Photo of K Shanmugam from Straits Times

“The commentator does no credit to himself or his institution. Particularly an institution which carries Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s name.”

Angry at an academic’s criticism, Law Minister K Shanmugam invoked Lee Kuan Yew’s name to insult his critic.

Earlier in the week, Donald Low, an academic from the Lee Kuan Yew’s Institute of Public Policy, wrote on his Facebook page criticising Law Minister K Shanmugam who said punishments should reflect public opinion:

“If criminal punishments are to reflect only public opinion, why bother having judges do sentencing? Just run an opinion poll each time someone has been convicted.”

You may read Donald Low’s post here.

Law Minister K Shanmugam then made a salty response on his Facebook:

“These comments have seriously misconstrued what I actually said… Academics, like Donald, have every right to criticise statements made by others, in particular on issues of public importance. But to be meaningful, and sensible, it will be first useful to read and understand what has been said, before jumping in to criticise. Otherwise the commentator does no credit to himself or his institution. Particularly an institution which carries Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s name.”

Minister K Shanmugam trapped himself in a double-bind situation in his state media interview, with one side criticising him for pandering to popular sentiments, while the other side criticising him for failing to impose penalties that meet public expectations.

The foul-mouthed minister has previously vowed to increase sentences for American pedophile Joshua Robinson and City Harvest Church’s pastor Kong Hee. However, the minister subsequently yielded to the status quo punishments without an appeal despite the chest-thumping media statements he issued.