by Teo Soh Lung
The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) intends to charge Mr Jolovan Wham tomorrow for holding a cardboard SMILEY in a public space.
It is bizarre, even more bizarre than the prosecution of Ms Parti Liyani for alleged theft of damaged DVD player, broken Gerald Genta watch, counterfeit Swatch and Vacheron Constantin watches, stained Gucci sunglasses, and to top it all, 120 pieces of used clothings valued at S$150 each.
Everything the rich throws away has a value in the eyes of our police officers, public prosecutors, and trial judge. For their gullibility, we had to bear a huge amount of money. The trial took 22 days, and the appeal three days. In addition, the months of preparatory work.
While the discretion to prosecute belongs to the Attorney General, such discretion as Mr Lucien Wong himself told the world, must be exercised in the interest of the public. Is he exercising his discretion in our interest should he proceed to charge Jolovan?
Jolovan has done no harm to us. His intention in holding a Smiley is in support of two youth climate activists investigated by the Police. What is wrong with that? We are not offended? We support his stand. So why is the AGC taking action against him?
Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam had in his recent ministerial statement in parliament lamented that the police force is “over-stretched”. Really?
Did he realise why the police is “over-stretched?” Let me give him a reason: It is because it has to investigate people like Jolovan and complaints from rich people like Mr Liew Mun Leong whose words are taken as Gospel truth.
I say to the AGC and the Minister: “Stop harassing civil society and get on with real work if you wish to regain respect from the public. Respect must be earned by action not words.”
It is prosecutions like these that embarrass Singaporeans in the eyes of the world. Intellectuals who have a voice must speak up for Jolovan Wham and human rights defenders who are trying to make Singapore a better country for us to live in. They should not preach to the incoming Biden administration. Stop telling them that it should avoid making democracy and human rights the central focus of its foreign policy.
Get our country in order before you tell America how to manage its foreign policy. If by now, you don’t realise that Singaporeans have lost all our human rights, you are just one more mouthpiece of the People’s Action Party (PAP) government.
This was first published on Function 8’s Facebook page and reproduced with permission