Government and people both agree, yet a wrong cannot be righted

Defending the practice of having trials in open court, Law Minister K Shanmugam rightfully said in March last year that justice must not only be done but be seen to be done.

In the case of the City Harvest Church sentencing, all the public  murmurings have been due to the fact that justice was not seen to be done. The disquiet and discontent has been vindicated because the Minister said in Parliament that the government believes the sentences are too low.

The Minister made a cogent point: that those higher up in rank and seniority should be more culpable and liable for more severe punishments, compared with ordinary employees. “That’s really common sense, and there can be no question about that,” he pointedly remarked.

The two words jumped out: common sense. This is precisely what ordinary Singaporeans applied in coming up with the notion that the church leaders got off too lightly. Examples abound, like the case of someone who stole $1,900 from a place of worship and was sentenced to 4.5 years’ jail. In comparison, we are talking about misappropriation of $50 million here and the sentences are lighter.

It just didn’t make sense to the ordinary men and women. Common sense says something is wrong.

But common sense can sometimes be misguided, like when people claim the sentences are light because PAP MP Edwin Tong acted as counsel for Pastor Kong Hee. This may be construed as common sense to some, but it is  flawed and has no basis for justification.

In any case, Minister Shanmugam has said that the government will move to plug a gap in the law to ensure legislation allows for higher penalties for directors and senior officers who commit criminal breach of trust.

Again, we have to go back to common sense. All the learned minds in the law and legal fraternity, for all those years, and common sense did not prevail to spot and plug a glaring gap in the law. Well, better late than never and hard luck to the future offenders.

Incidentally, I don’t know if a moviemaker out there is thinking what I’m thinking.

Over four years of legal battles. Most expensive criminal trial. Big money. Evangelical faith. Dynamic concert-like services. Whistle blowing. Cover-ups. A charismatic pastor and his pop star wife. All the ingredients for a movie. If this is Hollywood, the script would already have been written.


Augustine Low



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12 Responses to “Government and people both agree, yet a wrong cannot be righted”

  • karma:

    A father who is poor cannot afford baby power steal will face harsher sentence …cunt flee of interest so smelly……fake news lah

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  • Why???:

    In Sillyapore everything is possible.

    White can be Black
    Indian can be Malay
    Inside is not within the 200m radius
    Common sense is Not common sense
    With $1,000 income one can purchase an apartment (Opph LEASE)
    You only need a small space to FISH
    Need to raise water price by up to 30% so to punish those who waste it
    FT create job for the local
    “CPF is not your money” NMP Chia YY
    Aged citizen collecting cardboard is a form of an exercise. These idiot being paid million yet can give such a remark.

    The list goes on and on…..

    Seriously, do you think we are really daft? In 2010 Minister Mentor did said that we are!!!

    I think we can confirm that we are really DAFT because Sillyapore have given them a strong mandate.

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  • 马医拉:



    五十年后,人口五百万,很大的一部份(a lion share)是外来人





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  • MarBowling:

    Box office movie$:
    Lee Kayu FAMILEE saga at 38 Oxley Road & or
    Tua Kee Pastor Con Hee @CHC(Con Hee Church)saga

    HoLee $moke. Very clear as the Blue Sky in SinKapore, The epic Centre of the HOLE CHC saga is Some Hole. And yet Some Hole is NOT charged for any Offence that is related to the CHC saga and Hide Court Case! Which means that if there No Some Hole sipping China Wine which cost THE CHC CHURCH a Bomb and which led to a kind hearted member of CHC to Blow the damn whistle, there WILL BE NO CHC SAGA AND THERE WILL BE NO THAT LONG-WINDED HIDE COURT CASE which lasted more than 2 LOONG years AND which drain public time and resources, expenses and MOST important of ALL, where the HELL did all the 6 jokers have all those monie$$$$$ to engage those $millions Senior Counsels to represent them and finally able to REDUCE their jail term by HALF! Big Nose Teo and 69.9% what do you think?

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  • Damn:

    A disgrace that we have come to this… What a farce!

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  • Goh:

    Yes! The movie will be another cash cow for City Harvest….. If they tell the true story of how thousands were hoodwinked!

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  • An Elaborated Fuss and Excuse:

    There is no need for Vincent to regurgitate the fuss about Edwin Tong. Many are clear with what the facts are. As with many other incidences, it’s just a ploy and excuse by the evil khekling to curb criticisms, who himself is an adulter before annointed as a ministar, with no moral standing.

    Many dafts, though dafts they might be, could see through these hypocritical pretext of the evil regime.

    Many see this incident as creative satire and individual opinion, as with many other examples, expressions of individual frustrations that the government is trying desperately to silence.

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  • patriot of Temesak:

    The LAW is based on what one man INTERPRET it…Lie Con You…when he and family accept GRATIFICATION it is Known as “There is NO level playing field, I will get to eggs from the Char Kway Teow man and you get one” that is RECEIVING Gratification with NO Recourse…caught with his pants down on Receiving Gratification buying PLC Condos from HPL where his brother is a Director… he RETURNED the Gratification by giving it to Charity NOT to the Rightful owner the ShareHolders of HPL…The ACT is an act of GUILT…and what happen??? NOTHING!!!

    The Blind Lady with the scale @ Supreme Court if you look closely has a HOLE in it!!!

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  • common cents and $$:

    It is also ‘common sense and no question about that’ that when all the train breaking downs are taken into consideration, the top guns MUST be held responsible!!…or that only applies to the ordinary folks and not those rich ‘elites’??

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    Anyway Kong Hee will not be able to enter developed countries to preach his prosperity gospel once after he gets out of jail. A number of countries will deny him entry because he’s got a criminal record & served jail time. And that includes the US, the UK, Australia, Japan, etc. And there hardly any mention of his Pop Princess wife in the music charts these day! Her China Wine, China Wine days are over! Now hangover! Shows you that even spending SG$50 million can’t buy you everlasting fame! Her singing in English isn’t even that good!

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  • C'est la vie:

    Charles Dickens has said, and befittingly so, “the law is an ass, an idiot”, and SG would, in all certainty top the surveys, stats and charts if ever there was one.

    I can only imagine that the SG judicial system just lacks interpretative intelligence in relation to “SG law” as they have shown, with an inability to grasp, “within a radius of 200 metres”, “the position is reserved for a Malay” and now here, with “agent”, to name but three instances.

    Then again, it’s unimportant really given that SG is a one party dominant state and the law here is, basically PAP law and the majority are pretty contented really, and the message over the decades has been one of, “it’s our (PAP) island, our (PAP) law and if you don’t like it, you can always …………… ”

    So, I suppose it’s a case of live and let live a la PAP style !!!

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  • Dr Tan Tai Wei:

    I think the Apex Court made a misjudgment. Even though it’s arguable that the term “agent” in that context was meant to mean a person in some specific professional “agency” capacity, etc., surely no judge should expect the written law to state and specify all exact examples of offenders falling under a principle governing a type of offence. Those that were indeed specified are mere examples picked up for mention at the time the law was drafted. Their significance in law is surely to show up the sort and nature of like offences that warrant prosecution and like punishment, ie. it is the principle underlying those specified offenders in the written law that matters, and not the letter of the law. So if it were so that church leaders had had the same sort of power over funds and misappropriated them like “agents”, etc., then they should be held similarly responsible.

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