Andrew Loh: It is terrible that the government is now trying to hijack the Poha for its own political agenda

At the very beginning of the Second Reading of the Protection from Harassment Act (PHA) Bill in 2014, the Minister of Law, K Shanmugam, provided a “CONTEXT” in which the government was introducing the new law.

These were the minister’s very first words in the speech:

“Let me start with the social context we have today which has led to this Bill.”

This is very important and I suspect this was why the Court of Appeal rejected Mindef’s claims.

You should read these short paragraphs – for they clearly, in the minister’s own words, show who the PHA was meant to protect.

To summarise, the minister cited and referred to the following:

- Sexual harassment
- Stalking conduct
- Impersonation
- Baby of a blogger (who was harassed online)
- Doctor (who was harassed online)

The minister’s words, referring to emails received from members about the Bill:

- “Majority of them are women, recounting their personal experiences and welcoming the Bill.”

- “One writer described her harrowing experience with a fellow colleague.”

- “Another writer feared for her safety as her employer, who was the harasser, had a violent temper.”

- “A third writer told us that she was a victim of harassment and stalking from about 5 years ago and that her life has never been the same since. She continues to be traumatised until today.”

The instances the minister referred to:

- “Bullying among our youths…”

- “Our children are particularly vulnerable to cyber risks.”

- “In schools we are familiar with the kinds of bullying that take place – name-calling, inappropriate jokes, intimidating behaviour, and the like.”

- “Harassment of ex-girlfriends”

- “The Institute of Policy Studies organised a conference in November last year. It was attended by legal professionals, educators, social workers and civic groups, including NGOs like AWARE. It gave us a good sense of what professionals actively dealing with the issues thought. This was in addition to the survey which showed that 85 % of the public wanted tougher legislation to deal with harassment.”

It is patently clear that the PHA was NEVER meant to protect the government, or govt-linked institutions or even corporate companies.

Otherwise, why did the Law Minister – himself a Senior Counsel well versed in the law – not squeak a single word about this in the entire debate in Parliament?

Could be that he…… forgot to do so?

The PHA, as I’ve said, is a good and necessary protection for the vulnerable who may not have recourse to any other legislation.

But it is terrible that the govt is now trying to hijack it for its own political agenda – to protect itself from criticism, despite the fact that it is probably the most powerful entity in the land with unlimited resources to put its views across to the public.

Let’s not be lulled into the falsehood that this is about falsehoods, as claimed by the Ministry of Law.

 

*Facebook post by Andrew Loh.

 

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9 Responses to “Andrew Loh: It is terrible that the government is now trying to hijack the Poha for its own political agenda”

  • N.Jungne:

    If allowed, we can say bye-bye to our CPF.

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  • oxygen:

    PHA SHOULD NOT AND MUST NOT be used by the BIG STRONG & POWERFUL to intimidate and harass the small, weak and vulnerable.

    To allow otherwise is travesty of law application and in contravention of the legislative intent arrived at in the political dog house. And instead it will be the sham and shame in blatant violation of the “OTHERWISE WRONG” doctrine of administrative law application.

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  • oxygen:

    IT IS REALLY GOOD TO SEE the PAPpys got a real caning on this one.

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  • PAP Contempt of Citizens:

    Wonderful Andrew. Great piece of rebuttal which the PAP for donkey years, seek to rebut even for the slightest issue. They claimed bcos its a government so they have to rebut in order Singaporeans have confidence in them running this society.

    Well done Andrew GXFC CNY.

    The PAP has NO LEGITIMACY for clean and honest rebuttal because they have themselves been lying about almost everything under the Singapore sun.

    And on falsehoods, the CORRUPTED PAP is the BIGGEST purveyor of lies and falsehoods ranging from a limp escaping a tight security prison, to columbarium housing the dead which the PAP also want to lie about AND DISTURBED THE LIVING.

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  • Homeless Cat:

    oxygen:
    IT IS REALLY GOOD TO SEE the PAPpys got a real caning on this one.

    I think the proper term is ‘satisfying’. Will they learn from this, I wonder?

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  • Bull's eye vs Bullshit:

    “Let’s not be lulled into the falsehood that this is about falsehoods, as claimed by the Ministry of Law.”

    Andrew Loh’s Bull’s eye.
    Ministry of Law’s Bullshit.

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  • kf:

    When citizens see falsehoods, they will also go into
    robust debates. Let’s see if the officials can clear this
    up before the Terrexes return :-)

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  • ganeshsk:

    I believe in one of the parliamentary sessions , the late Mr Rajaratnam was explain quite lucidly about two types of truth, 1. The truth and 2. the Whole truth.

    So the govt is now trying to amend the law to get protection so that the Whole Truth is never trumped upon them and they don’t have to explain.

    So we stick to the truth only aka falsehood at the G’s convenience.

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  • SINCERITY OR DISHONESTY?:

    Quote: “It is patently clear that the PHA was NEVER meant to protect the government, or govt-linked institutions or even corporate companies.
    Otherwise, why did the Law Minister – himself a Senior Counsel well versed in the law – not squeak a single word about this in the entire debate in Parliament?
    Could be that he…… FORGOT TO DO SO?” (capitals are mine)

    I don’t think Law Minister Shanmugam has forgotten. Lawyers are supposed to have elephant memory and be meticulous in the their utterances, especially the Minster, who is has a shining profile and record as a lawyer before his entry into politics.

    So, could we infer that:

    1. EITHER, he really, honestly and sincerely means “the social context we have today which has led to this Bill” is as he has quoted – sexual harassment of women and bully among children?

    2. OR, he intentionally omits to say anything about “protection of the government, or govt-linked institutions” as part of the “social context” for PHA, in order to pull wool over our eyes about the PAP’s hidden political agenda?

    Either way, PUBLICLY the Minister has committed himself to apply the PHA (when passed) in the “social context” he has illustrated (with instances).

    If, however, PHA is applied to protect the government or government-linked institutions, then PAP would have proven that it has implicitly and blatantly lied to realise its hidden political agenda .

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