by Jas Ning
Li Shengwu claimed that “the Singapore government is very litigious and has a pliant court system” when he referred to the constraints of what the media can report on the matter surrounding the public dispute of his family.
Does the above statement constitute as “contempt of court”?
Now, the Singapore Legal System has always pride itself to be clear, transparent, fair and just. It always clearly states its stance on important matters that are of public concerns.
For example, Attorney-General Chan Sek Keong (later promoted to Chief Justice) clearly explained why canvassing for votes in a polling station on polling date does not constitute as breaking the law.
(Unfortunately, the cooling-day law was implemented before any opposition party members could start canvassing for votes in a polling station on polling date without getting arrested.)
Hence, it has stated clearly why it should not make an official stance on this matter.
Likewise, the Law Society had also carefully explained why reducing the legal cost by more than one million dollars does not constitute as overcharging.
In all cases, the Singapore Legal System always stands up to be clear, transparent, fair and just. Anybody who alleges that the Singapore Law System is otherwise better has good evidences to back his claim.
While Li Shengwu’s allegation was serious in that he had casted a negative opinion on the Singapore Legal System, it was just a two-liner in a private post in his Facebook that a limited number of people have access to. However, there is currently a far more critical issue that warrants full attention from the Singapore Legal System.
As of this moment, Lee Wei Ling had presented “evidences” which suggested that our dear Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had made a false statutory declaration.
The above constitutes as an extremely critically serious allegation on our dear PM Lee. Making a false statutory declaration is a criminal offence under Singapore law that is punishable to a term of imprisonment of up to 7 years and/or a fine. If PM Lee was guilty of making a false statutory declaration, he will lose his seat as the prime minister of Singapore and goes to jail. If PM Lee’s name and reputation is not cleared up, PM Lee will lose the moral integrity to lead the entire country as the prime minister.
As a comparison, senior government politicians accused Tang Liang Hong of defaming Peoples’ Action Party (government) leaders in 1997. During the election campaigns, the government leaders maintained that Tang Liang Hong was “anti-Christian” and a “Chinese chauvinist”.
When Tang Liang Hong filed a police report claiming these accusations were false, eleven libel suits were filed against Tang Liang Hong for accusing the government leaders of lying. Tang Liang Hong, who left Singapore after receiving death threats, was subsequently sued into bankruptcy. He is currently living in exile.
From the above incident, one can see how vigorously PM Lee and his team defend their reputation and moral integrity.
Given the seriousness of Lee Wei Ling’s purported allegation, we would expect the Singapore Legal System to step in and make clear its stand on the following.
1. Is PM Lee liable to have made a false statutory declaration?
2. If yes, what will be the legal consequences, if any?
3. If no, how do we explain the variance between his declaration and the purported “evidences”?
This is a matter of serious gravity.
If the matter is not properly addressed and clarified, some Singaporeans will lose confidence in the moral integrity of our dear PM Lee and this can be very damaging to his reputation. If PM Lee was falsely perceived to have made a false statutory declaration, he will not be deemed fit to lead the Parliament Office and the entire government.
Furthermore, our dear PM Lee may also be falsely accused of power abuse if there is no official stance from the Singapore Legal System. People who do not know better may end up forming the impression that the Singapore Legal System was deliberately suppressed in order to “cover-up” a crime and they may end up thinking that Singapore Legal System is short of being clear, transparent, fair and just.
In the long run, the reputation smear may lead some Singaporeans to vote against PM Lee in contempt.
It is thus essential that the Singapore Legal System is to make a clear and firm stance on this issue. Doing so will further exemplifies its reputation to be clear, transparent, fair and just, thus rendering Li Shengwu’s allegations to be totally false and baseless. And we Singaporeans should have the confidence and faith that our Legal System will do the right thing.
Readers can and should inform their relatives and friends on this important issue because so much is at stake. In particular, they should emphasize that this issue has direct implication on the perceived moral integrity and reputation of our dear PM Lee, to the extent that Singaporeans may vote against him if this issue is not properly addressed and clarified.
Finally, may I suggest that we drop the case against Li Shengwu?
Why bother over a two-linear in a Facebook private post which can only be read by a limited number of people?
Furthermore, everybody knows that the Singapore Legal System is clear, transparent, fair and just, and we should have enough confidence in our Legal System that people who read that post will not take the comment seriously. Dropping this case will exemplify our magnanimousness.