ARDA statement on the imprisonment of Dr Chee Soon Juan

Alliance of Reform and Democracy in Asia
24 Nov 2006

The Alliance for Reform and Democracy in Asia (ARDA) is appalled to have learnt that its Chairman, Dr. Chee Soon Juan, has been imprisoned for five weeks for having been found guilty of speaking in a public place without a permit.

ARDA notes that this is not the first time Dr. Chee has been charged with the same offence. He has served at least three other prison sentences for an offence of this nature.

The Alliance calls on the government of Singapore to stop using repressive laws to silence dissenting voices. The leaders of the city-state have made claims that they make a first-world government. If this is so, why do the authorities continue to emplace and enforce laws that clearly violate democratic rights of its citizens? Such are indications of an administration that lacks confidence in winning the mandate and support of the people through legitimate means.

All those who cherish democracy and the rule of law (not the rule by law) condemn the manner in which the Singapore Government has responded to any and all opposition figures and democracy advocates. Defamation suits, bankruptcy proceedings and imprisonment have been the apparatus used by the state and its leaders to deal with those who challenge the government in calling for dialogue, transparency and accountability. Such intimidation and oppression has no place in a democratic society.

As an alliance for democrats in Asia, ARDA urges the Singapore authorities to honour its constitution and to respect the rights of its citizens.

ARDA will continue to support and stand in solidarity with those who are persecuted by undemocratic regimes. We call on the leaders of Singapore to stop its harassment of our Chairman Dr Chee Soon Juan and democracy advocates in Singapore.

ARDA Steering Committee:
Dr. Oyun Sanjaasuren, Vice Chair of ARDA (Leader, Citizens Will Party, Mongolia)
Mr. Tian Chua (Vice president, Keadilan Party, Malaysia)
Mr. Sam Rainsy (President, Sam Rainsy Party, Cambodia)
Mr. Pema Khangtetsang (Former Minister of Security, Tibet)
Ms Saumura Tiuolong (MP, Sam Rainsy Party, Cambodia)
Dr. Ken Coghill (Former member and speaker of Victorian parliament, Australia)
Mr. Sarwar Bari (Founder, Pattan, Pakistan)
Dr. Paul Scott (Professor, Kansai Gaidai University, Japan/US)
Ms Emily Lau (Legislative council member, Frontier Party, Hong Kong)
Mr. Wang Dan (Student leader of Tiananmen Movement, China)

ARDA Director:
Mr. Sivarasah Rasiah (Vice president, Keadilan Party, Malaysia)

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