In a press release issued today by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), its Central Executive Committee shares their response to the suicide of 14-year-old Benjamin Lim Jun Hui on 26 January after he was held under custody by the police for 3 and a half hours that day.
In the release, the SDP raises a number of queries directed at the Ministry of Education.
Firstly, in response to the fact that Benjamin was brought to Ang Mo Kio Police Station by only 3 police officers, the SDP questions why he was accompanied by neither his parents nor any school staff from Northview Secondary School.
The SDP also states that schools are responsible for ensuring the welfare of their students, “even when faced with demands and pressure from the police”. In order to do so, the school could have ensured a staff member drive separately to AMK Police Station in the case where staff were not allowed to directly accompany Benjamin in the police vehicle. The root of this issue is that majority of Singaporeans do not “question the limits of the authorities’ powers” when given directions, states the SDP.
In response to the call that Benjamin’s mother received from a school counsellor after he was released from the police station, the SDP questions why the school pulled Benjamin out from a school camp that was to take place the next day, seeing that “students generally like attending these camps”.
The SDP states that this tragic case is no doubt a wake up call and that no child in the future should have to go through what he did. In order to do so, the SDP is looking towards an independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate Benjamin’s “arrest and his treatment while he was under police custody”. The SDP also asserts that currently, minors are awarded insufficient protection in such cases.
For the full statement, please refer to the SDP’s website.