Singapore: Appeals Court Upholds Ruling Against Government Critic
May 29, 2011, 3:34 am
Filed under: Singapore

(New York, May 27, 2011) – The Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold the author Alan Shadrake’s contempt of court sentence for “scandalizing the judiciary” is a major setback for free expression in Singapore, Human Rights Watch said today. The charges should be dropped, Human Rights Watch said.

On May 27, 2011, the appeals court upheld British national Shadrake’s original sentence of six weeks in prison and a S$20,000 (US$16,000) fine. He had been charged for the allegation in his 2010 book, Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock, that mandatory death penalty decisions were not always equitably applied in Singapore. He contended that the justice system was subject to political and economic factors, including pressure from the ruling People’s Action Party. At Shadrake’s appeal on April 11, the prosecutor contended that he had “transgressed the limits of free speech and fair criticism and maligned the entire judiciary.”

“The prosecution of Alan Shadrake for doing nothing more than calling for legal reform is a devastating blow to free speech in Singapore,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “More broadly, until the government releases its iron grip on basic freedoms, the Singaporean people will remain all the poorer.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Shadrake’s arrest, detention, trial, and appeal, please visit:


For more information, please contact:
In Bangkok, Phil Robertson (English, Thai): +66-85-060-8406 (mobile); or
In London, Brad Adams (English): +44-7908-728-333 (mobile); or
In Washington, DC, Sophie Richardson (English, Mandarin): +1-202-612-4341; or +1-917-721-7473 (mobile); or
In New York, Mickey Spiegel (English): +1-212-216-1229; or


Joint statement by Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC) and Think Centre on Alan Shadrake’s 6 weeks jail term
May 28, 2011, 3:14 pm
Filed under: Singapore, Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign

(Singapore, 27 May 2011) Think Centre (TC) and Singapore Anti Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC) is deeply disappointed with the Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold Alan Shadrake’s original sentence of six-week jail term and S$20,000.00 fine topped up with an additional S$55,000 in costs to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

The case garnered much attention internationally since Shadrake’s first arrest in July 2010 and had demonstrated Singapore’s judicial system’s predilection to be thin-skinned to criticisms and calls for reform. This unfortunate decision to prosecute Alan Shadrake only serves to further add an indelible stain on Singapore’s longstanding blemished human rights record especially in the realm of freedom of expression.

“As an investigative journalist, Alan has every right to publish his findings on the implementation of the death penalty in Singapore. Instead of persecuting him in this manner, the government could have banned the book. This heavy fine and jail sentence sends a clear message that the government does not respect independently minded journalists who point out flaws and shortcomings in the Singapore system” said Rachel Zeng, spokesperson for Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign.

Mr Sinapan Samydorai, spokesperson for Think Centre said, “The sentence is unduly harsh and lacks compassion . Singapore’s authorities, much as they disagree with the publication of his book, should treat Alan gently considering he is vulnerable in health. Alan will start serving a total of eight weeks in jail next Wednesday as he will also serve the default two-week jail for not paying the fine of S$20,000 in addition to the six weeks jail term for contempt of court. Alan Shadrake should be release in five weeks after remission for good behaviour.”

The verdict takes place two weeks after two major milestones in Singapore’s history: a landmark national parliamentary election that reflected the electorate’s call for change and Singapore’s first review of her human rights record at the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

We note dismally that in the UPR session, Singapore government representatives has preemptively rejected recommendations to improve on key areas of human rights which include the repealing of criminal defamation legislations to ensure full enjoyment of freedom of expression. Such a stance reflected in today’s verdict shows that Singapore has a long journey ahead to transform the island state as a place that fully promotes, respects and protects human rights.

For media enquires, contact following spokespersons:

Rachel Zeng, SADPC (

Sinapan Samydorai, Think Centre (

A letter to Workers’ Party, from SADPC and We Believe in Second Chances
May 23, 2011, 11:30 pm
Filed under: Singapore, Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign

20 May 2011

Dear Workers’ Party,

We wish to send our congratulations to the Workers’ Party of Singapore for having 6 of your members elected into the Parliament. It is indeed a good sign of the party’s progress.

May you continue your good work and be successful in fulfilling your promises of being the alternative voices for Singaporeans.

We are very heartened to know that the you have included the abolishment of the Mandatory Death Penalty (MDP) in your manifesto and we hope that you will be able to raise the issue of the existing MDP in Parliament within the next 5 years and help to initiate a re-examination into the alternative ways to deal with drug related crimes that result in the passing of the mandatory death sentence.

In addition to that, we would like to highlight to you about the case of a 27 year old Singaporean women who is currently sitting on death row in Malaysia.

