For all its bravado, the PAP Government never ceases to run away from a fight it knows it cannot come away looking good. The latest example is the Attorney-General (AG) asking the courts to have the legal action taken by Ms Chee Siok Chin, Ms Monica Kumar, and Mr Yap Keng Ho against the Government dismissed.
What’s more the AG is applying for the dismissal to be heard in chambers where the public cannot attend.
Ms Chee, Ms Kumar, and Mr Yap had filed an Originating Motion in September 2005 and named Minister for Home Affairs Wong Kan Seng and Commissioner of Police Khoo Boon Hui as respondents.
The three activists had asked the courts to declare that the police had acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it ordered the four protesters (including Charles Tan who is away presently) to disperse during a silent protest outside the CPF Building on 11 August 2005. Under the Constitution, only five or more people gathered in a public area is deemed an unlawful assembly.
In its application, the AG has said that the Originating Motion should be “struck out or dismissed” because it is “irregular, scandalous, frivolous or vexatious and/or that it is an abuse of the process of the Court.”
In addition, the AG wants the costs of its application be paid by the protesters.
The hearing for the protesters’ Originating Motion is set for 21 October at 10 am. The AG’s application is set for 19 October 2005, two days earlier, at 2:30 pm.
Question: Why can’t the AG make his argument that the Originating Motion is irregular, scandalous, frivolous or vexatious at the hearing itself on 21 October and ask the judge to dismiss it? Why go through the trouble of asking the courts to do this at another session in chambers?
Answer: Because the Government doesn’t want the matter to be debated in an open court where the public has access.
There you have it, Singaporeans. The PAP says that citizens have no right to protest. If the courts go along and dismiss the protesters’ Originating Motion, it would be further confirmation that we effectively live in a one-party dictatorship.
The Attorney-General’s application
IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE
Originating Motion ) In the Matter of section 5 (i) of the Miscellaneous Offences
(Public Order and nuisance) Act (Cap. 184)
No. 39 of 2005/A ) Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance)
(Assemblies and Processions) Rules
In the matter of Article 14 (1) (b) of the Constitutionof the Republic of Singapore
1. CHEE SIOK CHIN (NRIC NO.)
2. N GOGELAVANY (NRIC NO.)
3. YAP KENG HO (NRIC NO.)
1. MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
2. COMMISSIONER OF POLICE
Let ALL PARTIES concerned attend before the Judge in Chambers on the 19 day of Oct 2005 at 2.30 pm on the hearing of an application by the Attorney-General on behalf of the 1st and 2nd Respondents for this action to be struck out or dismissed and costs of and incidental to this application be paid by the Applicants to the Respondents.
The grounds of this application are that the Originating Motion is irregular, scandalous, frivolous or vexatious and/or that it is an abuse of the process of the Court.
Dated this 7th day of October 2005.
Entered No. 5162 of 2005
This summons is taken out by the Attorney-General whose address for service is The Attorney-General’s Chambers, 1 Coleman Street #10-00, Singapore 179803.