SDP vs MOM POFMA Case: A curb on constitutional right to free speech

Justice Ang Cheng Hock ruled that it was the Attorney-General (on behalf of the Minister) who has to bear the burden of proof that the SDP’s statement was false.

Justice Ang explained why this was so: “This was explicable in part on the basis of the fact that it was the Minister who was seeking to curtail the statement-maker’s right to free speech which was protected under Art 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore.”

In other words, the Minister was curtailing the SDP’s constitutional right to free speech, and thus she bore the burden of proof.

However, the AGC is disputing the ruling and argues that Parliament – which passed the POFMA – did not mean for the Minister to bear the burden of proof.

Justice Ang, in his ruling, in fact said that “neither the POFMA nor the secondary legislation associated with POFMA stated whether the appellant or respondent was to bear the burden of proof.”

So, it is strange for the AGC to argue that Parliament did not mean for the minister to bear the burden of proof, given that this was not stated in the Act itself, an Act which Parliament passed.

It would seem that amendments might have to be made to POFMA to state clearly who should bear the burden of proof.

Meantime, it is important that Justice Ang cited Singaporeans’ constitutional right to free speech when he laid the onus on the Minister to provide proof that the SDP statement was false.

Justice Ang’s ruling makes it clear that a Correction Directive is a curb on free speech.

** It is also worth noting that the SDP had written to the Minister and asked for her explanation for the Correction Directive (CD), but they received none.

** This is similar to other POFMA cases, namely involving Kirsten Han and Terry Xu, who had similarly written to the ministers for more information or to clarify a story, but were met with silence from the ministers who later issued them POFMA CDs.

 

Andrew Loh

 

 

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28 Responses to “SDP vs MOM POFMA Case: A curb on constitutional right to free speech”

  • Uncle Lim:

    This is called passing the buck.

    That’s the trouble in an authoritarian state that abuses its power and who seeks to control every organ of state.

    The learned judge’s hands are tied both ways.

    A real independent justice system wouldn’t pull its punches.

    Any political party whose manifesto includes the following has my vote:

    An independent judiciary, civil service, PA, Law Society, Presidency, SPF, CPIB, Electoral Commission.

    If you don’t like regime change, at least vote out AMK GRC as the s*ake’s head is there. Once that head is cut off even his stooges breathe easy.

    Why stooges?

    See, they dare not to open their mouths to comment on the inept Govt measures to make SG safer from the Wuhan virus.

    All cowards but every month still have no shame to pocket millions of taxpayer money.

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  • do not need to prove:

    //that Parliament – which passed the POFMA – did not mean for the Minister to bear the burden of proof.//

    if true, then it is a jiak sai PORMAR law ? but then sadly, sinkie land also has many jiak sai tua-liat hoots and plp in parliatmant who are in support of this jiak sai law ? so good business, can say others fake but do not need to prove ?

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  • It's understooded:

    Since when did the ministers ever have to prove any thing that they say or do?

    ownself prove ownself

    I say correct means correct. qed.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Are we watching the Dawn of a New Era where JUSTICE is in accordance with Lady and the scale Blindfolded???…no LEEgal finger tipping the scale???

    A Justice with a Country???…
    when there is NO JUSTICE there is NO COUNTRY just a state or Pisai Inc. ruled by a Dynasty of Bastards and Idiots…PERIOD!!!

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  • SGvirus:

    To the 70% pap voters, now you know how important every single vote of yours is? You do not only vote for an MP for your constituency, you’re also voting someone who sits in the Parliament to make policies as well as to pass an Act.

    With our parliament almost entirely covered in white, do you think they’ll mostly pass an Act to protect themselves or the common people?

    AGC says “Parliament did not mean for the minister to bear the burden of proof”? Wow! Is our Parliament just so careless? Or the group of people who came up with the Act want to make themselves God who can never be wrong? Machiam, “If I say it’s false, it’s false! No need for proof.”

