January 2, 1999
DP Party Chairman Hails Singaporean Demoratic Leader; Calls on Singapore
to Drop Charges
Hong Kong Democratic Party Chairman Martin Lee hailed Chee Soon Juan,
Secretary-General of the Singapore Democratic Party, for courageously exercising
his rights of free speech and assembly, and called upon the government
of Singapore to end its use of the legal system to squelch dissent. Mr.
Chee was charged on December 31 after criticizing the government in an
unlicensed speech in downtown Singapore. If convicted, Mr. Chee faces a
fine and a five-year ban on running in elections.
Martin Lee commented:
"I commend Chee Soon Juan for his courageous stance for democracy
and human rights in Singapore. I met him recently in Bangkok and was deeply
impressed by him.
Chee Soon Juan is bringing much needed attention to the situation
in Singapore, especially the government's manipulation of the legal system
to suppress dissent. A judicial system is meant to protect rights, not
diminish or deny them.
I call upon the Singaporean government to withdraw the charges it
has laid against Mr. Chee, to recognize the rights of all Singaporeans
to speak and meet freely, and to end its stranglehold on political power."