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Condolences to the Family of Lawyer Lo Hwei Yen and the Puhaindran Family

Two days back when i heard of the terrorist strikes in Mumbai, i thought to myself “this madness has begun again” but “luckily it did not happen here since we are also surrounded by coastline”.

I had an acquaintance in Mumbai, as he was a local there, i did not think that he would be targetted as it was obvious that the attack on Mumbai, targetted because it was a financial centre, the targets of terror would usually be foreigners. I was somewhat convinced that this chaos and madness was an ocean and several thousand miles away.

Yesterday i found out that there was a Singaporean hostage, i prayed for the safety of the fellow Singaporean. When I later found that that she was a fellow lawyer, I cannot deny that i was even more concerned. i could not help but sympathize that the world has become so unsafe for globetrotting professionals who are merely trying to make the best out of their lives be threatened with danger by extremist elements whom obviously have no stake in the well-being and success of Mumbai and the world – how else would one resort to such suicidal acts of harm?

Last night when i heard the news, that this fellow lawyer had died as a hostage, I was extremely saddened by the death of a fellow countryman.

When the Straits Times rolled out this morning, i was greeted with another shock. I saw that the family name of the lawyer’s husband was Puhaindran. I feared for the worst that it was the family that my parents knew.

I knew that both my parents knew the Puhaindrans from a long time back. I also remembered when i was in law school my mum did ask me several times whether i knew one of my seniors by the name of Michael Puhaindran whose mother was acquainted with mine and who were staying on the same street. I did not. I did not care much then, since the workload in law school was already more than i could handle.

When my parents read the papers, i confirmed that indeed it was the same family.

I have never met Mr. Michael Puhaindran, but I knew that the Puhaindrans and us once stayed on the same street. There were a couple more NUS law grads staying around here. Though the Puhaindrans have since moved away, their acqauintance with my parents and brought the tragedy so close to home.

I see the from the fact that the Puhaindran family is closely connected with the ruling party and Mr. Puhaindran Senior is Goh Chok Tong’s grassroots member. I stand strictly on the other side of politics but i cannot help by offer my sincerest condolences to the Lo family and the Puhaindran family for what could have been a successful and fulfilling life to be lost so early.

I have often surmised and rationalised my own personal tribulations and losses. I cannot help but acknowledge that my tribulations pale in comparison to that of the grieving families.

I hereby offer my sincerest condolences to the Puhaindran and Lo families: My prayers are for your grief to be assuaged by God in due time and that may not this loss stop you from living life in fear but instead that you will go forward to live it even more fully.

Just when i was complaining of a burdensome workload in the light of so many actions and my recently ill health. This is a little reminder to me of how much more fortunate i am.

This fragility of life is something all of us have to bear in mind. To remember not to waste time, to care for the things that matter, to do what is right, to take time to smell the flowers, to pursue your happiness, and to live life to the fullest.

You won’t know when the Lord decides to call for you.

November 29, 2008 Posted by | Life | 5 Comments

Kangaroo T-Shirts and the Established Pecking Order

Three of my friends: John Tan Liang Joo, Muhammad Shafi’ie Syahmi Bin Sariman, Isrizal Bin Mohamed Isa were convicted of contempt of Court.

John Tan was sentenced to 15 days imprisonment and Rizal and Shafi’ie 1 week’s imprisonment in the High Court before the Honourable Justice Judith Prakash at Court 6B yesterday. The 3 contemnors were also ordered to pay S$5,000/- costs each and disbursements to the Attorney General.

I represented Muhammad Shafi’ie Syahmi Bin Sariman in the case and this is my side of the story.

Their indictment was for wearing shirts depicting the picture of a kangaroo in Judge’s robes.

Right from the start, when the picture came to be published and police investigations began, there were different views and interpretations. Some never saw anything wrong with that shirt. Some felt it was open to interpretation. Some felt that it was clear.

In my opinion, the only plausible interpretation of the image is obvious but it is not the most pressing issue of concern to me. As an officer of the court, there were more serious implications flowing from the manner in which the case developed and was prosecuted.

In this case, the scandalising material is not in the form of an article but the image of a kangaroo in judge’s robes. The image on the T-shirt was found to be material contemptuous of the Court.

As far as the law was concerned, it is clear that all cases where there was contemptuous material which scandalises the Court is published – the publisher of the offending material will be liable for contempt as well.

