promise was broken
Letter from Winston Choo, Singapore high commissioner to Australia.
YOUR article, The Democratic Facade (The AGE 8/3) contained inaccuracies.
The fact was that when the Privy Council decided Mr Jeyaretnam should not have been disqualified as a member of the Singapore Bar, as he had been wrongly convicted, the Privy Council had no jurisdiction over Mr Jeyaretnam's criminal conviction.
An English judge, Mr Justice Brooke, subsequently confirmed this. And Mr Lee Kuan Yew did not renege on a promise to "reinstate" Mr Jeyaretnam as a member of parliament.
He never made such a promise. Francis Seow was not detained for entering politics, but because he colluded with US diplomat who encouraged him to do so.
He was released from detention before the 1988 elections to enable him top contest. But he was defeated.
After he was charged with tax evasion, Mr Seow sought and received the Government's permission to travel to the US to consult a doctor and to attend a human rights conference, promising to return for the trial.
Once in the US, he claimed that a heart condition prevented him from flying back to Singapore.
The suits against Tang Liang Hong arose because he defamed many PAP leaders. He called them liars and accused them of criminal conspiracy and criminal defamation.
You said that Singapore courts have never delivered a defamation judgment against the PAP leaders. But PAP ministers have been sued for defamation by opposition politicians and have apologised and paid damages.
Queen's Counsel from England regularly represent opposition politicians in defamation cases. Defamation judgments have been appealed all the way to the Privy Council and been upheld.
Published in the Melbourne Age April 14, 1997