Law Minister K Shanmugam has taken to his Facebook page to complain about the Opposition, saying that the Workers’ Party MPs have misled everyone in the new bill on detention without trial:
“My conclusion, listening to some parts of the debate: Pure theatrics with no substance, calculated to mislead.”
In the new bill passed on Monday, Minister K Shanmugam was given dictatorial rights to detain anyone for any offence he deems as “organised crime activity” in any country.
Minister K Shanmugam wrote on his Facebook page saying that he merely “specifies the activity”, but deviously omitted the fact that he gets to define an ambiguous term called “organised crime activity”:
“4. First: the amendments now specify the activities for which a detention can be ordered.”
The PAP Minister also tongue-twisted claiming that his ministerial power to determine detention without a trial does not impede with judiciary powers:
“11. And, as I repeated many times yesterday, the amendments do not take away the power of judicial review set out in the Dan Tan case. That power of judicial review continues.”
Ex-Malaysian Minister Janil Puthucheary chipped in on the political attacks and shared K Shanmugam’s post, saying that the Workers’ Party MPs were “determined to add confusion”.
“[ Curious Debate in Parliament ]
Had a curious debate in Parliament yesterday, on amendments to the CLTPA.
2. Couple of the WP MPs made points which were good to clarify. I had a good exchange with Mr Pritam Singh and Mr Dennis Tan.
3. But WP MPs also took issue with two changes.
4. First: the amendments now specify the activities for which a detention can be ordered.
5. In the past, the Minister had to be satisfied that a detention was necessary in the interests of public safety, peace and good order within Singapore. This is set out in the Act.
6. Yesterday’s amendments impose an additional requirement on the Minister. Now the Minister can only order the detention if:-
(i) he is satisfied that it is necessary in the interests of public safety, peace and good order within Singapore – as was the position, before; and
(ii) the activity is listed in the new Schedule to the Act.
7. This is something to be welcomed – it sets out transparently the activities, and imposes two requirements for detention instead of the original one requirement.
8. But it gave rise to some curious statements from one of the WP MPs. She said that this would expand the Minister’s powers under the Act, which is absurd – in fact, it does the opposite, by now specifying what activities are covered. There could have been no reasonable belief that it increases the Minister’s power.
9. Second: the amendments introduced a “finality” clause. WP MPs asserted that this will take away the power of judicial review.
10. This is untrue. The amendments simply put into the Act, what the Court of Appeal has already said (in the Dan Tan case, and other cases). The Minister’s decision on the facts is final, and cannot be appealed from.
11. And, as I repeated many times yesterday, the amendments do not take away the power of judicial review set out in the Dan Tan case. That power of judicial review continues.
12. Despite the clear legal position, the assertions continued. Anyone who actually read the Dan Tan case, and knew some law, will know that.
13. My conclusion, listening to some parts of the debate: pure theatrics with no substance, calculated to mislead.”