Blogger Han Hui Hui was physically removed from the chambers in Parliament after she disrupted the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods’ final day of hearings today.
Han disrupted the proceedings by holding up an image of the cover of a book, as historian Thum Ping Tjin was delivering his testimony in front of the Committee, which included Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.
The book cover image Han was holding up is from a book entitled “Authoritarian Rule of Law – Legislation, Discourse and Legitimacy in Singapore”, written by Minister Shanmugam’s first wife, Jothie Rajah.
Parliament staff confiscated Han’s papers and told her to leave the chambers but she refused to do so. Insisting that she was holding “blank papers”, Han was heard saying: “No, these are just blank papers. Look, I’m just trying to write my notes here … I don’t want to miss his hearing,” she said. “I want to follow his hearing which is why I purposely came here.”
She reportedly added: “I want to sit here because I want to follow the hearing…What else you want from me? I already give you my papers…What did I do wrong? Can you give me an official paper to say I cannot stay?”
A female staff member responded, “Either you walk out on your own or I bring you out.” to which Han replied, “I’m not going.” She was then physically lifted out of the chambers by three female staff members.
A five-minute break was called in the chambers after Han was ejected from the room. A Parliament spokesperson told reporters that Han was removed from the chambers for creating a disturbance in Parliament while the Committee was hearing evidence. The representative added: “This was after she was requested to leave, but refused to do so.”
Socio-political commentator Bertha Henson who was in the chambers when the incident occurred around 3pm recounted on her Facebook page:
“What a spectacle! So Han Hui Hui has to be woman-handled out of the select committee hearing room. I didn’t see her come in but I certainly heard her when the ushers went up to her seat. It wasnt clear what they wanted from her, and it seemed like it was about some papers in her hand which she didn’t want to hand over.
“So she goes ‘what did I do wrong etc…’ and I wondered if it was because she was reading a magazine instead of listening to the exchange (not polite etc) but my more sharp-eyed neighbor said she was holding print-outs of the cover of Jothie Rajah’s book, Authoritarian Rule of Law. I don’t know if she was flashing them before TV cameras or intending to distribute them but parl staff came to her some 10 minutes later to demand that she hand them over.
“In case you don’t know the book is very uncomplimentary look at the legal system here by the ex-wife of the law and Home affairs minister who was doing all the questioning of PJ Thum.
“And if you have seen Han Hui Hui in action before, you know she isn’t shy about raising her high pitched voice, insisting on her rights and for a written note if they were going to throw her out. She steadfastly refused to move, saying she wanted to listen to her hearing. Two or three times , she told staff not to ‘touch her’. It got so that chairman Charles Chong called on the sergeant at arms to deal with her outside and called for a five minute adjournment. She refused to leave still and was told by someone who seems to be a policewoman that she could walk out or be taken out. And so we have three women dragging her by her armpits our of the room. She was put in a little room outside the hearing room. Dunno what happened next.”
Han was reportedly held in a holding room for over an hour before she was escorted into another room by six officials.