    If accusing someone of saying something untrue doesn’t need to provide proof, then what would this world become to?

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  • Please:

    He [Justice Ang] reasoned that by issuing said correction direction against SDP, the Minister “seeks to infringe upon” the SDP’s right to free speech under Article 14 of the Singapore Constitution.

    Tell me what are you “educated People” going to do? when the Constitution is abused?

    1] President is to be elected by the citizens of Singapore
    2] Freedom of speech
    3] All persons are to be equal before the LAW?

    Use your vote wisely and correctly, please.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Please: Tell me what are you “educated People” going to do? when the Constitution is abused?

    1] President is to be elected by the citizens of Singapore
    2] Freedom of speech
    3] All persons are to be equal before the LAW?

    Use your vote wisely and correctly, please.

    “FEAR” bro it is fear and job security…cannot rock the BOAT…Bankruptcy court calls… MANAGING of mortgages and tuition fees and holidays to think of… will ONLY CONsider your appeal when I lose my job to Cronies & FTs lah!!!

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  • TheTruthWillSetUsFree:

    Lies upon lies till they cant even tell the truth from fiction.

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  • Boh Kia See:

    POFMA is not only about curtailing free speech. It goes one step further by curtailing having independent opinions contrary to the the PAP’s official views.

    If you have any opinions, keep it to yourself and be quiet about it. That is the effect of POFMA.

    Time to VTO the PAP–to reclaim out country from the clutches of the PAP. Then only can we free our minds from their control.

    VTO–the PAP for the sake of Singapore.

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  • INSIDE 200m is not within 200m:

    Justice Ang’s ruling makes it clear that a Correction Directive is a curb on free speech.

    ** It is also worth noting that the SDP had written to the Minister and asked for her explanation for the Correction Directive (CD), but they received none.

    ** This is similar to other POFMA cases, namely involving Kirsten Han and Terry Xu, who had similarly written to the ministers for more information or to clarify a story, but were met with silence from the ministers who later issued them POFMA CDs.

    we watch mostly Skorean dramas. we like the political ones best, those that have corrupt judges, ministers, prosecutors, chaebol owners all enriching each other with S$m ownself enrich ownself way.

    never fail to be so, in every such Skorean drama, to have one or more HONEST daring prosecutors who fight against the corrupt judges, ministers, prosecutors, chaebol owners.

    most times, even if it is prime minister, they end up in jail.

    as drama depicts real life, it is a telling message why Skorea has leapfrogged over decaying pap Singapore when cpib agc spf bank negara all report to that one man whom nobody else can check so much so can anyhow appoint ah beng ah seng to lucrative no need to account for anything S$m loyalty handout jobs gic temasick. even can no less than S$100m pa to wife in temasick, so INTERNET says, and it must be true since until today Feb 2020 there is no POFMA on the no less than S$100m pa payout to wife.

    no wonder INDIAN is malay. now the accsued must prove to accuser innocence. those sheep who say their children educated in nus law school truly WTF since isn’t it better to send children to London Oxford Cambridge law schools to learn real law than the nus law school type of INSIDE 200m is not within 200m BS.

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  • Judge VS AGC:

    The judge is right. Minister should have the burden of proof because most likely he/she has all the relevant facts which are not made public. To be the way around does not make sense and it curtails free speech.

    Did the judge “get the memo”? Is he relying on the “spin” to justify POFMA?

    Should not rely on “what Parliament meant”. Aren’t most MPs just useful idiots who cannot think for themselves and must be told by their party what to think and do?

    Who will prevail? The judge or AGC? Will the answer determine if Harvard Prof Li Shengwu is right (and now has to appear in court to be cross-examined or be “Davindered”?

    Will the judge wind up like District Judge Micahel Khoo, who acquitted Jeyaretnam?

    What do you think?

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  • Cry baby Pofma:

    Pofma, the cry baby act of the Pappies is actually, ‘pal lan por Mata’

    Heads you win tails you also win! Pappies law 101?

