WP MP’s statements on detention law “pure theatrics with no substance”: Shanmugam

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Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam has criticised a female Workers’ Party parliamentarian’s statements on the proposed renewal of the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act (CLTPA) as “pure theatrics with no substance, calculated to mislead” in a Facebook post yesterday.

The Minister is most probably referring to WP chief Sylvia Lim who excoriated the bill in Parliament on Tuesday (6 Feb) as a “draconian” and “untenable” one.

The only other WP Members of Parliament (MP) that spoke on the subject were Pritam Singh and Dennis Tan, but the Minister clarified that he had “a good exchange” with these parliamentarians in the same post.

The Minister called Lim’s statements “curious” and one assertion in particular “untrue”. Read his comments on the matter in full here:

[ 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.

[ Curious Debate in Parliament ]Had a curious debate in Parliament yesterday, on amendments to the CLTPA.2. Couple…

Posted by K Shanmugam Sc on Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Sylvia Lim and Shanmugam cross swords over “untenable” bill that allows for detentions without trial