There is absolutely no defence available to the publisher [who does so in the course of trade and for profit] of any form, be it inadvertence, lack of intention or knowledge or even any attempt of fair comment or justification.

The glaring facts of the case are as follows:

26th May 2008, the trio donned their kangaroo t-shirts.

27th May 2008, the Straits Times published an article on the suit between Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Loong and SDP, Chee Soon Juan and Chee Siok Chin and the article carried the picture of the trio in the Kangaroo t-shirts.

The Police, either acting on their own accord or at the direction of the Honourable Attorney-General, initiated investigations into the actions of the 3 kangaroo shirts sometime in June 2008.

Pursuant to the investigations being conducted, the SDP carried an article on 22nd June 2008 on its website with a picture of the trio as a matter of fact on the investigations being conducted. This was done in the same manner as it is in respect of reporting by the Straits Times [but not in the course of trade or for profit].

At the first hearing on 4th November 2008, i submitted to the Court and copied to the Attorney General’s DPPs my submission for Shafi’ie with the clear position that if Shafi’ie was guilty of contempt, the Straits Times would be guilty of even greater contempt and that there was no reason why the Attorney General is not taking action against the Straits Times.

This position was made clear for a good 20 days before the hearing came to be heard on 24th November 2008.

On 24th November 2008, I presented my submissions the Deputy Solicitor General presented his submissions. The Honourable Justice Judith Prakash found the trio guilty of contempt of Court. The Court adjourned the matter till 27th November 2008 for consideration on the punishment to be meted out.

The mainstream media then carried again the reports relating to this indictment. But in doing so there were some very glaring points which they had omitted giving, thereby concealing the full story, especially in the case of Straits Times.

I had as solicitor on record for Muhamman Shafi’ie cited to the Court and to the Attorney-General’s Chambers that action by the Straits Times in publishing the offending picture of the T-shirt is in itself contempt with no defence whatsoever at law: no justification, no fair comment defence unlike that in defamation cases.

This legal position was clear in all the legal precedents English, Commonwealth and local. This formed the trust of my argument was that Straits Times being the publisher ought to be taken to task.

The Straits Times obviously wanted to play down this point. In its report of 25th November 2008 by Goh Chin Lian, it sought to portray that the three contemnors had attempted to push the blame to the press for printing the photograph.

It obviously did not report on the fact of my representation of Shafi’ie as well as the point of law which was so very clear.

Yet disingenuously, it chooses to follow a path that confirms that my reading of the law and submission thereon was correct.

If my opinion is incorrect, why did not the Deputy Solicitor General and his 4 DPPs refute this point?

If my opinion is incorrect, why would the Straits Times in its reports of 25th November 2008 refuse to republish the said picture but instead used other pictures of the trio taken on a separate occasion?

If my opinion is incorrect, why did Today’s report on 25th November 2008 so strategically crop the photo until the Kangaroos were out of sight?

If my opinion is incorrect, why would neither newspaper publish the same picture on its reports of 25th November 2008 and 28th November 2008?

In fact, i would say that it is wise of them to not every publish the offending image ever again.

As an officer of the Court, i would thought that the brazen contempt by Straits Times would be very so clear to the Attorney General’s Chambers but this was not. It is very disappointing to say the least least that the Deputy Solicitor General plus 4 other DPPs refused failed and or neglected to address this point.

It is my view that it is manifestly is wrong for “the guardian of public interest and defender of the Judiciary” to overlook brazen publication of contemptuous material by the government sanctioned media and instead choose to put the latter on the pedestal.

As correctly pointed out by the Deputy Solicitor General, the Judiciary is unable to come forward to defend itself. It is, therefore, the duty of the Attorney General’s Chambers to do so.

Therefore, should the Attorney General’s Chambers steadfastly refuse to haul the Straits Times into Court for punishment for contempt, then their attack on the judiciary goes unpunished and the mainstream media will be due to its links with the PAP be emboldened to adopt a cavalier attitude towards the Judiciary in its reporting so long as it perceives that it is correctly screwing the opponents of the PAP.

As such, and until the Attorney-General’s Chambers decides to do something to defend the honour of the Supreme Court, there is nothing that the Honourable Justice Judith Prakash as well as the other honourable members of the bench to do anything with regards to the Straits Times.

