LETTER | I refer to the statement issued yesterday by Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) claiming that Lawyers for Liberty’s civil suit against Singapore Home Minister K Shanmugam was "baseless" as it had been dismissed by Kuala Lumpur High Court (LFL’s civil suit was in response to the issuance of a notice under the notorious Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act [Pofma] by Singapore against LFL for exposing brutal execution methods in Changi prison).
The ministry's statement yesterday is incorrect and irresponsible intended to mischaracterise what happened in the KL High Court and mislead the public in both Singapore and Malaysia.
In fact, LFL’s civil suit had simply expired as it was not served yet upon Shanmugam. It was not "struck out" by the KL High Court in the manner alleged by the Singapore authorities. Further, the KL High Court had on Sept 21 allowed LFL to re-file the civil suit against Singapore, which shows that the suit was far from being "baseless". We note that Singapore deliberately did not mention this important fact in their press statement.
We can now confirm that LFL has re-filed the civil suit against the Singapore Home Minister K Shanmugam in the KL High Court. We will be vigorously prosecuting this civil suit, which is intended to protect the freedom of expression of Malaysians against encroachment by a foreign country.
The Singapore Home Ministry also insinuates that the court papers were never served by LFL upon Shanmugam. But they dishonestly failed to mention that Singapore’s attorney-general had by letter of Feb 13 to LFL’s lawyers, refused to accept service of the court papers.
In short, Shanmugam and the Singapore government were desperately trying to avoid or delay service of the court papers upon him.
The ministry also claimed again that LFL did not "substantiate" its claim that brutal execution methods were used at Singapore’s Changi prison. In fact, LFL had repeatedly asked Singapore to grant immunity from prosecution to the former Singapore prison officer who had supplied the evidence of brutality to LFL. But Singapore has refused to grant immunity to enable this whistleblower to give evidence in Singapore courts.
In short, Singapore has done everything possible to ensure that the truth about the brutal execution methods in Changi prison remains buried.
In fact, this may be an apt case for a Pofma notice to be issued to the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs itself, as it has made so many false or misleading claims in its statement yesterday.
Singapore’s relentless attacks upon LFL is akin to "shooting the messenger". Instead of hurling abuse at LFL, Singapore should address global concerns of its draconian and brutal death penalty regime.
We call upon the government of Singapore to disclose the real truth about its execution methods and to review its discriminatory and unjust use of the death penalty. The truth cannot remain buried forever.
The writer is advisor, Lawyers for Liberty.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.