A parliament spokesperson said that Blogger Han Hui Hui was removed from a public hearing on Thursday (29 March) by the Select Committee on deliberate online falsehoods.
She was asked to leave the room as she held up a stack of paper which displayed the cover of the book “Authoritarian Rule Of Law: Legislation, Discourse And Legitimacy In Singapore” by law academic Jothie Rajah. Ms Rajah is also the former wife of the Minister of Home Affairs and Law, K Shanmugam.
Ms Han, who was seated in the area reserved for members of the public, refused to leave the room.
She held up a stack of papers, prompting a security officer to ask her to leave the room.
The incident happened at about 3.05pm, during an exchange between Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam and historian Thum Ping Tjin.
He then said that two ushers approached Ms Han when they realised she was displaying the stack of paper. However, she refused to leave, saying, “No, these are just blank papers. Look, I’m just trying to write my notes here. I don’t want to miss his hearing. I want to follow his hearing which is why I purposely came here,” while hugging the paper to her chest.
Parliament staff later returned with police officers, and asked Ms Han to leave the room.
She insisted to stay, however, she agreed to pass them the whole stack of paper.
The officers then told her that they had questions for her. Still, she refused to leave her seat, saying that she did not want to miss the hearing. Ms Han was eventually being removed by female officers and a five-minute break was called.
The disturbance caused the second session of Thursday’s hearing, which had been going on for one and a half hours at that point, to be adjourned for five minutes.
The Parliament spokesperson said that she was taken out of the hearing for creating a disturbance in Parliament while the Committee was hearing evidence, adding, “This was after she was requested to leave, but refused to do so.
If you are interested to know about the book that Ms Han showed, you can read up an write up by Alex Au on Chapter 3 of the Vandalism Act.
“The existing Minor Offences Act already made vandalism a crime, punishable with a $50 fine and/or a week in jail. But this was not considered sufficient when the objective became one of political extermination. So a new law was introduced raising the fine to $2,000 with a maximum of three years in jail. It was also made into a non-bailable offence — which is quite incredible for such a minor, non-violent offence — presumably to stop accused persons from putting up more posters while out on bail. More crucially, it made caning (minimum three strokes, maximum eight) mandatory. As Rajah notes, this breached two fundamental principles of law: the penalty is now disproportionate to the gravity of the offence; and sanguinary punishment (caning) is being used for a property offence.”