Lawyer Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss in a Facebook message, has hit back at those who had suggested that she took up convicted murderer Kho Jabing’s case because she wanted to further her political ambitions. Her post could be aimed at Singapore’s Ambassador-at-large Bilahari Kausikan.
Ms Chong-Aruldoss, and fellow-lawyer Mr Alfred Dodwell made a last minute attempt to get the Court to suspend the execution of Jabing who is convicted for killing a construction worker. They failed in their attempt. Jabing was hung on 20 May at 3.30pm.
Mr Kausikan in sharing the news report of the lawyer’s attempt to save the murderer’s life suggested that it was politically motivated. The Ambassador said: “This politically motivated 11th hour attempt to stay execution is despicable. If there were no new facts or arguments, they must — unless they were totally incompetent lawyers — have known that the appeal would fail. So they raised false hope in Mr Kho’s family and perhaps in Mr Kho himself for their own political agenda. That is completely cynical and ought to be condemned.”
In taking a jibe supposedly at the Mr Kausikan, Ms Chong Aruldoss said, “some well-educated and title-endowed commentator(s) have accused me of taking up Jabing’s case for political mileage.” She added: “I am amazed at the stupidity of such a proposition.”
Ms Chong-Aruldoss asked how does it serve anyone’s political ambitions to act for a convicted murderer and added, “only an idiot will think that one may attain public popularity by associating with criminals – worse, a murderer.”
Ms Chong-Aruldoss further said that in choosing to defend Jabing, she followed her heart and her personal convictions, and will have to pay the price for disregarding popular opinion.
“But to say that I did what I did to score political points – now that’s dumbest thing ever,” Ms Chong-Aruldoss asserted.
This is not the first time Mr Kausikan had crossed swords with Ms Chong-Aruldoss. In December last year, the Ambassador made references to foreign interference in replying to Ms Chong-Aruldoss’ blogpost and subsequent rejoinder.
This is also not the first time the Ambassador had created unnecessary controversy. In May 2015, European Union Ambassador to Singapore Dr Michael Pulch and French Ambassador to Singapore Benjamin Dubertret wrote a letter to The Straits Times forum to rebut Mr Kausikan’s Speeches on freedom of speech and human rights.
Mr Kausikan countered the Ambassadors by replying on that same platform that the extreme ideology of freedom of speech that has landed Europe in a conundrum is a false path which needed to be exposed.
Then in April of this year, Mr Kausikan (together with Ambassador Ong Keng Yong) suggested that China was splitting ASEAN in reaching a consensus with three ASEAN states on the South China Sea. China’s Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin expressed shock at the Ambassadors’ comments and sought clarifications from the Singapore Government regarding the comments.