Blog Posts by Andrew Loh

  • COMMENT: Why deport the acquitted in Little India riot?

    Our blogger asks, "Why repatriate the innocent, the acquitted?" (AFP file photo)Our blogger asks, "Why repatriate the innocent, the acquitted?" (AFP file photo)

    Andrew helms publichouse.sg as Editor-in-Chief. His writings have been reproduced in other publications, including the Australian Housing Journal in 2010. He was nominated by Yahoo Singapore as one of Singapore's most influential media persons in 2011. The views expressed here are his own.

    “The Government is absolutely committed to upholding the presumption of innocence, as a core principle in our commitment to the Rule of Law,” said Law Minister K Shanmugam in Parliament in 2008. “There is no intention to question or qualify that principle in any way.”

    Shanmugam was explaining then-Attorney General Walter Woon’s remarks made earlier in the year that “an acquittal does not mean that an accused is innocent.”

    The issue of what it means for the government to “[uphold] the presumption of innocence” as a core legal principle is now being debated again, in light of the government’s deportation of 57 of the foreign workers who were said to be involved in the Little India riot in

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  • COMMENT: Little India riot a matter of serious consequences

    Our blogger says the Little India riot is a matter of serious consequences. (AFP photo)


    Andrew helms publichouse.sg as Editor-in-Chief. His writings have been reproduced in other publications, including the Australian Housing Journal in 2010. He was nominated by Yahoo Singapore as one of Singapore's most influential media persons in 2011. The views expressed here are his own.

    The “riot” in Little India on Sunday night has far-reaching consequences for Singapore. It goes to the very heart of how we build, literally, this home of ours and its economic progress.

    Our dependence on foreigners has become legendary, with some 40 per cent – 2 million - of our population being non-local. The rapid increase in this number had led to extreme strain not only on physical infrastructure but also on public services. But more importantly, the more serious consequence has always been the social tension between Singaporeans and foreigners.

    With the influx, the discomfort between the two groups have heightened in recent times, even as the government sought to alleviate this with various

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  • COMMENT: Curbing online debate serves no one

    Singapore's government plans laws on online behaviour. (Getty Images)Singapore's government plans laws on online behaviour. (Getty Images)

    Andrew helms publichouse.sg as Editor-in-Chief. His writings have been reproduced in other publications, including the Australian Housing Journal in 2010. He was nominated by Yahoo Singapore as one of Singapore's most influential media persons in 2011. The views expressed here are his own.

    A week after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke of “fighting back” against trolls online, the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) applied to the court to initiate actions against blogger Alex Au.

    The AGC sought judicial permission to charge the 61-year-old blogger with contempt of court for two articles he wrote in October. Judge Belinda Ang granted leave to the AGC to take action on only one of the articles.

    "In Singapore, we see much constructive engagement online, but also no lack of 'trolling',” Mr Lee said a week ago. “We must fight back against such 'trolling', and provide a safe and responsible online space, which promotes constructive participation."

    While the AGC has not, as of today,

    Read More »from COMMENT: Curbing online debate serves no one
  • Singapore subordinate court (AFP photo)

    Andrew helms publichouse.sg as Editor-in-Chief. His writings have been reproduced in other publications, including the Australian Housing Journal in 2010. He was nominated by Yahoo! Singapore as one of Singapore's most influential media persons in 2011. The views expressed here are his own.

    Lawyer M Ravi has filed a court application on the matter of the constitutional right of access to counsel, on behalf of his client, James Raj Arokiasamy.

    James Raj, 35, is alleged to be the person behind “The Messiah”, who is being charged with making “an unauthorised modification” of the contents of the Ang Mo Kio Town Council website on 28 October 2013.

    He was arrested in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 4 November, and charged in Singapore on 12 November under the Computer Misuse Act and Cyber Security Act.

    Together with the hacking charge, he was also charged on 5 November with 3 counts of the offence of Consumption of Controlled Drugs under Section 8(b) of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

    The court had

    Read More »from Lawyer of alleged hacker James Raj files court application for access to client
  • COMMENT: Lui Tuck Yew in the hot seat again

    Lui in the hot seat again (LTA file photo)Lui in the hot seat again (LTA file photo)

    Andrew helms publichouse.sg as Editor-in-Chief. His writings have been reproduced in other publications, including the Australian Housing Journal in 2010. He was nominated by Yahoo! Singapore as one of Singapore's most influential media persons in 2011. The views expressed here are his own.

    With the news that the Fare Review Mechanism Committee (FRMC) has completed its report, all eyes will now be on the Ministry of Transport (MOT), and its minister, Mr Lui Tuck Yew.

    The perennial bugbear of fare increases will feature again as MOT gives its view on the FRMC report in about a week’s time.

    The commuting public will await to see if Mr Lui will announce any fare hikes to the public transportation system. The word is that indeed there will be an increase, given recent remarks by Mr Lui himself.

