Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Questions for the Workers' Party

11.7.08 The Workers' Party's response

Hi Dr Huang,

Thank you for your email and our apology for the late response. We hope our terse reply does address some of your concerns. The questions you highlighted are interesting food for thought. We hope that you can join us someday when such topics are raised again at one of our public conferences.

On Wed, Jul 2, 2008 at 8:40 PM, S C Huang wrote:

1. In your Manifesto , it is stated in Section 1 Government & Civil Liberties:Item D. 4. Peaceful demonstrations shall be allowed subject to prior notification to the police to ensure minimum disruption to traffic and public converuence (typo ?convenience).

My question: Do you sanction/advocate civil disobedience by participation of peaceful demonstrations if the Home Ministry continues its recalcitrant action of never ever allowing any peaceful gatherings of more than 4 persons? Should unjust laws be ever broken?

Civil disobedience is just one of the ways to challenge unjust laws. The Workers' Party (WP) believes the best method to challenge unjust laws in this society is through the ballot.We view any significant inroad made by WP in an election as a brave act of 'civil disobedience' by the people against a government they thought has enacted one too many unjust laws.

2. In Section 1 E, it is also stated :1. Ministers should be rewarded fairly and equitably for their contribution to the country.2. Ministers' remuneration should be benchmarked internationally against the political office of developed countries. Their remuneration should also take into account all associated benefits (e.g. benefits-in-kind) under the total remuneration or total employment costs ("TEC").

My question: In WP's opinion, what is fair and equitable as far as Ministers' remuneration is concerned ? (Please be specific)

We do not have a specific answer to your question but at the last GE, WP suggested a formula to peg the Ministers' salary increments to the lowest 20% of the workforce with a multiple of 80 or 100 times. That way, when the salaries of the low wage earners move up, the salaries of the Ministers will move in tandem.If you are interested to read the debate in Parliament over this issue, please click the link below:-

Josephine Teo's response: http://www.parliament.gov.sg/parlweb/get_highlighted_content.jsp?docID=797261&hlLevel=Terms&links=MINIST,SALARI&hlWords=%20bottom%20lowest%2020%20&hlTitle=&queryOption=1&ref=http://www.parliament.gov.sg:80/reports/public/hansard/title/20070409/20070409_S0005_T0001.html#1

Regards,

Koh Choong Yong, Webmaster, WP

Png Eng Huat, Deputy Webmaster, WP


My Original post on 2.7.08

Hi Friends,

I remember one of the government Ministers (?Dr. Ng Eng Hen) chiding a Workers’ Party MP ( ?Sylvia Lim) for taking the easy way out whenever she was questioned about her party’s stand on certain public issues.

She would say ,” It is written in the WP’s Manifesto” or something to that effect. She probably wanted to also say, “ You go and read it yourself, you lazy man, you” but because it was unparliamentary to call another member of the august chamber “lazy”, she did not. ( I am just trying to read her complex mind- I am be wrong). She could have wanted to say something worse.

Anyway, the election of WP’s latest Central Executive Committee yesterday, somehow attracted me to their website.

I normally do not go to WP’s website as it is seldom updated and also terribly dry and unexciting. Unlike SDP’s website, which is always full of “brimstone and fire” kind of speeches and articles, and sometimes even almost move me to tears.

Before I digress further and turn off even more of my already dwindling readership, let me just say that I think I know why Sylvia Lim (SL) finds it convenient to tell the Minister to go and read the Manifesto himself! Because there is actually quite a lot of well-thought material in the Manifesto! And written in plain non-legalese English too! My only criticism is that much of the stuff is rather generic and lacks specifics. Also 2 years have passed and the Manifesto is becoming rather dated. Click here for the Workers' Party Manifesto 2006

However, for the purpose of public education, I shall ask the WP some questions pertaining to the Manifesto 2006.

I shall just confine my questions to Section 1 Government & Civil Liberties. Perhaps some other bloke will do the next section ( or I will ).

Here goes,


Hi WP,

1. In your Manifesto , it is stated in Section 1 Government & Civil Liberties:

Item D. 4. Peaceful demonstrations shall be allowed subject to prior notification to the police to ensure minimum disruption to traffic and public converuence (typo ?convenience).

My question: Do you sanction/advocate civil disobedience by participation of peaceful demonstrations if the Home Ministry continues its recalcitrant action of never ever allowing any peaceful gatherings of more than 4 persons? Should unjust laws be ever broken?

2. In Section 1 E, it is also stated :

1. Ministers should be rewarded fairly and equitably for their contribution to the country.

2. Ministers' remuneration should be benchmarked internationally against the political office of developed countries. Their remuneration should also take into account all associated benefits (e.g. benefits-in-kind) under the total remuneration or total employment costs ("TEC").

