Below is Mr J B Jeyaretnam’s letter to Attorney-General Chao Hick Tin regarding Mr Chao’s speech at the opening of the legal year 2007. (See also Dr Chee Soon Juan’s earlier letter to the AG.)
15 January 2007
Mr Chao Hick Tin
The Adelphi, 1 Coleman Street,
I feel compelled to write to you after reading the excerpts of your speech at the opening of the Legal Year reported in the Straits Times for the 10th of January. Your speech has been given great publicity to persuade our citizens that our system “ensures equal access to justice fur all” as the caption proclaims.
You have made a number of claims which I feel should be questioned and defended in a public debate in the pursuit of truth if one values such pursuit as a desirable goal of our society.
I can not honestly agree with several of the claims you have made. In particular that of “commitment to the rule of law” as being one of the fundamentals in our society and secondly that our citizens’ fundamental rights are adequately protected” are plainly questionable not only by ‘trouble makers’ but by right thinking citizens. The claims have to be demonstrably proved for our citizens to have faith in the claims. The claims you have made have been made ‘ad nauseam’ by the Minsters of the PAP Government and you echo them. Your speech only reinforces the view that you spoke as a member of the Executive which of course you are.
If you really believe that the rule of law obtains in Singapore at all levels and that our fundamental rights are protected by the law, you should be ready to defend them in any open dialogue.
Would you therefore agree to an open debate with me on these two claims you have made and given great publicity. It will not be possible to cover all your claims in one debate, but the two claims are the bedrock of any democratic society and should be given immediate priority.
I shall be glad to hear from you within 14 days. I shall release this letter to the Press and post it on the Internet if I do not hear from you and equally if I hear from you but with your reply as well.
cc. The Honorable Chief Justice & The Law Society of Singapore