Singapore Lawyer Blogger Dissident Publishing Again

Last year Goplan Nair publisher of blog Singapore Dissident found himself at the mercy of Singapore’s legal system after returning to Singapore from the US.

One bizarre court case and a short incarceration later we find him back in the US and publishing his independent viewpoint of Singapore’s judiciary, freedom of speech legislation and police force.

AALE will admit to be pleased to see that his run in with authorities last year doesn’t seem to have chastened him one iota.

In his latest post entitled "Singapore: The Right To Live Normal Lives" (17 January 2009) he takes the Singapore government to task on a number of law and enforcement issues.

Firstly the Public Entertainments Act:

Where he writes: An odd name for activities totally unrelated to entertainment, requires those wishing to speak in public or assemble in public to obtain prior permission from the Singapore Police. In the application, you have to state your reasons, and if it happens to be relating to criticism of government policies or laws, it is automatically denied. What this means is that regardless of what Lee Kuan Yew’s government does to you, with his one party rule, there is no avenue available to you to publicly express your dissatisfaction. No avenue open to you to try to persuade them to change their policies.

Next it’s the turn of the police and the Attorney General’s Department

The police are used to arrest and prosecute anyone who dares challenge these unjust laws. The police have turned out to be the enemy of the people. The people both fear and hate the police, who see them as instruments of Lee Kuan Yew to suppress their fundamental human rights.

Recently Lee Kuan Yew has stepped up his repression. His Attorney General whose job is to protect and preserve Lee Kuan Yew’s rule has arrested more and more people who have challenged these unjust laws. They have been convicted and sent to jail for speaking or assembling in public. Yesterday, the Minister for Home Affairs has announced that the laws against civil disobedience are going to be tightened even further. One such new law will permit the police to arrest possible peaceful protesters even before they begin their protest. Exactly how this will be done is not explained but a guess would be for the police to enter people’s homes or to arrest them en route to the protest location, when intelligence of a possible protest is received. In tandem, I expect the punishments to become harsher with lengthy jail terms and possible caning for protesters.

and the Judiciary

If you have friends who are judges, tell them the same thing. Stop abusing the law to please Lee Kuan Yew.

Read the full article at

His piece is further backed up by a newspaper report that Singapore’s Deputy PM Wong Kan Seng  has announced that "protesters" are “making a show of breaking the law“, and  that “this cannot go on.“


SG reports

Singapore government to tighten laws against protests
January 18, 2009

The Ministry of Home Affairs labelled protesters as “anarchistic fanatics” and put them in roughly the same camp with terrorists and suicide bombers.

In a Straits Times article, DPM Wong was quoted as saying that they can’t really suppress political dissent. However, he was careful to make clear that his context was the Internet. He also said: “If they want to change things, they must work within the law.“

Channel News Asia, 17 Jan 2009

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s deputy prime minister said the island state, which is hosting a summit of Asia Pacific leaders this year, may further tighten laws against public protests, according to reports.

Wong Kan Seng, who is also Home Affairs Minister, said the government is reviewing public order laws and may pass legislation to deal more effectively with illegal protests and other acts of civil disobedience.

The legislation is expected to be passed in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in November which could attract both local and overseas protesters, he said.