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PAP member, Mr Louis Tay Bok Hock, had called the police in 2006 to lodge a complaint against the opposition for selling newspaper in the Bukit Panjang Constituency just prior to the general elections.
Mr Tay revealed this when he testified as a prosecution witness in the on-going trial of Dr Chee Soon Juan in which the SDP leader is being charged for speaking in public without a permit in April 2006.
Even before he could finish serving his one-week jail sentence for a protest during the WB-IMF meeting in 2006, Dr Chee was dragged from prison to answer the public speaking charge.
Mr Louis Tay said on the stand last week that he had received information through an SMS text message from a Bukit Panjang “volunteer” on the morning of 15 April 2006, telling him that “members of the SDA party had set up tables and were distributing flyers.”
Mr Tay claimed that he could not recall who this “volunteer” was.
He then immediately called Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Manoharan on the officer’s cell phone, expecting the ASP to investigate the matter. Even though Mr Manoharan was off duty that day, he nevertheless immediately called his station to alert the Jurong Police Division.
Within minutes the police despatched a team to the location to investigate the matter.
Mr Tay said in his testimony that he had told ASP Manoharan that the tables set up were obstructing the passageway and “will give rise to a fire hazard.”
The curious thing was that Mr Tay was at his home in Toa Payoh when he received the SMS message from his volunteer.
“Did you not tell the court earlier that you were not at the location where the tables were set up at Bukit Panjang?” Dr Chee enquired.
“Yes,” the witness confirmed.
“Did you have an idea where the tables were located in the area?” Dr Chee asked further.
“No,” Mr Tay replied.
“So the tables could have been set up in such a way that it did not pose a fire hazard, could it not?”
”I do not know,” came the reply.
Of course he did not know because he wasn’t present at the location. He had testified earlier that his “volunteer” did not tell him anything about the tables blocking the passageway and posing a fire hazard.
Yet, without knowing the facts, Mr Tay went ahead and fabricated the story to ASP Manoharan that the tables had blocked the passageway and posed a fire hazard.
So why did he do what he did?
To get an idea, it is important to understand Mr Tay’s background. His affiliation with the PAP is impressive: He is the treasurer of a Citizens’ Consultative Committee, the chairman of the Bukit Panjang Sports Council, a member of the People’s Association, Northwest Community Development Council, and Public Transport Council. He also chaired a Residents’ Committee when he was living in Bukit Panjang.
And, of course, he is a member of the PAP.
Mr Tay said, “I volunteer for passion to serve in the community.” He was at the nomination centre to support Dr Teo Ho Pin, the PAP candidate for Bukit Panjang, during the 2006 GE.
It was through his involvement with some of these organisations that he came to work with ASP Manoharan and had direct access to the officer.
Dr Chee put to the PAP member that he was abusing his position as a grassroots leader when he gave information to the ASP about the fire hazard when, in fact, he had no information to come to the conclusion that he did.
Mr Tay denied this.
Dr Chee then proceeded to question him on whether he had helped Dr Teo organise activities in Bukit Panjang that may also have had similar concerns of fire hazard. District Judge Jill Tan disallowed the question.
The SDP secretary-general argued that events leading up to the police prosecuting him did not pass the “smell test”.
It seems that the whole matter is one of political motivation where the PAP is allowed to conduct its activities with impunity whereas its members lodge false police reports about the oppoition for doing the same. The intention is to get the police to investigate and prosecute the opposition.
This point is especially salient in light of the fact that the elections were around the corner at the time of the incident, 15 Apr 06. The general elections were announced one week after the incident.
Judge Jill Tan insisted that the question was irrelevant.
Hearing will continue in Subordinate Court 10 on 29 Mar 10.
This case gives Singaporeans a glimpse into how the PAP and its members operate, and demonstrates how the PAP continues to use so-called grassroots organisations to further entrench its power.
In this series of eight charges for speaking without a permit, Dr Chee has been convicted of four, one of which he has already served a 5-week prison sentence in 2006. The remaining three charges are awaiting appeal which will be heard together with the present charge when it is concluded. Another three charges were dropped by the AG’s Chambers.
Dr Chee was released on Saturday, 6 March 2010, with Mr Gandhi Ambalam and Ms Chee Siok Chin who were also convicted by DJ Toh Yung Cheong for the WB-IMF protest.