From this selective prosecution of persons and the continued inaction of the Attorney-General’s Chambers towards the Straits Times, we can surmise that a certain pecking order vis-a-vis the two has been established.

None of the media reports, CNA and newspapers had mentioned that the Attorney General’s Chambers had chosen request at the end of its submissions a jail term of up to 3 months and S$30,000 costs to be paid jointly and severally by all 3 contemnors.

The $30,000 costs was submitted by the Deputy Solicitor General to be an appropriate figure for the present case because this was what the Attorney General obtained before the Honourable Justice Tay Yong Kwang when the Wall Street Journal case was argued successfully against Philip Jeyaretnam SC.

In the end, the Honourable Justice Judith Prakash had given only 15 days and 7 days jail sentences. She further awarded only S$5,000/- costs each to the Attorney General’s Chambers. In doing so, we do not know whather Justice Judith Prakash had in mind another other contemnor who would be deserving of the 3 month imprisonment and S$30,000 costs as suggested by the Deputy Solicitor General.

I cannot surmise how the Honourable Attorney General, the Deputy Solicitor General and the rest of the AGC’s DPPs and APPs think but It is certainly not flattering for an institution of public nature, the illustrious office of the Attorney General, to be perceived by the public to be restrained and in awe of a mere Straits Times.

It would certainly be even more unflattering for the Honourable Judiciary in the light of the glaring facts of selective prosecution view “the Guardian of Public interest and Defender of the Judiciary”, the Attorney-General’s Chambers in the same manner.

November 28, 2008 Posted by | Politics | 4 Comments

Riding Out the Financial Crisis – Part 2

This article first appeared under http://www.yoursdp.org as a contribution to their Vantage page. This article is now reproduced for the benefit of the readers of this blog.

I did my second surrender of another insurance policy last week. This time round the net worth was another measly S$6,000 or so. The loss in premiums paid up was probably about S$4,000 plus. I will probably keep this amount close at hand in cold hard cash.

A friend who knew about my dilemma had commented that I did not have much to show after investing in my insurance for a good nine years. This is undeniable. It is a settled fact that I had lost money on the deal.

But the silver lining in my loss, I replied to him, was that even though I lost money, I was at least losing my own money and not money that did not belong to me.

I was referring specifically to the bungled investments unraveling before us over the last few weeks: Temasek Holdings botched investment in ABC Learning – an over-hyped Australian childcare provider – and PAP-run town councils $12-million losses in investments over Lehman-linked products.

There are also other investment decisions of Temasek and GIC that have turned out horribly wrong. And these are the ones that we know about. Are there others which the mainstream media have chosen to whitewash?

These events reveal how gullible those who manage our funds are. At the very least they are not the extra bright sparks that the PAP keeps touting them to be. They are very much like us. The only difference is that are thick-skinned enough to keep portraying themselves as special and paying themselves obscene salaries.

When the error of their ways is pointed out they respond by challenging their critics to come up with alternatives without so much much as acknowledging their wrongs. “What would you have done?” or “Do you think you could have done better?”

The burden is now placed on the critic to produce an alternative direction or solution while the wrongdoer is absolved of his or her act. Such an approach is seriously wrong.

But I remember making the same mistake. I had previously challenged my friend to come up with a better and alternative way of investing his money. He remained silent and did not reply me then.

I have since found out that he had kept his spare change from each day in large glass and earthenware containers, doubling them up as visual displays of his wealth. Today, he may have lost out on a little interest but the capital of his savings remains intact – not a cent less.

I’m not advocating that we should all stash our savings in some piggy bank at home but I think you get my point. Sometimes, listening to the hype-of-the-day and rushing headlong with the masses to make more money from what we have rightfully earned only to burn when financial fires burst from the “investments” may not be such a wise thing to do.

More often than not, investments mirror a game of chess. Time should be taken to consider what is the next best move. For to make the correct decision after careful deliberation is far better than to rush to procure fools’ gold.

My friend is not highly qualified but wisdom showed in his actions. The same cannot be said about the much-touted leaders in the GIC, Temasek and town councils. Given that the Government continues to boast how talented these folks are, their failure to safeguard the people’s money should be investigated and their ability to govern questioned.

Unfortunately because of the authoritarian system all we can do now is to sit back, strap up and steel ourselves for more news of serious financial errors.

