A Prison Letter to President Nathan

November 3, 2002
Singapore Democrats

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26 October 2002

Mr S R Nathan
President
Republic of Singapore
Istana, Orchard Road
Singapore

By Fax & Post

Dear Sir,

I am presently serving a prison sentence for attempting to stage a public rally outside the Istana on Labour Day, 1st May 2002.

I have been convicted under the Public Entertainment and Meetings Act (PEMA), a provision which violates Article 14 (1) (a) & (b) of the Constitution of Singapore.

By Article 4 of the Constitution, all existing laws shall from the commencement of the Constitution be construed with such modifications, adaptations, qualifications and exceptions as may be necessary to bring them into conformity with this constitution.

I am of the view that the blanket prohibition in the PEMA violates not only my constitutional right but also the constitutional right of every citizen of Singapore to freedom of speech, assembly and association in Article 14.

The PEMA, as exercised and enacted by the PAP Government, effectively denies the universal right of Singaporeans to peaceful assembly, rights also enshrined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights of which Singapore is a signatory.

I willingly sit in prison in my humble attempt to claim back the rights of Singaporeans to free speech and assembly.

To this end, I respectfully ask that you refer to the court appointed under Article 100 of the Constitution to determine whether the provision under the PEMA is in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.

Yours sincerely,

Chee Soon Juan
Secretary-General
and Prisoner No. S14949
Queenstown Remand Prison