Police investigating SDP for “promoting the cause of freedom”

July 1, 2007
Singapore Democrats

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SDP Asst Secretary-General John Tan outside the station, holding the flyer

  SDP Asst Secretary-General John Tan outside the station, holding the flyer

Police have called up members of the SDP for investigation over an incident where the Democrats were at Orchard Road in March this year selling books and T-shirts on democracy.

When SDP chairman Gandhi Ambalam attended the Tanglin Police Division headquarters last week, Investigating Officer (IO) Sunny Ooi told Mr Ambalam that he was investigating an offence of assembly without a permit.

Queried further, Mr Ooi said that he was directed by his superiors to look into the SDP “promoting the cause of freedom.”

Either the IO was careless in letting it slip out that the police have been suppressing the SDP’s democracy campaign or he was just being honest.

A bemused, Mr Ambalam then asked IO Ooi whether he was aware that other political parties are also conducting such activities. For decades opposition parties have been going around for their walk-abouts, selling party newspapers, and distributing flyers.

Mr Ooi said that he was “not in the know” about this.

“Are you from Singapore or have you come from somewhere else?” Mr Ambalam questioned.

“The activities of other parties have not come to my attention,” Mr Ooi said.

On the day in question, the SDP had conducted its usual sale of books and T-shirts as part of the party’s ongoing programme to reach out to the public.

This is the third time the SDP chairman has been summoned by the police for investigation in the recent past. Together with six other activists, he is under investigation for taking part in the standoff at Hong Lim Park during the IMF-WB meetings in Sep last year.

Mr Ambalam is also being questioned for taking part in the Freedom Walk with 16 other activists to mark UN Human Rights Day on 10 Dec last year.

The outcome of these two separate police investigations is not known yet.

He has also been jailed twice for speaking in public without a permit, the last time being in Nov 06.

Other Democrats being called up this time include Mr John Tan (see photo), Mr Francis Yong, Ms Chee Siok Chin, Mr Jeffrey George and Dr Chee Soon Juan.

The difference this time is that the police are saying that it is an offence to promote the “cause of freedom” in this country.

The PAP never ceases to amaze.