On 1 April 2006 at about 10:30 pm, I was at the airport preparing to leave for Istanbul, Turkey to attend the 4th Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy (WMD). However, the Government prevented me from boarding my flight and impounded my passport. The immigrations officials informed me that the Official Assignee (OA) had instructed them to stop my departure.
This is a violation of my human rights.
Earlier in the week, the OA's office had said that I needed to propose a payment plan to Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Goh Chok Tong for the $500,000 in damages that the courts have awarded them in their defamation suits against me.
I have indicated that from the little income that I make from selling my books, I need it to support my family. It doesn�t make sense for me to deprive my children of their needs in order to pay the two former prime ministers, who are both multi-millionaires (Mr Lee Kuan Yew could even be a billionaire), money that they obviously do not need.
After I said that I had insufficient income to make a proposal to pay Messrs Lee and Goh, the OA's office then asked me to submit a breakdown of my monthly income and expenditure so that it could determine how much I had to pay the two men. It promised that if I undertook to do so, the OA would consider my travel application.
I complied and submitted my Income and Expenditure Statement. But instead of fulfilling its promise, the OA then shifted its position and again asked me to make a proposal to pay Lee and Goh before it would consider my travel application (see exchange of emails on www.singaporedemocrat.org).
It seems clear that the Mentor Minister Lee and Senior Minister Goh are using the excuse that I cannot pay them to stop me from traveling. Effectively, I have become their captive.
The authorities have little reason to stop me from traveling. First, I have shown that all the expenses of my attending the conference in Turkey are borne by the organizers. I am not using my own money to pay for the trip.
Second, I have absolutely no intention of leaving Singapore and not returning. I assure Messrs Lee and Goh that I will always return to my country to continue fighting for my fellow citizens.
Hence, there can be only one reason why the Government is stopping my overseas travel: It is nervous about my continuing action to garner international support for the democracy movement in Singapore and to tell the world about the repressive habits of the PAP.
In particular, I was going to highlight the undemocratic nature of elections in Singapore at the WMD conference in Istanbul and draw attention to the corruption of vote-buying of the PAP under the guise of giving out �Progress� bonuses. I also wanted the international democratic forces to know how the PAP is intimidating voters by linking upgrading of housing estates to the elections.
In addition, I was also going to seek support for an international team to come to Singapore to observe the elections.
The PAP is obviously afraid of adverse international opinion and has thus played dirty again by impounding my passport and effectively placing me under city arrest.
The PAP may have the power to prevent me from leaving Singapore for the time being, but it will ultimately pay the price for its continued repression and lack of respect fro democratic principles and human rights.
CHEE SOON JUAN
Singapore Democratic Party