Noor Atiqah M. Lasim was sentenced to death on 18 March 2011 at Shah Alam High Court after being found guilty of 342.1 grammes of heroin and 30.3 grammes of monoacethyl. According to her statement, the bag in which the drugs were found did not belong to her. Her sentence resonates with many others who were similarly tricked into becoming unknowing drug mules by the Nigerian drug syndicates, whose presence in Singapore has been acknowledged by the Central Narcotics Bureau.

As she is a single mother who is also a constituent of Aljunied GRC, we would like to seek your help on behalf of the family to see what can be done for Atiqah. If it is possible, can we arrange for a meeting between representatives of both campaign groups as well as the representatives of the family and the MPs of Aljunied GRC, to discuss upon the case of Noor Atiqah?

We do understand that you have many tasks on hand upon taking over the constituency so we are willing to wait for the earliest possible date that is convenient for you to meet us. Do advise us on the possibility of such a meeting, and we hope to hear from you soon!

Once again, we thank you for standing up to be the alternative voice of Singaporeans and your entry to Parliament is a cause for celebration to us.

Yours sincerely,

Rachel Zeng
Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC)

Kirsten Han
We Believe in Second Chances

24 years ago on May 21st
May 21, 2011, 3:25 am
Filed under: By Rachel Zeng, Internal Security Act, Singapore

24 years ago on this day, 22 individuals were arrested and held under the Internal Security Act (ISA). They were labelled as Marxist Conspirators and were detained without trial, cruelly tortured and forced to confess to the false allegations slapped upon them.

Yes, such things happened in Singapore more than once, and was out of the political insecurity of one man and his (political) party.

Today, many of them are sharing their stories. They have written books, spoken up during forums as well as in the recent GE. Some of them are currently involved in opposition politics, some of them in academia, and the rest have retired from their professions.

I have met some of them personally and got to know a few of them more than the rest. They are one of the nicest and most humble people I have ever come across in my life. It has been very heart wrenching knowing what they have gone through and realising that I have no power to undo whatever was done to them. They were never given the chance to prove themselves innocent as there was never a trial. Is this fair? How can one who lives for justice agree with such an unfair system within the rule of law called the ISA – a system that allows the authorities to detain and accuse an individual or a group of people without the need for a trial before a Court of Law?

Well I cannot and have never agreed with such a system. The ISA must go, and the government must set up an inquiry to investigate what went on during the detention that happened in 1963 and 1987 and more.

The following is Vincent Cheng’s historical speech at SDP’s pre-election rally held at Speakers’ Corner last year. From the bottom of my heart, I thank Vincent for sharing with all of us what happened during his detention, and I thank Soh Lung for doing the same in her book Beyond The Blue Gate.

My past actions regarding this issue:

An open letter to Mr Lee Kuan Yew

Remember May 21 (A note of thanks)

Read also:

21 May 1987

Episodes the Singaporean history textbooks forgot.

GE2011: Notable moments (Part 1)
May 10, 2011, 2:53 am
Filed under: By Rachel Zeng, Singapore

This GE has been rather interesting. There have been the usual political smearing here and there, cheers and boos during the rallies, sudden surge of swing votes, catchy taglines, mascots and what not. Based on my experiences, participation and conversations with my friends and acquaintances, here is my list of the most notable moments during GE 2011.

Encouragement and support by public figures during SDP rallies

Lim Kay Siu, Neo Swee Lin, Glenn Goei, Denise and Nadine Keller were spotted at SDP’s rallies. They were so warm and nice, always full of encouragement, especially Lim Kay Siu and Neo Swee Lin! It is awesome to see public figures here so open about their support towards any opposition parties. Thanks for the warm support!

The best polling agent award goes to…

I saw this very tired looking polling agent of the WP and just had to love his wicked sense of humour. He had a real hammer in his pocket! Hahahaa I giggled and wanted to give him the thumbs up but was hurried off by the officers there. Hey, I love your creativity there, whoever you are. 😀

“… he can go back to China…”

Guess Chan Show Mao need not “go back to China” anymore. Lee Kuan Yew is stuck seeing his face in Parliament for the next five years whether he likes it or not.

A WP flag and SDP fan were seen at a PAP rally

This just made me chuckle. Singaporeans are getting slightly more vocal nowadays, good to see that.

Supporters of opposition parties are so creative!

Source: Yuan Blogs Yuan Talks

The inclusion of younger candidates

Nicole Seah, 24, NSP

Abdul Salim, 30, NSP

Jarrod Luo, 27, SDP

Alex Tan, 23, RP

Lim ZiRui, 25, RP

Tin Pei Ling, 27, PAP (Source: ST)

Regardless of calibre, criticisms, adoration and such, it is good to see younger people standing up as candidates. This is especially with regards to those running under the opposition banner. It is never easy, they sometimes face discrimination from their families and friends, but they stood up anyway to run for the party they believe in.

