Regarding the news of an NUS doctor who was sentenced to jail and caning in March for physically assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Rachel Lim En Hui had spoken up about this on her Facebook on 29 June.
Starting off her Facebook post, Ms Lim revealed that she had refrained from commenting about this case because she believed that there are still “questionable lapses” on the part of the Singapore Medical Council (SMC).
She recalled that after her recovery from the hospital back in 2017, she attempted to lodge a complaint against her ex-boyfriend, Clarence Teo Shun Jie, by writing to the SMC. Back then, the SMC told Ms Lim that the organisation “could not do anything” to help her and that she was told to wait for the case to “run its course” in court.
The 28-year-old victim emphasised that Teo was still lawfully practising even after complaints and reports were made.
Following the news of Teo’s sentencing, Ms Lim decided to notify the SMC to follow up on her complaint made three years ago. She then described that she was required to go through a long-winded process in order to make a declaration.
“After news of the sentencing broke, I emailed SMC immediately and notified them to follow up on my complaint three years ago. I received a call and was informed that I needed to get my own notary public, justice of the peace, Commissioner for Oaths (CFO), or with any other person having authority under any law for the time being in force in Singapore to make a declaration.”
The victim concluded that the SMC would not take her complaint seriously until she does her own “legal legwork”, even when Teo is already a convicted criminal.
“SMC followed up with an email stating, ‘Please note that without the above documents, your submission would be deemed as incomplete and we would not be able to process your complaint.'”
Despite the fact that Teo is a convicted criminal, Ms Lim pointed out that he is still a registered doctor under the SMC. She went on to highlight several problems that arose from his case.
She clarified that back in 2017 when she attempted to file a complaint, the SMC did not notify her that she needed to make a Statutory Declaration before an authority. Instead, the SMC only responded that the organisation “could not move forth” with her complaint. She questioned if the SMC was trying to avoid paperwork.
Ms Lim mentioned about how complaints against medical professionals will only be considered after the case has been taken to the police, and subsequently to the court.
Hence, she questioned if statements to SMC are more valid than statements in court.
She supported this by describing how she was still required to find her own Commissioner For Oath in order to legitimise her complaint against Teo, even after he was sentenced as a criminal in court and she had sworn an oath in court.
With the long-winded process of filing a complaint against a medical professional, Ms Lim wonders how many people have given up reporting malpractices by physicians because of these procedures.
“Why should the public have to go through so many layers of bureaucracy just to report wrongdoings by a physician?”
Going back to the point where Teo was a registered doctor when Ms Lim filed a complaint against him, the victim found out that Teo’s licence was renewed this year in 2020, although he was first arrested and charged in court in 2017.
She slammed the questionable screening process by the SMC, considering Teo was not fit to practice at all. She further called out the SMC for its response, in which it assured her that at least Teo will not be practising “anytime soon”, which implies that Teo may resume practising in the future and that SMC is deliberately allowing this to happen.
“On the phone call with a representative from SMC a few days back, after being told that my complaint will not be processed unless I get the legal works sorted out on my own first, I was being reassured that “at least you know he won’t be practising anytime soon.” SMC seems to completely miss the point that a person like Clarence should not be practising medicine at all, not even in the future.”
One lawyer friend told Ms Lim that “Singapore Medical Council delays punishing doctors because it’s really an association run by doctors, so they help one another”.
She believes that the procedures at SMC should be re-examined thoroughly. She also called for a permanent revocation of Teo’s licence to practise.
“As long as Clarence Teo Shun Jie’s license to practice medicine is not permanently revoked, I will always hold this sentiment to be true.”
Lastly, Ms Lim revealed that Teo has a “long history of being abusive towards women”, adding that many of his previous partners were victims of physical abuse. She noted how their cases were not documented in court, and she believed that it does not invalidate Teo’s violent behaviour.
“FYI, Clarence has a long history of being abusive towards women. Many of his previous partners had it bad, if not worse than me. Bloody and broken faces by Clarence were the norm, it seems. These women’s cases were not documented in court, but it does not negate that the fact that Clarence Teo is a women-beating-rapist with a longstanding pathology of violence.”