My question: In WP’s opinion, what is fair and equitable as far as Ministers’ remuneration is concerned ? (Please be specific)

Thank you for your indulgence,

Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan


cc: Workers' Party's Website

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps can add one more question to Sylvia Lim: Can she explain why she thinks that the judiciary is world class?

Anonymous said...

There's more to question.

All parties in Singapore have failed the people. All people in Singapore have failed each other.

nofearSingapore said...

Hi all,
I have not received any response from the WP.
Not even an acknowledgement that they have received my e-mail.
I will give WP some more time to at least acknowledge my email.
Can someone connected to WP please nudge them ( in the ribs if possible)?

Subra said...

Hi there,

I agree with you on your comments about the workers' party website. They seriously need to get some active staff to update the information there. One can't help but feel that they are not doing enough to engage citizens.
We don't see them being active outside of parliament and their performance within parliament is less than desirable.
Of course, I salute them for standing up for the citizenry in the first place and engaging in politics. But, they can certainly do more and they can certainly be more issue specific instead of being sedated and inspecific in tackling issues.

nofearSingapore said...

Hi all,
I have written to the WP but now to the organising@wp.sg instead of the webmaster.
I hope I have better luck here!
If not then the WP's admin really sucks- either they can't even get their Contact Us page up to scratch or that they don't believe in engagement!
Time is running out!

JD said...

Agree with Anon 2:46 AM, July 04, 2008. Try emailing to PAP. The last time I checked they were the ones running the country

nofearSingapore said...

Hi jd,
I agree that PAP is running the country.
But that does not mean that WP cannot try to answer some simple questions?
If we want to be accepted as serious contenders for govt, the least we can do is to engage the public no matter how uncomfortable that maybe.

PP said...

Sylvia Lim's speech on
Law on unlawful assembly (2007)

This refers to clauses 29 and 30 of the Bill. By clause 29 of the Bill, we are removing the heading “Offences Against Public Tranquility” and replacing it with “Offences relating to Unlawful Assembly”. By Clause 30, we will be deleting “mischief or trespass or other offence” and replacing it with “to commit any offence”.
S 141 has been amended to bring it in line with a recent Court of Appeal case: PP v Tan Meng Khin [1995] 2 SLR 505. Now, an assembly will be unlawful if people intend to commit an offence punishable with imprisonment of 6 mths or more, even if it is peaceful and does not disturb public tranquility. Under our law, a person who organizes a procession or assembly after the police rejection of a permit can be punished with max 6 months jail under the Miscellaneous Offences Act. Hence 5 or more people who gather to do so will become members of an unlawful assembly.
The decision in Tan Meng Khin’s case overturned another Court of Appeal decision PP v Fo Son Hing one year before that. In the earlier case, the Court of Appeal considered the words of S 141 and determined that it was aimed at gatherings which threatened public tranquility or a breach of the peace, and hence peaceful gatherings would not be punished as unlawful assemblies. In the later case of Tan Meng Khin, the Court of Appeal changed its mind and read S 141 to cover gatherings to commit any offence even if there is no threat to public tranquility.
Connected with this, offences connected to unlawful assembly show drastic increases in maximum jail terms. Being a member of such an assembly will see stakes rise from a max of 6 months jail to 2 years jail, a 4X increase. Joining an unlawful assembly knowing it has been commanded to disperse, will go up from 2 years to 5 years.
Sir, we should bear in mind that there are already many laws in place which can punish people who attempt or collaborate with others to commit any offence. The prosecution has enough to choose from to charge groups of people who collaborate to commit crime e.g. abetment, conspiracy, attempt.
Article 14(1) of the Constitution supposedly enshrines the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and without arms. Although Art 14(2) allows Parliament to set limits to this freedom, it is stated that it should be for the security of Singapore and public order, and no more than that.
Sir, let us distinguish between gatherings which are violent such as rioting, and those which are peaceful.
The constant refrain of fearing law and order problems makes a mockery of licensing law – why have a law saying a permit is needed, when it is seldom granted? Minister for Law mentioned on Fri that Singapore needed controls as we were a densely populated country. But so is Hongkong.
As our society continues to evolve, the time is surely ripe for us to allow peaceful outdoor protests as a form of expression. By all means, we can have rules about how, where and when such processions may be held, but wider law reform is needed. S 141 should be restricted to offences which threaten the public peace, and other laws such as the Miscellaneous Offences Act which require permits for peaceful assemblies should be modified.

PP said...

Anon #1

I don't remember Sylvia Lim ever saying that "the judiciary is world class"?