Update (July 1): The Singapore Democratic Party has responded to Mdm Yeong’s letter. Click here.

Andrew Loh

“Singapore upholds free speech and the right to disagree, subject to the law”, Minister Mentor’s press secretary, Mdm Yeong Yoon Ying, said in a letter to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

She was responding to the WSJ’s article titled, “Democracy in Singapore”, published in the paper on June 26.

Referring to the recent court case brought against the Singapore Democratic Party, she said that “the case had nothing to do with political freedom”. Instead, “it was for defamation arising from the Chees’ false claims that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Kuan Yew are criminals and corrupt.”

Saying that “Singapore upholds free speech and the right to disagree”, she explained that “many opposition politicians routinely criticize government leaders, but are not sued because they have not uttered slanderous falsehoods.”

Singapore‘s laws must be decided by Singaporeans, not by foreigners like Gopalan Nair, who is a U.S. citizen, or by the foreign media. Foreign media are entitled to report and comment on what is happening in Singapore, but they circulate here subject to Singapore law. They have no right to defame, to give a skewed account of court proceedings, or to engage in Singapore politics, for example, by campaigning for their version of Western style “democracy” for Singapore”, she said.

In the earlier article, the WSJ said that “Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore can rightly be proud of many achievements, but full democracy is not one of them.”

Read Mdm Yeong’s letter here.

Read WSJ’s “Democracy in Singaporehere.

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