November 26, 2008 Posted by | Life | Leave a comment

Riding Out the Financial Crisis – Part 1

This article first appeared on http://www.yoursdp.org as a contribution to the SDP website. It is now republished hereinbelow for the benefit of the readers of this blog.

Year 2008 is a year of change, of forced consolidation and rebirth.

Out of university in 1998, I entered the workforce in 1999 fresh with memories of having to work part-time throughout my practice law course. The economy was still feeling the effects of the Asian financial crisis.

Still reeling with pessimism and anxiety of the unknown, I structured my financial life around life insurance policies that I thought would give me protection and future income. The result was low liquidity which mandated low expenses on my part.

Aiming to have low expenses was itself noble and I had long given up dreams of a big house and a flashy car. I did, however, manage to pamper myself a little with my hobby with audio systems which led to a further depreciation of the contents in my wallet.

Through these disciplined times, I carried the faith that life may be austere now but my retirement should tend towards being easy and comfortable. Through the past 9 years, in good times and bad, I kept the faith and stayed the course.

Until now, that is.

Life has its way of making plans fall apart. Over the past weeks, I watched the subprime meltdown unravel. Not being a risk-taker myself, I was never comfortable about over-stretching my financial commitments and was spared the heartache of losing money in risky financial purchases. But my relief did not last very long.

I had expected property prices to fall – and they did. I had also expected stock markets to fall – and they did. But I never expected banks all over the world to fail – which they did one after another, relying on their governments to prop them up. As the crisis developed, it became clear that even insurance companies would not be spared. That was when alarm bells rang for me.

The Singapore Government’s move to guarantee deposits placed with local banks till 2010 did not reassure me. In fact, it had the opposite effect. In life, the bank often plays the role of the lender and its customers, if they are borrowers, need to guarantee the money that they borrow.

In the current situation, it’s the other way around. The banks now need to guarantee their customers that they will have money to pay them back. Why the need to guarantee bank deposits unless something is very wrong within the financial system?

Then the world’s largest insurer AIG had to be bailed out. What occurred after the bailout disgusted me. The executives of AIG chose to spend the emergency funds extended to them by treating themselves to a luxury spa, racking up a bill of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The reality hit home. If the insurer’s top executives care more about their own luxury than the company’s future, how safe is our hard-earned money placed with them?

The attractive figures of projected returns of the policies are meaningless for they are not guaranteed. Would I want to risk my capital merely for a chance of a non-guaranteed return in some far off future time especially in this present climate of uncertainty?

I accepted the wise advice of a friend and did what was hitherto unthinkable – I surrendered my life insurance policies.

This was not an easy task. I had to visit the insurer’s office three times. This was strange for me because I had invested much time consulting and studying their products. I knew the amount I invested in the policies and twice I backed out of surrendering them.

On my third visit, I succeeded by reminding myself that my purpose was to insulate myself from the global financial rout and cut my losses should those entities collapse – the way Bear Sterns, Lehman Bros, Washington Mutual etc did.

Will more banks collapse? Nobody really knows. But in the backdrop of this financial climate, as long as I cashed out, my money would be safe and I would not be placed at the mercy of the financial system should the worst happen.

Thus, my initial round of giving up my policies netted me a measly S$20,000, suffering capital loss on the premiums paid over the years, loss of interest on the same and the opportunity cost. On hindsight, I may have been better off depositing my money in the bank rather than buying life insurance but I console myself that I did benefit from being protected during the years that the policies were in force.

Having cash at hand and in my hands, I felt I had recovered a little more control over my life and influence over my own destiny. I would use the cash to redeem the mortgage on my flat and seek to be debt free and in essence consolidate my assets for simplicity in management.

And I can start anew and prepare for the changes that will come. One needs to be ready.

November 25, 2008 Posted by | Life | Leave a comment

PAPa Dun Kick [the Bucket] yet, I am in trouble you see….

Let us just summarise the events of the recent days. We have the following happening:

1. The shameless announcement of reduction of electricity tariffs, this has come after the previous shameless increase in electricity tariffs in the backdrop of falling oil prices, when in the first place our stations are gas fired.

2. The bringing forward of the budget. I spoke to several associates and found out that i have overlooked the recent bringing forward of the budget. This is most unusual. Some friends think that this signals the intention to bundle out the goodies to our materialistic population and then ask for mandate to face the shit that is to come in Singapore’s path.