    In March last year, he announced in Parliament that the government was injecting S$1.1 billion to help the public transport operators (PTOs) meet the costs of purchasing 800 news buses and the

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  • COMMENT: CPE should accede to blogger’s request

    More clarity is needed on media rules, says blogger. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Loh)More clarity is needed on media rules, says blogger. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Loh)

    Andrew helms publichouse.sg as Editor-in-Chief. His writings have been reproduced in other publications, including the Australian Housing Journal in 2010. He was nominated by Yahoo! Singapore as one of Singapore's most influential media persons in 2011. The views expressed here are his own.

    On 28 October, 21-year old blogger, Han Hui Hui, issued a challenge to the Council of Private Education (CPE) “to proceed with the hearing of her application for a determination of the issue as to whether a public body can sue for defamation”.

    The CPE had threatened to sue Han over certain emails she had sent out to various parties, including members of the media. The CPE, a statutory board, alleged that it had been defamed by her comments in the emails.

    Han, however, lodged an application with the court in April for it to declare that a statutory board cannot sue for defamation. Her argument was that the CPE “being a government body with corporate status does not have a right to sue for defamation or

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  • COMMENT: Foreigners in our midst in Singapore

    People walking along Orchard Road in Singapore. (AFP file photo)People walking along Orchard Road in Singapore. (AFP file photo)

    When recruitment agency Randstad Singapore posted a job advertisement online, little would it have known that the ad would create a mini-storm of sorts.

    "This position is open to candidates who are not Singaporean Citizens or PR”, its advertisement for a Merchandiser-Planner position said.

    To some, the words of the advertisement clearly contravened the rules on such advertising laid down by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP). Its first rule states:

    “Words or phrases that exclude Singaporeans or indicate preference for non-Singaporeans should not be used.” (See here.)

    That the wordings in the Randstad advertisement infringed this rule is not in question. However, one would give it the benefit of the doubt and say that the agency had not intended for the advertisement to be discriminatory, and that the advertisement was just awkwardly worded. It would be quite stupid really for Randstad to have any ill intention, given how it is a globally reputable

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  • The High Court dismisses the application by Dinesh Raman's mother to re-open the inquiry into his death. (Photo courtesy of Dinesh's sister)The High Court dismisses the application by Dinesh Raman's mother to re-open the inquiry into his death. (Photo courtesy of Dinesh's sister)


    The Singapore High Court on Wednesday dismissed the application by the mother of a deceased inmate for the courts to order the State Coroner to re-open his inquiry into the death of her son.

    Mdm Selvi Narayanasamy, the mother of then 21-year old Dinesh Raman Chinnaiah who died while in the custody of the Singapore Prisons Service (SPS) at Changi Prison in 2010, was hoping that a coroner’s inquiry would get to the bottom of how her son had died.

    Her earlier appeal to the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) to order the re-opening of the inquiry had been rejected by the AGC.

    The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), after an internal investigation which took some 28 months to complete, had put the cause of death down to “positional asphyxia”.

    The family of Dinesh Raman disputes the MHA’s findings.

    The Coroner discontinued his inquiry after Deputy Superintendent Lim Kwo Yin was charged and fined S$10,000 for “negligence” during the restraining of Dinesh Raman, resulting in the death of

    Read More »from High Court dashes mother’s hope for answers to son’s death
  • Stat board offers settlement, promises not to sue blogger

    The CPE makes a settlement offer to blogger Han Hui Hui. (AFP file photo)The CPE makes a settlement offer to blogger Han Hui Hui. (AFP file photo)

    In April, faced with a letter of demand from a statutory board for emails she had sent out, Ms Han Hui Hui, 21, turned to the courts to declare that a governmental body has no right to sue for defamation.

    In its letter then, the Council of Private Education (CPE), the statutory board in question, demanded that Ms Han refrained from further publication of the alleged defamatory emails, and to make a public apology, or face legal action.

    That was when Ms Han turned to the courts with the help of her lawyer, M Ravi, to seek a declaration that the CPE “being a government body with corporate status does not have a right to sue for defamation or threaten to sue for defamation under common law.”

    The Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) later joined in as an “intervening party” on the side of the CPE, in the matter.

    The CPE, represented by Allen and Gledhill, argued that the CPE was not a governmental body. “The starting point must be that CPE is separate and distinct from the Government,” it

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  • Singapore's government is ramping up construction of rental flats. (Yahoo! photo)Singapore's government is ramping up construction of rental flats. (Yahoo! photo)

    Back in March 2006, the government vowed that it “will not provide large numbers of rental flats, even if low-income families are clamouring for them.”

    “National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan explained that housing policy in Singapore will remain geared towards home ownership,” the Straits Times reported then. “This is why the HDB has consistently priced its flats to be affordable to 90 per cent of the population and made grants and loans available to help first-time home buyers.”

    In 2009, Mr Mah further tightened the qualifying criteria for these flats to "reinstate the public rental scheme to its rightful role as the final safety net and the housing option of last resort for the needy.”

    "If everybody jumps onto this safety net, whether they deserve to or they don't, that safety net is going to break,” he said.

    Applicants who had sold a flat would have to wait at least 30 months before they are eligible to apply for a public rental flat, which is heavily subsidised by the

    Read More »from COMMENT: Flats affordable — so why is HDB building more rental flats?

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