Daily Lessons from Life 06-07 February 2018 - Detention without trial
"Extension of detention without trial ‘necessary’ - but so are safeguards, say PAP MPs
SINGAPORE: Members of Parliament (MPs) from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) on Tuesday (Feb 6) threw their support behind legislation for the 14th renewal of a law allowing detention without trial, but also raised a number of clarifications centered on preventing abuses of power.
The Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act (CLTPA) is “a necessary tool” for Singapore’s law enforcers and will continue to be for the next five years until it lapses again, said Mr Christopher de Souza.
In a nod to how the Act has “clearly helped” maintain public safety, peace and good order, Mr Ang Wei Neng and several other MPs also pointed to the declining number of Criminal Law Detainees (CLD) over the years: From 1,260 in 1988 to 463 in 1998, 290 in 2008 and 103 in 2017.
The likes of Mr Louis Ng and Nominated Member of Parliament Professor Mahdev Mohan also noted how the use of the word “temporary” in the Act’s title belies its 14 extensions since enacted in 1955.
Mr Gan and Mr Ang both called on the Minister to “re-assure” Singaporeans that safeguards were in place to prevent abuse of power.
“I’ve talked about the inbuilt procedural requirements for the parties involved; the processes,” said Mr Shanmugam. “In the end when you give such power to the executive, that is the concern - there is some scope for abuse, but you try and cut it down.”
He added: “But I think you should decide by accepting that if you don’t have the CLTPA, then your law and order situation will get worse. How much worse? It’s not possible to say, but it will.
“Are you prepared to justify that and take that kind of society?”"
This law has been extende 14 times since 1955. It has been credited with keeping the triads out n serious gangterism down. The main concern has always been will it be abused to silence dissenting voices to the government.
I m not sure there were enough evidence to show that this law was used against opposition political members. Instead, libel suits against them by national leaders till they r declared bankrupt seems to b a much more effective tactic by the ruling party.
So, I m for detention without trial if indeed the person or persons involved would intimidate witnesses to not testify or be harmed!!
A declining n small number as can be seen by the revelation. Maybe it is worth the trade off.
As for Minister Shanmugan's jab at WP MPs' objection as hyperbole; it is totally unnecessary just like his question here: "If you don’t have the CLTPA, then your law and order situation will get worse. How much worse? It’s not possible to say, but it will.
“Are you prepared to justify that and take that kind of society?”"!!