Judge must protect citizens’ rights: Protesters

Press Statement

The applicants of the Originating Motion (OM) to the Singapore Courts to rule on the protest that was conducted in front of the CPF Building on 11 August are dismayed at the decision made by judge V.K. Rajah.

In striking out our OM, the judge is sending out a distressing and dangerous signal to Singaporeans that the Constitution that was set out to protect the people has now been turned into one that protects public institutions, that there are no safeguards to protect the rights of individuals in this country.

The protesters outside the CPF Building in August 2005The applicants had set out to seek the court’s assistance in providing guidance in this particular protest action. However, the judge in his 40-page report has vigorously defended public institutions instead of considering the rights of the four protestors whose freedom of assembly and expression should be guaranteed under the Singapore Constitution.

We believe that it is the duty of public institutions to be transparent and accountable. When this is not forthcoming, the people should have the right to demand for public accountability. The judgment is based on the arbitrary assumption that the integrity of these institutions is intact.

Judge V K Rajah has taken it upon himself to speak up for the establishment when he should have been looking into whether the rights of the applicants/protestors were violated by the police. He is also virtually saying that the court of law in Singapore is not the court for the people and that it functions to be the public defendant of the government and government-linked institutions in Singapore.

He had said in his judgment that the “Their protests amounts to grave attack on the financial integrity of key public institutions. Not even a modicum of effort has been made on the present proceedings to justify the attacks on these institutions.” Whether or not the applicants’ actions at the CPF building were justified is to be heard in another court. One which should be taken up by the public institutions that V K Rajah was defending. He has ruled on a matter which was not even for his court to decide.

The applicants do not accept the judgment pronounced by V K Rajah and will continue to advocate for the government to respect its citizens’ rights guaranteed under the Singapore Constitution.

Chee Siok Chin (Ms)
N Gogelavany (Ms)

Yap Keng Ho (Mr)

22 December 2005

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