader Chee Soon Juan, submitted an application to the High Court on Tuesday, asking that “the results of the General Elections, 2006, be declared null and void” on the basis that it was not free and fair.

“During the time of polling, there were many 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,” Chee told Reuters.

In court documents seen by Reuters, Chee accused the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) of intimidating opposition voters by warning them that wards which elect an opposition candidate will be last in line for state-subsidised improvements, after all PAP-held wards are attended to.

The government has repeatedly said that upgrading housing estates is a PAP-initiated program, so those who support the PAP would be accorded higher priority, given budget constraints.

Opposition politicians have criticised the upgrading programme as an unfair tactic and say that development projects, such as housing upgrades, are paid for with public funds and should be for all citizens rather than doled out as privileges to party supporters.

DOLING OUT MONEY

Chee’s application also accused the PAP of doling out money ahead of the past two elections.

In February, Lee launched a S$2.6 billion ($1.65 billion) budget spending package, including S$800 in cash for almost half the nation’s households and a bonus for army conscripts. The handouts were deposited in Singaporeans’ bank accounts on May 1, five days before the election was held.

The government has repeatedly denied the budget package was a vote-winning ploy, and has said the payout was meant to prepare Singapore citizens for the long-term challenges of globalisation.

Chee also asked the court to declare the recent ban on political podcasts and videocasts during the election period as unconstitutional, because the law violated individuals’ rights to free speech as guaranteed under the constitution.

“I believe that such acts are tantamount to intimidation, bribery and censorship, which contravenes the Parliamentary Elections Act,” Chee said in the court application.

The PAP — led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, son of the modern city-state’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew — won 66.6 percent of the votes cast in the recent poll, down from 75.3 percent in the previous election in 2001.

The party, which has dominated parliament since independence in 1965, won 82 out of the 84 seats in parliament, the same number of seats it had in the outgoing parliament.

The SDP has no seats in parliament and won 23 percent of the vote in the wards it contested.

A 41-year old civil activist, Chee and her brother are facing a defamation lawsuit launched by Lee and his father over what the Lees say are accusations of corruption in an article in the SDP’s newsletter.