3. Rubbish statements from Lee Hsien Loong – for example like the 2 party system can never work in Singapore. We are better off with a one dominant party.

All these point to pre-election jitters from the PAP. These are signs of a cowardly ruling party leveraging again on public resources and tall tales to fool the population. Well, I don’t know how many of them will start crying on nomination day but that is not the point.

Basically, Lee Hsien Loong isn’t confident of the worm ridden ship that he is now helming. He needs to drag old father off his dying bed to ask for the comfort of having him negotiate that impending shallows nearing from the distance. Though the Old Sea Dog being the experienced mariner will pull the worm ridden ship through this time round, I am sure that the wheels of motion have been set in place – The prevalence of self-centredness and lack of public service spirit that permeates through the administration will set itself for its eventual doom.

The essence of calling for snap elections would be to secure power and mandate to ride through the uncertainty [for themselves] and not so much of having the mandate of the people to give out goodies. Has anybody ever wondered why they never consult us when they choose to increase the cost of living but they claim to need your vote before they can return a pittance of your money back to you? 🙂

Our brothers and sisters have yet to awaken. A number of people i spoke to have yet to see the flaws created. Some persist to perpetuate them either by reason of their work or by simply by choice.

If the failings of this administration is not clear enough yet, we would have to continue to persevere and wait to watch the dominoes fall.

There are too many failings within this administration. It does not matter if the PAP were to hold on for one more term. It merely means that it was the Singaporeans who have not woken up set up the country for a harder fall. Everyone in the administration who helps to keep the PAP in power and perpetuate the myths of the PAP and the misgivings within its system are also responsible for pushing the nation into dangerous waters.

It is with this backdrop of pessimism that i would make the prediction that in the next snap election to be called, with a heavily tweaked electoral system, the results would be the same. No new seats will be won by the opposition.

This does not mean that the PAP will get more confident and better because of the win. In fact it will be worse, they can continue to fatten themselves on their huge salaries and continue their abomination of Singapore’s system. This is good. This is the natural progression of things. There is no avoiding it.

For change to come, change must come from Singaporeans themselves. Singaporeans can continue to think that the PAP is the only party who can run Singapore. Singaporeans will pay dearly for their continued returning of the PAP to power. The PAP will not just run singapore, it will RUIN Singapore.

The PAP will persist in its policies of being the PESTS AND PARASITES that it is so effective at sucking the blood of the Singaporean people. This will set the stage for real change to come. The bullshit will pile up. The cock ups will continue and the Singaporeans will continue to bleed either through taxes or through even more badly made investment decisions by Temasek and GIC. This will be so such that when the shit hits the fan, even the staunchest PAP supporter will have to decide that this administration has to go.

This time round, the PAP will again make very grand promises to help the people. This will come in several hundred or thousands of dollars of benefits to each potential elector. Subsequent thereafter, there will be another string of price increases to bleed Singaporeans to cough out what they were given multifold. This will be a repeat of the 2001/2006 General Elections. Alot of fanfare but no real progress.

Until Singaporeans [including our opposition] realise the shit dished out to us is only a FRACTION of that which has been covered up throughout all these years and that the people’s power can only come in assembling in thousands to kick the asses of the PAP, no real change will come. Mark my words.

November 17, 2008 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

Strong Leaders = Strong Reserves??? ha ha :)

This morning i stumbled out of bed to another joke awaiting me, this time on page 2 of the main section in Straits Times.

ST’s Chua Lee Hong again was up to her ball-carrying antics of trying to shore up a falling administration. Her logic is to compare Singapore with places like Burma and pat ourselves firmly on the back for having strong leaders.

Her article makes the assumptions that we are in a strong position with strong reserves, and interestingly she avoids mentioning the recent investments we had made with whatever is left of the same.

There is a chinese saying that “Even a gold mountain can be spent away” is so true for Singapore so long as one chooses to just look at the amount of dollars we squandered over the past few years.

It is the recent trend of speech of the administration to clutch at straws to justify their continued presence in government. I.e. We need strong leaders, we need an A-team, only the best will do, need to build next generation leadership, and now strong leaders = strong reserves. 🙂

As the saying goes, the truly confident will not need to beg.