    This is a breach of our constitutional rights to free speech……….in any case what sdp write was not fake news!

    It was any analysis, explaining that Sinkies were short changed by not securing exe jobs while foreigners took the bulk of the jobs………just like what analysts worldwide in the financial markets do for a living, understand or not? Sometimes, this is also known as forecast…….stupid?

    The cry baby law should be dumped at the next erections!

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  • Judge VS AGC:

    patriot of TUMASIK: “FEAR” bro it is fear and job security…cannot rock the BOAT…Bankruptcy court calls… MANAGING of mortgages and tuition fees and holidays to think of… will ONLY CONsider your appeal when I lose my job to Cronies & FTs lah!!!

    Fear what? LKY is dead and he is never coming back. How long will Singaporeans remain “spineless”? There is no upside to continuing to be “spineless” and daft.

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  • Harder Truths:

    We have not had ‘free speech’ since 1965.
    Why make such big noise now? Nobody is interested.

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  • REGIME CHANGE is the solution:

    Straits Times: Chinese whistle-blower doctor who died fighting coronavirus only wanted people to ‘know the truth’

    In Singapore, he would likely have been POFMAed even sued to bankruptcy.

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  • So the Minister ...:

    … can lie, spread fake news, give out fake and massaged statistics?
    PAP Ministers said we have enough masks but the whole island ran out of masks for days before that, and continues to be so after that.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Judge VS AGC: Fear what? LKY is dead and he is never coming back. How long will Singaporeans remain “spineless”? There is no upside to continuing to be “spineless” and daft.

    The Bastard is DEAD but the LEEgacy LIVE on destroying the Dynasty and the “Fear & EVIL” reverse of LIVE will most likely Disappear

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  • TruBlu:

    MANY YEARS AGO,THE REVERED chiam see tong SAID IN parLEEmen,WHEN THE PRIME MINISTER SAID SO,IT MUST BE SO???

    SO?

    maybe JUSTICE ANG wants to ‘step down’…too tiresome???

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  • Left-handed OralMasturbator:

    Only Opposition parties like SDP dare to speak their mind and challenge where it is necessary. The rest dare not be themselves. Slaves

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  • must wear mask:

    So the Minister ...:
    … can lie, spread fake news, give out fake and massaged statistics?
    PAP Ministers said we have enough masks but the whole island ran out of masks for days before that, and continues to be so after that.

    well said, bro.

    Agree agree agree.

    there is no mask to be bought.

    pap Ljs have lied about the matter.

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  • Demand for a GE:

    Dr Chee, forget about these stupid idiots.

    Don’t fight on with these stupid and good for nothing G.

    Now can you and other opposition parties demand for a GE to be held ASAP.

    We need to kick them out and have a new G and get things in their correct order.

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  • Demand for a GE:

    Judge VS AGC: Fear what? LKY is dead and he is never coming back. How long will Singaporeans remain “spineless”? There is no upside to continuing to be “spineless” and daft.

    Yeah. What can LHL do now? He only can get shakemorecum and devil sing in high cord.

    At the most we are made bankrupt.

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  • Pioneer:

    Also, when a person is inside the GE polling station is NOT 200m within the polling station. Then, how did the chap get into the polling station ? By helicopter ? The other one is the controversial PAPresident.

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  • CCK:

    “A healthy society should not have just one voice.”
    — Dr. Li Wenliang, who died of the coronavirus he warned against…

    Dafts, please heed Dr Li’s advice …

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  • Nurses wear mask:

    Well Said by Andrew Loh!

    Keep writing for us!

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  • Flickshit:

    Let heaven to decide when to dismantle the LEE Dynasty and send all those idiots in parliament to HELL.

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  • Quote of the Day:

    If magicians are masters of illusions, then POFMA is the master of magicians.

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  • Mr Kia Su will CHEAT:

    Except in a kan**roo court,
    A non Lawyer with Strong Logic can destroy any Lawyer.

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