So many volunteers!

All the opposition parties (according to what I have seen and heard) have a surge in the number of volunteer sign-ups, and this is good news indeed. Please don’t stop coming in!:D


Yee Jenn Jong, WP, Joo Chiat SMC (49%)

Lina Chiam, SPP, Potong Pasir SMC (49.6%)

PAP’s Casualty of the GRC system

George Yeo

We love Yam Ah Mee!

“Pursuant to Section 49, Subsection 7E, Paragraph A of the Parliamentary Elections Act, I declare…” Hahahahaa Singaporeans are so cheeky and naughty! I do hope he is chuckling over this… :p yes, he is so adorable.

Tin Pei Ling’s entry into Parliament: An insult to Singapore politics
May 8, 2011, 6:02 am
Filed under: By Rachel Zeng, Singapore

Tin Pei Ling is now a Member of Parliament, what an insult to tax paying Singaporeans.

However, the votes for Marine Parade GRC dipped from 77.25% when it was last contested in 1991 to 56.65% this time round.  This is not a good performance at all for the PAP. In fact, the margin is rather slim and I would of course prefer Nicole Seah and Abdul Salim in Parliament. Nicole gained my respect with the way she handled the sexist press and the way she carried herself throughout her campaigning. Salim, who I know personally, has always been a passionate supporter of human rights causes. He is a down to earth fella who definitely understands how the people on the ground are struggling in their daily lives. I hope they do not give up and keep working on the ground to prepare for the next GE. For the opposition, work can never stop.

Back to Tin Pei Ling. I am rather unhappy that she has gotten in so easily. She displays no exceptional intellect or passion to serve the people. I have watched her rally speeches and tried to see why she was chosen as a candidate but I still cannot see any value in her candidacy.  She is simply not impressive.

As a woman, I totally disagree with the sexist remarks about her. I find those sexist remarks disrespectful and insulting because they came from the old age generalisations that society has about women who suddenly went to the top of the ladder and such. Those remarks are highly insulting, but I see the validity in all criticisms about her lack of intellect, maturity and sincerity in wanting to serve the people of Singapore. What made her run as a candidate for this GE? I really doubt that it is due to wanting to serve the nation.

What an insult to Singapore. Do we deserve such an MP like Tin Pei Ling?

Honestly, 56.65% is nothing to be proud of. Goh Chok Tong and his team should re-examine instead, why they have only won by such a slim margin. Something is obvious to me though and that is, Goh Chok Tong has gotten complacent and arrogant. This is the way I see it, otherwise he will never come to insult us like this by fielding such a lousy candidate by the name of Tin Pei Ling in the GE at all.

Oh seriously, this is such a mockery of PAP and Singapore politics.

Do check out:

Petition to remove Tin Pei Ling as MP

TOC Breaking News: NSP makes complaint to Elections Dept over Tin Pei Ling Facebook posting (Updated)

Disqualification of the PAP marine parade team

Goodbye George Yeo
May 8, 2011, 4:51 am
Filed under: By Rachel Zeng, Singapore

May this be a real humbling experience for you Mr George Yeo, former Foreign Minister of Singapore.

Actually I am sure that you are personally a nice guy but too bad, the party you are with is not a nice party. You are actually not on the list of my extremely least favourite ministers although some of the stuff you have said publicly have been really offensive in my opinion.

Although your fellow colleagues have won this election yet again, they have lost 6% of support as compared to the last GE in 2006. In many areas, there have been quite an amazing percentage of swing votes.PAP should not be proud of their so called victory.

Personally, I would love to see Goh Chok Tong, Wong Kan Seng, Mah Bow Tan, Yaacob Ibrahim, Lui Tuck Yew, Teo Ser Luck, Vivian Balakrishnan, Lee Bee Wah, Teo Ho Pin, Charles Chong, Grace Fu, K Shanmugam, and Tharman out of Parliament among all the current ministers that we have there, more so than you. But yes, WP won the good fight.

You know, it is not fair to see Tin Pei Ling, Chan Chun Seng and many other newbies getting in with their lack of calibre. I wonder how you honestly feel about this.

Well anyway, goodbye… I hope you get a new job soon. Otherwise I am sure you will feel how many of us in the lower income group feels. Well I forgot, you have your pension and of course, PAP will employ you in one way or another.

Guess I won’t be seeing you driving a taxi anytime soon then.

Will you be running for Presidency?