All such talk reek of desperation and of having to beg the electorate to give you another chance. As if there is going to be an impending big cock up soon 🙂 The little movements of Chua Lee Hong will betray the deepest fears of the PAP administration.

Furthermore, it does not bode well for the human spirit and psyche to beg on one hand and yet boast on  the other. This will painfully split the psyche, orientation and logic of the brain and further impede the ability to solve problems of the day. 🙂

Strong leaders usually stay silent. Never boast but perform through action.

Weak leaders boast. Often the breast beating kind. Especially the kind that calls on memories of past long forgotten glories.

Weak and useless leaders are not capable of boasting, so they pay others to boast.

If there has been breast beating boast of having strong reserves, the opposite is usually true. 🙂

As we will never know the true strength of our leaders and our reserves until they are tested, let us not get too cocky. Keep on harping that your leaders and reserves are strong will prompt God will spit in your face to test them for real.

P. S. I would not try to guess how much reserves we have left, I would rather let the figures spill out on their own so to facilitate the timely awakening of Singaporeans to the useless administration that has been having us on for decades.

November 10, 2008 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

Ti Lik’s Doomsday Predictions

I, Chia Ti Lik, hereby have the following to say:-

That I having engaged in acts of Civil Disobedience against the administration of Singapore, have invited upon myself the ridicule of critics (ruling party and opposition alike) and the disdain of the mainstream obedient population, plus the unenviable situation of being charged for the acts of defiance by the State and organs of the State, and to have the distasteful suspense of my mobile phone and digital camera being detained while they depreciate, it has now dawned upon me the urgency of another mission.

This mission is a higher calling. One of speaking of the ills of the system openly, loudly, and urgently whilst the sword of Damocles hangs over me to cut my head off at the opportune moment. I now find myself impelled to warn all other Singaporeans of the Swords hanging over their heads.

Quite a long time ago, I made a declaration that i intended to write on my doomsday predictions for Singapore. From that point until now this article has remained half written given the tight schedule that i had. I forced myself to complete it this sunday afternoon.

My mum will always condemn me for wanting to be the know-it-all soothsayer, I wish to state that i wrote this for a certain audience – for those who appreciate and understand. You do not have to agree with me but let us just read this posting and sleep on it.

What is wrong with Singapore? Such a question should weigh in the minds of all Singaporeans these days especially when we take note of the fact that:-

A long time ago i declared that i would write on my Doomsday Predictions for Singapore.

Several months back Tony Tan remarked that Singapore could be in for a prolonged recession 🙂

Singapore is now in for a recession with job cuts everywhere. 🙂

Singapore’s economy is deeply flawed, we have a deeply flawed government and flawed institutions of the State, we have our reserves invested in a lack of accountable manner, our people have been hopelessly materialistic and we are now caught in this financial thunderstorm. It is only a matter of time before everything starts crumbling down. Falling like a stack of cards.

I would inform everyone that i have started to liquidate my assets, surrender my insurance policies to pay off debt and keep cash at hand. When the rot really strikes home, i probably would be holding my savings in gold and dealing in gold.

That’s how little faith i have in our PAP administration.

Before critics berate me for being pessimistic or attempting to rumour monger. Lets just get it clear that this is just my personal opinion. [Which i happen to be putting my money where my mouth is]

I am only too happy to be proven wrong in time to come. 🙂

Furthermore, in order to help everyone with the little bit of wisdom which i have on frugality and austerity measures, i have committed to contribute a series of articles to Singapore Democratic Party’s Website which will reach out to a far wider audience than my blog. These articles will chronicle my exploits into riding out this financial storm. Therefore, to know what i am doing with my money, keep a close watch on http://www.yoursdp.org in the days to come.

November 9, 2008 Posted by | Politics | 1 Comment

TBT Trial – the 7th day and then we rested :)

After seven days of trial intermittently spread over 2 weeks, we finally got to the stage where we had to have the 2nd tranche of trial dates fixed.

ST’s Report by Jeremy Au Yong certainly tries to portray the entire event in the worst light at every opportunity. On the two occasions that ST attended at the trial to report on it, their report acts to skew to show the accuseds in a negative light. This must be contrasted with the fact that the ST consciously tries to play up Hong Lim Park as a demonstration Corner with correspondingly good press for certain groups.

