Criminalising Critique of the Singapore Judiciary

by Assoc. Prof. TEY Tsun Hang


Despite its small size, Singapore occupies a position of special significance in the debate on the relationship between economic development and political, social and legal institutions. The ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) of Singapore legitimises its authoritarian political regime – and insulates it from substantive scrutiny – via a three-pronged strategy: first, through its tightly controlled media and communication channels; secondly, by delivering an admirable economic performance and, creating and maintaining an awe-inspiring standard of living; and thirdly – and most importantly – through its legal institutions. However, there are profound logical flaws and stark absences of consistency in the judgments that help secure this legal state of affairs. This article confines its analysis to the criminal offence of scandalising the judiciary, in the context of critical reporting of the judgments in political defamation cases in Singapore.


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  • Sillypore  On July 26, 2012 at 7:24 am

    A great site!

    If one followed the govt-controlled media yesterday about what happened to Prof Tey now, and read this site, he/she surely can make the linkage and have better perspective.

    Sad day for Sillypore!

  • SincereCritic  On July 26, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Sincerely hope we are not witnessing the return of the days whereby critics of the govt are oppressed with all means of the state.

    Question: if the investigation has been going on since Apr, why is it only reported these last few days? Or, if info of such investigation is supposed to be kept confidential until the case appears in court, then why the leakage now? Singaporeans do not seem to be capable of asking such questions. So I do it here.

    All the best to the prof.

  • AH Beng OK  On July 26, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    The prof tey is silly (but not stupid) to do this – having sexual relationship with his student. nobody will believe what he writes here now. one case gone.

  • Connecting the dots...  On July 27, 2012 at 8:34 am

    is this why the professor investigated for sexual impropriety???

    connecting the dots…

  • Majulah Singapura  On July 28, 2012 at 10:31 am

    The sad truth about Singapore today is reflected in the comment made by AH Beng OK above. Once the media leaked out the investigation story two days ahead of the court appearance, coupled with the obvious spinning, Prof Tey and the lady concerned were immediately nailed as ‘guilty’. Most Singaporeans seem to think that way. They have all forgotten about the universal principle of “innocent until proven guilty”. They would rather let the media be the judge, forgetting that the PAP government is in full control of the media. Effectively, the PAP government is the investigator, the prosecutor and the judge. Silly Singaporeans readily hand over the powers all into the hand of a few so-called elite, know-all scholars.

    I see this blog play at least one important role – educate Singaporeans on the many issues and ideas that they are so alien to, due to the tight media and academic control. For this, I say, Bravo!

  • Michael Faye  On July 28, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Ah Beng, sound ideas and views stand strong on their own. furthermore, isn’t the case jst got started and *NOT* concluded yet???

  • Daft, so What?  On July 29, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I recalled, Dr CSJ was charged for falsely claiming for taxi-fares, postage stamps. This is ample proof when their toes were just ONLY so slightly-stepped, they were ALL-OUT to get you. And other things that he did deemed ‘dangerous’ was it, that he had a recording of him and Vasoo talking? For talking of gravity of state matters, as long as PAP or PAP sanctioned, the outcomes of negative events are expected – MAS Selamats escape, Minister defence of Brompton Bikes purchase, SMRT fiasco, population blunders, Sex and misdemeanours of HIGH public officers, Temaseks/GICs investment woes, CPF ever changing of rules to delay withdrawals etc etc, endless.

  • Nick Lim  On July 30, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I can almost see the parallel between Prof Tey’s present case and Anwar Ibrahim’s situation in Malaysia. Sad day for Singapore and Singaporeans.

  • MeowMeowAunty  On August 4, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Prof Tey is indeed a worthy Professor of Law, not only are his articles written with brutal honesty as commented by MeowMeow in another article.

    But also his ability to grasp and present much relevance on core issues in Singapore Law regarding political governance. In short, he has the guts and knowledge in presenting on what matters most.

    I have you in my thoughts Prof Tey !

    Best regards


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