Statement on AGC Action Against Alex Au

Statement on AGC Action Against Alex Au

Statement by members of the general public on the Attorney General’s Chambers’ action against Mr Au for his blog posts.

Singapore, 29 November 2013

We are deeply concerned that the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) has been granted leave to take action against Singaporean blogger, Mr Alex Au, for “scandalising the judiciary” in his blog post, “377 Wheels Come Off Supreme Court’s Best Laid Plans”.1

The right of free expression is enshrined in Article 14 of our Constitution.  We believe that robust public debate is necessary for national progress.  The AGC’s action, however, reflects an overzealous desire to police public opinion.  This cannot be healthy for a mature, first world nation.  If Mr Au had erred, then his claims should be rebutted in public. This would enable Singaporeans to make up their own minds.

We agree that it is important to uphold public confidence in the judiciary.  However, this cannot mean that our judges should not be subject to scrutiny.  The AGC’s action, rather than enhancing confidence in the judiciary, might weaken public confidence.  It also implies that the public is not allowed to form opinions on judicial processes.

International legal opinion supports the advancement of the law in respect of public comment. In 2012, the UK Law Commission recommended abolishing the offence of “scandalising the judiciary” because it is “an infringement of freedom of expression and out of step with social attitudes”.  The Commission noted that the offence,

“belongs to an era when deferential respect to the judiciary was the norm.  But social attitudes have changed.  Enforcing the offence today would do little to reinforce respect for the judiciary and, if judges are thought to be using it to protect their own, could strengthen any existing distrust or disrespect.”2

We note that the AGC action against Mr Au is not in keeping with the spirit of Singapore’s position at the 2011 UN Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights that “Political postings on the Internet are prevalent, including many that are highly critical of the Government.  No blogger or other online publisher has been prosecuted for such postings.”3 Further, this AGC action contradicts Singapore’s obligations in the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, adopted on 18 November 2012. Article 23 states, “Every person has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information, whether orally, in writing or through any other medium of that person’s choice.”4

We call upon the AGC to help the Government of Singapore uphold its ideals and its international commitments, for the continued progress and prosperity of our nation.


Signed by
Simeon Ang Kevin Lee Onh Solly
K Z Arifa Lynn Lee Dickson Su
Jacqui Ch Richard Lee Osman Suleiman
Sharmeen Nina Chabra Lee Shiuh Meng Kevin Prof Paul Ananth Tambyah
Xin Hui Supanee Chan Philip Selwyn Lemos Alvin Tan
Qizhong Chang Tricia Leong Alvin Tan Cheong Kheng
Kenneth Chee Mun Leon Leow Zi Xiang Bian Tan
Jeremy Chen Dr Liew Kai Khiun Caryn Tan Sun
Chew Kheng Chuan Angie Lim Eugene Tan Siah Yew
Leslie Chew Gary Lim Meng Suang Joe Tan
Tania Chew Lim Jialiang Joel Bertrand Tan
Joshua Chiang Lim Kay Siu Jolene Tan
Brendan Chong Lynette Lim John L Tan
Bryan Choong Michelle Lim Tan Joo Hymn
Jean Chong Nicholas Lim Yew Kenneth Tan
Chong Kai Xiong Andrew Loh Kirsten Tan
Chong Wai Fung Loh Chee Leong Netina Tan
Chua Chuen-Seah Dr Loh Kah Seng Dr Roy Tan
Lucy Davis Andee Loo Serena Tan
Fazlur Yusuf Braema Mathi Sylvia Tan
Fong Hoe Fang Marayd McElroy Estee Tay
Assoc Professor Cherian George Haron Mong Jennifer Teo
Jessica Goh Neo Swee Lim Teo Soh Lung
Johannes Hadi Ng Mei Fay Professor Tey Tsun Hang
Han Hui Hui Ng Yisheng Callan Tham
Kirsten Han Roy Ngerng Thaw Win
Helmi Yusuf Dr Noor Rahman Melissa Tsang
Ivan Heng Brian Nugawela Kelly Then
Dr Russell Heng Irene Oh Shelley Thio
Adrian Heok Kay Omar Ivan Thomasz
Irene Ho Ong En Hui Dr Pingtjin Thum
Sam Ho Yanchun Ong Jeremy Tiang
Vanessa Ho Stephan Ortmann Dawn Toh
Isrizal Mohamed Isa Pak Geok Choo Toh Boon Hwee
Kenneth Jeyaretnam Vivian Pan Jason Wee
Kwan Jin Engsien Pek Lawrence Wee
Shawn Kathiravan Ravi Philemon Jolovan Wham
Dr Khoo Hoon Eng Francisco Raquiza Dr Vincent Wijeysingha
Koh Boon Luang Indulekshmi Rajeswari Andy Wong
Dan Koh Gene Sha Rudyn Brenton Wong
Patrick Koh Alfian Sa’at Wong Chee Meng
Joses Kuan Mansura Sajahan Dexter Wong
Annie Kwan Nora Samosir Joe Wong
Ken Kwek Katerina Sandiman Melissa W S Wong
Dana Lam Seet Cheng Yew Michael Wong Tong Kwong
Vincent Law Ariffin Sha Teresa Woo
David Lee Rev Miak Siew Dr Woon Tien Wei
Lee Gwo Yinn Siew Kum Hong Terry Xu
Howard Lee Frederique Soh Benjamin Xue
Dezmond Yeo Antoinette Yzelman Julius Yang
Yeo Yeu Yong Rachel Zeng Rev Dr Yap Kim Hao
Zeng Ziting Zulkarnain Hassan Gerald Heng
Stephen Koh Foo Hui Shien, Catherine Ronald Koh
Shawn Tan Dr Charan Bal Jeffrey George
Low Yit Leng Jocelyn Teo Chia Vincent
Lisa Li Kok Heng Leun Damien Chng
Priscilla Chia
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Reference links


[2] The full report is available at The offence has since been abolished in the UK.



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On 25th November 2013, The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has filed for an application to bring a contempt of court action against Mr Au over two posts published on his blog Yawning Bread last month.

The two posts are titled “377 Wheels Come Off Supreme Court’s Best-Laid Plans” and  “Church Sacks Employee And Sues Government – On One Ground Right, On Another Ground Wrong”.

However Justice Belinda Ang ruled on Wednesday, 27th November 2013 that the AGC can only proceed with contempt of court action on one of his blog posts titled “377 Wheels Come Off Supreme Court’s Best-Laid Plans” that was published on October 5.

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