Our govt has responded to WSJ's editorial "Democracy in Singapore" that totally misunderstood what is going on in Singapore.
You can find the response here:
The main points from Mdm Yeong, MM Lee's Press Secretary:
1. Singapore has Freedom of Speech subject to our own Singapore laws.
2. Chees' court case has nothing to do with political freedom because it is a libel case involving falsehoods spread by the Chees.
3. Foreigners like Gopalan Nair and the foreign media should not engage in Singapore politics.
I fully agree with Mdm Yeong, once again the wisdom of our ways has triumphed over the foreign media and their hidden agenda to spread their faulty Western style democracy to Singapore.
Singaporeans certainly have freedom of speech as long as they don't defame our leaders or speak in public without a permit or insult civil servants. Freedom of speech subject to Singapore laws is still freedom. I guess the N. Koreans also have freedom of speech subject to N. Korean laws.
CSJ and his sister's case has nothing to do with political freedom. The Chees are such vile people, they are in court for making false claims against our esteemed leaders. As I recall the Chees said that our leaders are like the people who ran the NKF. How disgustingly inaccurate and defamatory. The NKF was a charity whose head was awarded an extremely high salary, squeezed the kidney patients for higher than needed payment for dialysis while building an enormous reserve from charity shows and suing critics for defamation.
All these defamation lawsuits have nothing to do with political freedom but people making false claims against our leaders. You can see clearly from all the cases that they have nothing to do with political freedom:
1. Tang Liang Hoong - bankrupted to the tune of $5M . See Tang was called a Chinese chauvinist by our leaders and he denied that insinuating that our leaders are liars.
2. JB Jeyaratnam - sued..over and over again. His last case was explained in wikipedia:
"..... eleven defamation suits were filed against him for saying the following words in one of the election rallies: "Mr Tang Liang Hong has just placed before me, two reports he has made to the police against, you know, Mr Goh Chok Tong and his people". Goh Chok Tong alleged that his "reputation, moral authority and leadership standing have been gravely injured both local and internationally" - Wikipedia.
You can see for yourself that these cases have nothing to do with curtailing political freedom and everything to do with false claims these dishonest men have made against our leaders. It has nothing to do with politics so I would like to caution all Singaporeans - you have the freedom to criticise the PAP govt subject to laws. Remember that if the PAP govt tells you something is good for you, you better believe it...and if you don't you should not say so. Because if you say it is not good, you're calling them liars and you risk getting sued. The correct way to engage our leaders on policy is to ask questions:
"I would like to understand how will the GST hike benefit Singaporeans?" rather than "I don't believe the GST hike is needed" or "The GST will hurt the poor." which insinuate that our leaders are liars....since the PM himself said it was needed and meant to help the poor.
I'm glad MM Lee's Press Secretary wrote in to correct the views of WSJ readers on the freedom of speech and political freedom in Singapore. Singaporeans are silent not because of a lack of freedom but because they trust their leaders. The govt of Singapore works for the interest of Singaporeans and to say otherwise is considered defamatory. The Singapore govt is efficient, honest, transparent and leads Singapore towards the ideals in our pledge - justice, equality, democracy......to say otherwise is defamatory...
Two Views of Freedom of Speech and Law in SingaporeJune 30, 2008;
Your editorial ("Democracy in Singapore," June 26), relying on a "partial transcript," has misunderstood the issue in the libel case involving Dr. Chee Soon Juan and his sister.
The case had nothing to do with political freedom. It was for defamation arising from the Chees' false claims that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Kuan Yew are criminals and corrupt. Despite being advised by a Queen's Counsel, they failed to produce any credible defense or evidence to back up their claims.
Having lost, Dr. Chee in open court then called the Singapore leaders "murderers, robbers, child molesters" and "rapists." The Chees also rebuked the judge, ignored her orders and shouted her down. In Ms. Chee's defense, her lawyer could only claim that she was "almost paranoid." This is why the judge sentenced the Chees to imprisonment for scandalizing the court.
Many opposition politicians routinely criticize government leaders, but are not sued because they have not uttered slanderous falsehoods. Contrary to your editorial, Singapore upholds free speech and the right to disagree, subject to the law.
Singapore's laws must be decided by Singaporeans, not by foreigners like Gopalan Nair, who is a U.S. citizen, or by the foreign media. Foreign media are entitled to report and comment on what is happening in Singapore, but they circulate here subject to Singapore law. They have no right to defame, to give a skewed account of court proceedings, or to engage in Singapore politics, for example, by campaigning for their version of Western style "democracy" for Singapore.
Yeong Yoon Ying Press Secretary to Minister Mentor Singapore
....another WSJ reader writes.....
Thank you for bringing the pitiful and shameful court proceedings in Singapore to Journal readers' attention. We citizens of the U.S. often take our freedom of speech, press and assembly for granted; and at times we assume that such rights are free.
Especially in the electronic age and with tools via the Internet and blogs, the power of true freedom in self expression is to be valued and needs to be protected by all citizens of this world. Thanks for sticking your neck out on our behalf.
Andrew T. Cheng New York