Suaram, a leading human rights organisation in Malaysia, condemns the Singapore government's recent harassment and intimidation launched against James Gomez, Kevin Liew and the Think Center who exercised their completely legitimate fundamental rights to freedom of statement and freedom of assembly.
We also take issue with the decision of the Singapore police for not granting a permit for the Save JBJ Rally. The reason given by the police that they would not be able to control the crowd is ridiculous and casts doubts over the ability and efficiency of the civil service.
It is quaint that the speakers of the Speakers Corner set up by the Singapore government, which is supposed to offer a avenue for the Singapore people to speak their free mind, were subjected to ill intent of investigation and warnings from the police, as experienced by James Gomez. The ironic effects are even greater as James Gomez and Kevin Liew were intimidated in such a manner for organising an event to celebrate the International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2000.
This only proves that the Speakers Corner, is no more than a window dressing attempt of the government to deceive the international community that the human rights situation in Singapore has made some progress.
We urge the Singapore government:
1.. To immediately stop all its intimidation and harassment to James Gomez, Kevin Liew and the Think Center
2.. To respect fundamental human rights of the people of Singapore, especially with regards to freedom of statement and freedom of assembly
3.. To allow the Save JBJ Rally to take place
4.. To restore the Speakers Corner with genuine intent to promote freedom of statement.
Yap Swee Seng International Coordinator Suaram