Singapore’s Law Minister K Shanmugam made an offensive retort to the UK who have earlier urged Singapore to abolish laws that oppresses free speech in the name of “scandalising the judiciary”.
“It’s issued on Friday, on the eve of this debate. It says it urges Singapore and all countries … to abolish ‘Scandalising the Judiciary’, and says it is not specific to Singapore. With the deepest respect to the High Commissioner, one can only say that this answer is extremely intriguing, and very interesting. If you want to intervene in a debate and make a comment, then at least have the courage of your convictions, and not beat a hasty retreat at the first question.”
Minister K Shanmugam said that Singaporeans have “decided consciously” to decline free speech and claimed that UK did not change for the better when their people are free to criticise their judges:
“The changes in Britain have not been for the better. We have decided, consciously, not to go that way.”
The new Contempt of Court bill will criminalise all comments that criticise the judgments of the government-controlled judiciary, implying that the government’s judgment is absolute. The single-party PAP government voted for the bill in an overwhelming support with 72 votes for and 9 votes against. Legalised corruptions are enacted in Singapore through similar single-party voting system.
The move is the latest of a string of new laws enacted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to squash criticism and bad press. New censorship laws under the Media Development Authority require all websites that touches on current affairs to register with the government and put up a S$50,000 bond. Only websites based overseas are not subjected to Singapore’s draconian media control laws.
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister’s elderly sister Lee Wei Ling spoke against her dictator brother and denounced Singaporeans for being overtly apathetic. There has been no discussion generated among the general populace, signaling their blinded trust in the ruling party.