1 Jul 2006

Singapore's PM hits back on freedom of speech

NZ Herald
June 20, 2006

By Ruth Berry

QUESTIONS about Singapore's commitment to freedom of speech drew an impassioned defence from visiting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday, June 19, while Helen Clark was criticised for her silence on the issue.
Mr Lee flew into New Zealand on Saturday and was greeted by a haka party and a 19-gun salute, followed by a state lunch when he arrived at Parliament yesterday.

In his first overseas visit since Singapore's recent election, he stressed the close relationship, saying as small countries "we both place importance on a stable and peaceful region, and on maintaining open, free-market economies to secure or countries and improve our lives."

During a press conference with Helen Clark, the pair were asked about freedom of speech in Singapore, in light of Mr Lee's decision to sue Opposition politician Chee Soon Juan for defamation and to pursue charges against him for speaking in a public place without a permit in the lead-up to the election.

Helen Clark said she had not raised the issue with Mr Lee. Mr Lee said Singapore was not restricting free speech, before lashing out at his Singapore Democratic Party opponent, who appears in court to contest the claims again today.

Mr Chee's party won a quarter of the votes in the seats it which it fielded candidates, Mr Lee pointed out.

"They did miserably and there's a reason for this. It's because Singaporean voters are not fools. They judge who are the more credible candidates and they know that this man and his party are not credible. That he's a liar, he's a cheat, he's deceitful, he's confrontational and it's a destructive form of politics designed not to win elections in Singapore but to impress foreign supporters and to make himself out to be a martyr."

He defined the foreign supporters as "the usual human rights groups who are linked up with him".

Green co-leader Russel Norman said afterwards it was "inexcusable" of Helen Clark not to raise the Chee issue.

"I can only presume that this is because of the sensitivity over trade issues," said Dr Norman.

"The Singapore Government routinely suppresses free speech and the right to free assembly, as documented by Amnesty International reports.

"The leader of the Opposition in Singapore faces expulsion from Parliament because he dared speak out against the Government.

"We've got a duty to ordinary people in Singapore to stand up for their democracy and human rights using our freedom."

Helen Clark said later: "It's pretty obvious that Singapore runs in a way that wouldn't be acceptable to New Zealand ... presumably they have a law of the land, they have constitutional processes, those are what's operating.

"I think it's a question of what the threshold for that is. We always raise arbitrary arrest, detention, gross abuses," she said. "But I don't have a brief that Singapore has breached that threshold."

- via Singapore Window

Oh no, quick! Lock up your daughters and hide, because CSJ and his evil "human rights" are coming to town! OK Minilee, you can be the hero in this movie and CSJ will be Dr Evil. You will fight CSJ and his evil, evil, evil axis of... evil, with your allies GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, BP, Shell, HSBC, Standard Chartered and every other business that loves you so much.


Anonymous said...

Let's see who's is the REAL LIAR, CONFRONTATIONAL, A CHEAT, NOT CREDIBLE, ETC..........Just to name few examples.....

Small leech told all singaporeans that they take a long time to select a candidate. but noticed that one of the MPs, Ms Dolphin Teoh, was selected and joined the papsmear soon few weeks later after the Q&A dialogue session with small leech featured over the TV programme. Next, lift upgrading to stop a every levels was in fact Chiam's originated idea. But papsmear took over the idea and told all singaporeans that they're so kind and wanted to do it for the citizens. Who's the liar??

GRC is a way of winning the election through many walkovers. who's is cheating?

Gomez's case. papsmear constantly harp and harp on the issue and even stop Gomez and interrogated him. Who is confrontational?

papsmear constantly shot down the oppo party through legal suits. who is not credible?

Anonymous said...

As a South African, I study singapore's politics. What a sad, sad country, who claiming to be whiter than white. Corruption seeping from every ministers statement and the operations of Tamasek holdings.The unfortunate population must be either brain dead or just plain stupid.Lack of free speech, the hanging centre of the world, and so it goes on.

Matilah_Singapura said...

WOW! Dear Mr Lee,

Ain't it nice to have tgher freedom to speak to criticise the freedom to speak?

Peaceful, open and free-market economies and the societies which evolve from liassez faire NEED freedom of expression and communication to FUNCTION PROPERLY.

How else can entrepreneurs and private property owners direct their actions to satisfy the millions of Sovereign Consumers if free communication and expression are suppressed?

C'mon. You are a mathematician. Stay RATIONAL for goodness sakes! Did you quit reason and logic when you entered politics?

Anonymous said...

eh the anonymous south african who studies singapore politics: care to compare the two countries?

what's the difference between brain dead and stupid? you feel the need to say the same thing twice?

Anonymous said...

little anon arsehold, look up the difference between brain dead and stupid, of course you cannot understand english.

Inq said...

by focusing on 'credibility' of candidates as a reason behind voters' choice, the attention of the horde of singapore is detracted from the other means via which the credibility and calibre of candidates are compromised PRIOR to the elections. i.e. via the fear that joining the opposition will lead to persecution, not allowing the opposition a more prominent position in the public eye, banning the sale of alternative takes on local history, the undereducation of the local population, etc, etc,.....