ST must realise why it suffers from the need of falling readership as well as the need to raise its prices. This is because more and more people are becoming aware of the skewed reporting. This reporting harms the reported but like every equal and opposite reaction, the credibility of the paper drops further into the depths.

It is quite amazing no one ever questioned why the PAP Government would relent to give Hong Lim Park as a free demonstration zone, it is simply because they cannot afford to have demonstrations all over the place. And they are hoping that the demonstrations could be pigeonholed at the insignificant spot in the city.

It is also apt to note that Hong Lim Park was given as a demonstration zone after Singapore saw its biggest dissident demonstration amounting up to 30 persons or so at Parliament House on 15th March 2008, though the PAP would hate to admit it – it would be apt that this demonstration won for Singaporeans this corner at Hong Lim Park.

Demonstrations count most when they strike at the seat of power – Exactly at Parliament House, the Supreme Court, The Istana, at Police Stations even ) This will be where true activists will descend upon when the time is right for the PAP and its cronies to be beaten back into retreat.

On the subject of retreats, the TBT trial went into retreat after the 2nd day, with the amount of arguments on the type of questions to be argued recorded and the shameless persistence of the Prosecution in covering up for the failings of the Singapore Police Force, i have decided that i have no choice but to write an analytical article on the Prosecutor’s office i.e. the Attorney General’s Chambers’  relations with the Singapore Police Force as well as other organs of the State.

This article is certainly going to rile some in time to come but as all things critical it only hurts because its true.

Right now there is just so much to write, many ideas and articles will come soon, that’s only if i have the time ) The trial has been adjourned till the 26th February 2009 till 12th March 2009, as it is i am also involved in several contempt of court matters 🙂 from the way it is going , there is certainly no letting up.

November 9, 2008 Posted by | Politics | 1 Comment

TBT Trial – 5th and 6th days

30th and 31st October 2008 was the 5th and 6th day of the trial.

On 30th October 2008 we appeared before the Court. I was not ready to address the Court on its request for clarification on the way it phrased the constitutional issue.

Interestingly, the counsel representing Suraya, Jaslyn and Francis addressed the court on the constitutional point. The essence of their submission is that they agree with the prosecution with the exception of one small point – that the questions may not reveal evidence to avail a defence but the right remains on the Defence to show mala fides or bad faith in the manner of denying the permit.

Surprised as i was of the move to address the Court on the constitutionality of the statute, I had to think very quickly on what it meant. If i had adopted the position of my learned friends, i would have been conceding on the point of constitutionality of the MOA, the constitutionality of the actions of the prosecution and also the relevance of unequal treatment by the prosecution to a case and Article 12.

I came to the quick conclusion that i can never concede that Article 12 was not violated and that the constitutionality of the Miscellaneous Offences Act is suspect even though i have not made my application to void the proceedings on violation of the Constitution as yet.

Given the very fact that defence counsel of some of the accused supported the prosecution’s interpretation of the law on the constitutionality of the Act in question, does that leave effectively me as the only lawyer willing to challenge the prosecution on the consitutionality of its actions? It would be a sad thing for Singapore if this was true.

I reiterated to the Court that i needed time to address the issues properly. The Judge did not grant any additional time. I guess this would have to be taken up accordingly in time to come.

In any event, at that stage where Article 12 violation was the issue, the Judge did not frame the question to address the violation of Article 12 instead the question was framed as “in construing the constitutionality of the Act in question, whether the actions of the persons implementing the Act thereunder were relevant.”

Suffice to say, the issue would have been phrased differently if i were the judge but sadly i am not.

The cross-examination continued after that. At approximately 3pm after lunch on the 6th day. SDP ASG John Tan requested for additional time to address the bundles of documents served on him outside the Courthouse when we broke for lunch at 1pm. John Tan made a comment about there being no honour in an unfair fight, DPP Issac Tan then asked John if he was suggesting that the AG-C or himself was dishonourable.

I butted in to object to the intimidation of John Tan. I did not mince my words. To me, the twisting of words to found deeper and more severe meanings to intimidate laypersons is unacceptable in a Court and legal system that values justice.

The Judge chose to grant John and Shafi’ie the additional time, the additional time was roughly 3 additional hours because by that time, it was already past 3pm on Friday 31st October 2008.

November 3, 2008 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment