A man who assaulted Jurong GRC Member of Parliament Dr Tan Wu Meng during a meet-the-people session (MPS) in April was jailed three months on Tuesday (23 October).
Mohammad Ameen Mohamed Maideen, a 32-year-old Singaporean, pleaded guilty in the State Courts to one count of voluntarily causing hurt to Dr Tan. One count of criminal trespass was taken into consideration for his sentencing.
Ameen, who is unemployed, had previously sought help from Dr Tan, 43, on three occasions. Between 2008 and last year, Ameen consulted his MP on issues including traffic offences, housing, and financial and social assistance.
On 16 April this year, Dr Tan was meeting residents at Block 334 Clementi Avenue 2 when Ameen attended the MPS with the intention of seeking help for his matrimonial issue. He registered for a queue number at 9.30pm.
At about 10.08pm, Dr Tan was led into the room where he was to meet a person who was to note the issues Ameen wanted to consult the MP on.
Instead, Ameen went straight for Dr Tan and applied a chokehold on the MP. He slammed the MP’s head and back against the wall before forcing him into a kneeling position.
A video that captured the incident shows Dr Tan’s spectacles dropping and his table collapsing in the struggle.
Ameen then began pummelling Dr Tan’s back and other parts of his body. The assault lasted for a few seconds before Ameen was restrained by other persons in the room. After assaulting Dr Tan, Ameen went out of the room for a smoke.
Dr Tan suffered from bruises and neck abrasions as a result of the assault.
After Ameen was arrested, he took a urine test, which tested positive for trace amounts of amphetamine and opiates. Yahoo News Singapore understands that Ameen was not charged for drug consumption as the amount found in his urine did not cross the threshold to make up a charge.
According to the prosecution, Ameen has a history of drug abuse and was placed on drug supervision multiple times between 2012 and 2016. His family told the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) that Ameen had previously consumed “magic mushrooms”.
When Ameen was asked by IMH about his drug abuse, he claimed that he had been taking “traditional Indonesian medicines”. The latter items in Ameen’s place were seized by the police and were later found to have neither “acidic and neutral drugs nor basic drugs”.
According to an IMH report, it was “conceivable” that Ameen’s behaviour at the time of the offence was either due to his “intoxication with amphetamine, or drug withdrawal symptoms”.
Violation of the MPS sanctuary
Seeking a three-month jail term, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tang Shangjun told the court that the accused had caused fear among the people who were at the MPS session.
“MPS represents a safe space for the constituent to meet his MP and his team of volunteers and where constituents are offered a listening ear and compassionate hand. (Ameen) violated this sanctuary with his violent and unprovoked attack during an MPS,” said DPP Tang.
Since an MPS could get heated at times during discussions, the court should “send a clear message to all parties that they must refrain from violence” at the venue. MPs also needed to be protected while providing a public service, the DPP said.
When probed by District Judge (DJ) Eddy Tham, Ameen, who was unrepresented in court, said he had reflected on the offences in the past four months.
“I was under depression. That time when I (was) going to see (my) MP, I never smoke anything,” he said.
DJ Tham said that a strong deterrent message has to be sent out to protect MPs so that they could serve people without fear.
For voluntarily causing hurt, Ameen could have been jailed up to two years, or fined up to $5,000, or both.