Mr Gandhi Ambalam and Dr Chee Soon Juan informed the courts today that they would like to serve their jail term for their conviction for distributing flyers critical of the PAP Government.
They were convicted in December last year by District Judge Chng Lye Beng and were fined the maximum of $1,000 for the offence. Ms Chee Siok was also convicted of the same offence. She served her sentence two weeks ago.
All three have appealed the conviction which will be heard in the High Court in the coming weeks. the Defendants argued that the charge stating that it is an offence to oppose the actions of the Government is ultra vires of the Constitution.
The right to criticise one’s government is the right of every citizen and to criminalise such activity is the height of abuse of power by the Executive.
The fact that the Defendants had no permit is moot because the police have indicated repeatedly that they will not issue permits for outdoor political activity.
Besides, groups of 5 or more persons distributing flyers is a common sight in Singapore. Singling out SDP leaders for their activity that is critical of the PAP Government is unlawful discrimination that is disallowed under the Constitution.
The Defendants are determined to bring these issues before the High Court and for the Judiciary to rule on them.
They also presented case studies that clearly demonstrate that laws and administrative acts that are clearly ultra vires needed to be addressed by judges at every level. There is strong legal precedence to show that citizens cannot be convicted of laws that contradict the Constitution.
District Judges repeatedly cite the fact that they cannot rule of such matters at their level and that such arguments on constitutionality need to be dealt at hearings called Judicial Reviews.
As indicated, however, the rulings in common law show clearly that this should not be the case as citizens have the right to contest such laws and acts at all criminal hearings.
Mr Ambalam and Dr Chee will serve their one-week sentence starting today but are determined to continue with the struggle for the political rights and freedom of Singaporeans.