CALD censures Singapore govt in resolution

October 27, 2005
Singapore Democrats

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Chee Siok Chin being greeted by Taiwan President Chen Shui-bianThe Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) passed a resolution calling on the Singapore Government to stop denying Singaporeans of their political and civil rights

CALD is a regional organization comprising of eight democratic parties across Asia, including the ruling Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan, Thailand’s Democrat Party, the Gerakan Party of Malaysia and Philippines’ Liberal Party.

At its biennial General Assembly held on the 13-14 October 2005 in Taipei, Taiwan, CALD member parties voted unanimously to pass the resolution (see below). The resolution was adopted following Ms Chee’s presentation of the political situation in Singapore. She talked, among other issues, about the continued harassment of Mr Martyn See, the police action against the four CPF protesters, and the incarceration remisier Mr Boon Suan Ban. CALD’s member parties expressed their solidarity with the Singapore Democrats in our commitment to ensuring that the Singapore Government reforms its ways.

CALD RESOLUTION

Noting that the Singapore Government has been investigating Martyn See for making the film Singapore Rebel about Singapore Democratic Party Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan and that See has been called up for questioning by the police on two occasions and that his filmmaking equipment has been seized.

Concerned that Martyn See’s associates, Jacob George and Tan Pin Pin, have also been called up for interrogation by the police.

Chee Siok Chin (right) speaking on a panel at the conferenceAware that the police had broken up a peaceful protest staged by four activists Chee Siok Chin, Monica  Kumar, Charles Tan, and Yap Keng Ho on 11 August 2005 calling fror transparency and accountability in Singapore.

Citing the fact that the former remisier, Boon Suan Ban, of the Chief Justice in Singapore has been remanded “at the President’s pleasure” in the Institute of Mental Health after Mr Boon had been alleged to have harassed the Chief Justice Yong Pung How on financial matters before Mr Yong was appointed Chief Justice.

Watching developments of the police harassment of activists at Chee Soon Juan’s book launch when police seized a video disc when it accused the organizers of the book launch of illegally screening a video.

Alarmed that the Singapore Government had stopped Amnesty International spokesman Mr Tim Parritt from speaking at a public forum in Singapore on the death penalty.

Perplexed at the deportation of Mr Yeshua Moser from Nonviolence International when he arrived in Singapore to conduct a nonviolence workshop for Singaporean activists and the banning of the workshop itself.

BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED that the Council of Asian Liberals & Democrats (CALD) registers its disapproval of continued undemocratic actions of the Singapore Government and calls on it to stop its harassment of democracy activists and opposition parties, and to henceforth respect democratic principles and accord Singaporeans their political and civil rights.

Following the General Assembly Ms Chee took part in a conference on Advancing Women in Politics: The Role of Political Parties which was also organised by CALD.

Ms Chee spoke in a session entitled Women in CALD: Action Plan for the Future. She presented the political situation in Singapore and the efforts of the PAP government to curb civil rights here. In her presentation, Ms Chee told the audience that despite promises made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his inauguration speech last year to open up society, Singapore’s political situation remains unchanged and repression continues unabated. The conference participants which included delegates from Japan, India, Taiwan, and Asean countries expressed support for democracy advocates in Singapore.

Following the conference, Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian hosted a dinner for the delegates at the Presidential Guest House. In his dinner address, President Chen, the current chairman of the CALD, reiterated his support for democratic reforms in Asia. The occasion also saw the handing over of the CALD chairmanship to the Liberal Party of the Philippines. Also present at the ceremony were Mr. Mark Chen, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister.

Taiwan’s Vice President Annette Lu hosted a banquet the following evening for CALD members during which she gave an inspiring speech on Taiwan’s struggles for democracy and the personal sacrifices she had to make to bring about political in Taiwan. .