A SINGAPORE opposition leader fears he is facing a lengthy jail term after questioning the independence of the country's judiciary.
Chee Soon Juan, one of Singapore's few opposition figures, is to appear in court tomorrow to answer contempt of court allegations.
“I'm looking at jail time, prison time. How long, I don't know. It's really basically up to the judge,” said Chee, 43, secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party.
Chee said he had served three previous jail terms – a total of about two months – for speaking publicly without a permit, but he expected a more severe sentence this time.
The attorney-general filed a contempt of court action after a Feb 10 High Court hearing at which Chee was declared bankrupt. The bankruptcy order followed his failure to pay S$500,000 (RM1.14mil) in damages to the city's founding father Lee Kuan Yew and another former prime minister, Goh Chok Tong.
During those proceedings, Chee criticised the judiciary.
“The judiciary in Singapore is, sadly, not independent especially when it comes to dealing with opposition politicians,” he told the court.
The Law Society of Singapore, in comments reported by the local press, called Chee's allegations deeply detrimental to the rule of law. The Society was responding to Chee's public request for it to get involved in his contempt case.
“The Law Society rejects the allegations that you have made concerning the independence of the judiciary,” the Society's president was quoted as saying.
A member of the Singapore Democratic Party since 1992, Chee is a neuropsychologist with a doctorate from the University of Georgia in the United States. He said his practice lapsed because his political stance made it hard to receive referrals from medical professionals.
He is the author of four books about politics and another about parenting, and says he earns an income by selling them on the street. – AFP
17 Mar 2006
From The Star.