Dear fellow Singaporeans,
I would like to express my gratitude to all of you who had supported my Originating Summons (OS) to challenge the validity of the 2006 general elections.
In my appeal letter, I had stated the reasons for my decision to take the matter to the Supreme Court and have it adjudged as to whether the PAP’s use of public funds (Progress Bonus Package in 2006 and the New Singapore Shares 2001) to attract votes was constitutional and legal or not.
Another charge that I had stated in my affidavit was the linking of the upgrading of public housing to the way residents in the opposition-held constituencies voted.
The third complaint was the ban on podcasting during the election.
Instead of having OS heard in open court, the Attorney-General (AG) took out a motion to dismiss my action on the grounds that I did not meet the deadline of paying the Elections Department a $5,000 security deposit.
As I was the litigant-in-person, I had filed the OS and affidavit, and had personally served them on the AG. At that point, I had not engaged a counsel. As a lay person, I was unaware of the fact that I had to put in the deposit within three days after I had filed the OS. It was only when I received a letter from the AG Chambers that they were moving to dismiss the case because I had not put in the deposit that I realized the requirement.
I then went down the Elections Department (ED) the next working day with the cash. After about an hour’s wait, I was told by two officials at the ED that they would accept the money. I handed the $5,000 to them. They counted it and told me to wait for the receipt. However, after about 45 minutes, the head of the ED, Mr. Lee Seng Lup approached me with a letter that stated that they could not accept the deposit as I had missed the deadline. After some discussion and debate, I was returned the money.
Judge Andrew Phang has ruled to dismiss my case on the grounds that I did not put in the deposit within the 3-day period. Although this decision was not totally unexpected, I am indeed disappointed. Such important issues in the OS were quashed on the basis of a minor technicality. This is regrettable. If the courts really had the public’s interest at heart, it would not have dismissed my case and would have proceeded to hear it.
I want to thank the many of you who had donated generously to the account that I had set up to pay for the legal expenses. The donations will be used for the other court cases that are coming up.
I will continue to challenge the unconstitutional practices of the Singapore Government. The authorities cannot use and misuse their power to perpetuate their control over Singaporeans. Once again, I want to reassure donors, supporters and well-wishers that the contributions you have made will go into paying for the legal costs that my fellow activists and I are confronted with in our effort to break the shackles of oppression in Singapore.
Chee Siok Chin