Photo of Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon from AsiaOne

The Singapore Court of Appeal delivered its final say on the new harassment act that the government is not a person and hence cannot apply for protection from harassment under the act.

However the government almost had its way because the rule was opposed by the government-appointed Chief Justice, Sundaresh Menon. In a written statement published by the Court of Appeal, Justice Menon said:

“The Government does fall within the scope of “person” under the law and is able to apply under the provision for relief.”

The Chief Justice was outvoted by two other appeal judges, Chao Hick Tin and Andrew Phang.

In 2015, the Singapore government under dictator Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong tried to silent criticisms and jail dissenters through the use of the new harassment act. The Singapore government claimed that it has been harassed by online website TOC when it published an interview featuring a scientist whose patent rights were being plagiarised by the Singapore army.

The Attorney General, representing the government, claimed that feelings of being harassed is not necessary under the harassment act.

Read: Attorney-General: Government was harassed, doesn’t matter how we feel

The Singapore government however lost the lawsuit as the judge ruled that the government does not qualify as a “person” under the harassment act.