Asian and European democrats speak up on S’pore

June 2, 2006
Singapore Democrats

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Leader of Liberal Members of European Parliament poses question on Singapore

Author: The Hon. G Watson, Member of European Parliament

Subject: The situation in Singapore

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his father, former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, are suing the Singapore Democratic Party’s leaders for allegedly defaming them.

Lawsuits by two of Singapore’s top leaders against leaders of an opposition party ahead of May 6, 2006 elections is what critics call a ruling party tactic to weaken or sideline its opponents.

Lawyers for the Lees – the city-state’s two top leaders – issued legal notices this Wednesday (25th April 2006) to the opposition Singapore Democratic Party’s Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan, and seven other officials of his party.

In order to promote pluralism, freedom of speech, free and fair elections in Singapore, will the Commission and the Council call for an end to the misuse of defamation and other laws which are being used to penalize political opponents?

In the light of the Negotiations for a EU/Singapore Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and its human rights clause does the Commission (Council) consider the use of defamation and other laws against government critics a restriction on peaceful political activity and an erosion of the right to free speech and expression?

The reply from the European Commissioner will be posted when it is available.

Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) issues resolution

CALD resolution regretting the practice of the Singapore government in disadvantaging opposition candidates in national elections through politically-motivated bankruptcy, noting the tendency of the PAP-dominated government to use selectively laws that are detrimental to non-controlling party members and urging the government to manage its elections independently of bias towards any particular party

Believing that free and fair elections upheld by an independent judiciary are the backbone of any democracy;

Alarmed by the government’s decision to ban the use of podcasting and videocasting during elections, an effective silencing of alternative voices without access to centrally-directed media;

Citing that some opposition leaders have been barred from participating in elections after having been declared by the Singaporean courts as bankrupt;

Noting that the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) has observed that “The system of Group Representation Constituency should be reformed; there are better ways of achieving the important objective of ensuring representation of minority groups than winner-take-all block voting”;

The Council of Asian Liberals & Democrats hereby regrets the practice of barring Singapore oppositionists from standing in elections through bankruptcy, notes the tendency of the PAP-dominated government to use selectively laws that are detrimental to non-controlling party members and urges the Singapore government to manage its elections independently of bias towards any party.

For the Council of Asian Liberals & Democrats:

Liberal Party, Philippines
Democratic Progressive Party, Taiwan
Democrat Party, Thailand
Sam Rainsy Party, Cambodia
Liberal Party, Sri Lanka

National Council of the Union of Burma

Singapore Democratic Party

(sgd.)
Dr. J.R. NEREUS ACOSTA, MP

Secretary General

for Chairman of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats

May 22, 2006