Sunday, 31 October 2010

Solidarity Message from SDP Sec.-Gen. Dr Chee Soon Juan

Solidarity Message from Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Secretary-General
Dr Chee Soon Juan

(Note: Dr Chee Soon Juan was invited to attend the 9th anniversary of Friends of SUARAM Johor. SDP Assistant Secretary-General Mr John Tan attended the event on behalf of Dr Chee due to his travel ban and delivered the following address for Dr Chee.)

Your Excellencies, Honourable Members of Parliament, and dear Friends of Suaram,

It is with honour that I accept this invitation to the Friends of Suara Rakyat Malaysia's celebration of the 9th anniversary of its Johor branch. Of course, I do this only in spirit because the Government of Singapore has banned me from traveling overseas to attend such events.

But such a ban will not dampen my enthusiasm to be with an organisation that has long held my admiration for the tireless work that you do in defending human rights in Malaysia and the campaign to abolish the Internal Security Act in your country.

Suaram itself, of course, goes further back in its history with many of its leaders and associates now holding offices in Malaysian legislatures.

Indeed you have inspired many a civil society actor here in Singapore who is beginning to demonstrate signs of life in the authoritarian state. One of the most active NGOs in my country is the Society Against the Death Penalty (SADP) which is currently and rather ironically campaigning for the life of Malaysian Yong Vui Kong to be spared from the gallows because of drug peddling.

We, too, have the ISA which continues to detain citizens without trial. As you know the ruling People's Action Party has imprisoned many opposition leaders, trade unionists, journalists and social activists under the ISA – many for decades – simply for opposing its rule. One giant among the detainees is Said Zahari who now resides among you in Malaysia.

This antiquated law formed during the colonial years must not be allowed to continue to terrorize and suppress a people. The Singapore Democratic Party joins in the growing movement, both in Malaysia and Singapore, to abolish such a law. The cowardly Act has no place in modern societies that strive for progress.

The ISA, however, is just one such tool used to stifle the development of democracy. In Singapore, we have a myriad of laws that the PAP Government uses to ensure its undemocratic rule. My party colleagues and I continue to be prosecuted for participating in peaceful protests. We are repeatedly imprisoned for exercising our rights to freedom of speech and assembly.

In 2009, the PAP even introduced the Public Order Act which prohibits even one person from conducting a protest.

Additionally, and quite uniquely to Singapore, there is also the defamation laws which have been employed by the ruling regime to silence its critics. My inability to be with you today is a result of a law suit which Lee Kuan Yew and former prime minister Goh Chok Tong took against me that resulted in the courts ordering me to pay half-a-million dollars in damages. My inability to meet their demands has resulted in my bankruptcy which, in turn, bars me from standing for elections as well as traveling overseas.

Mr Lee and his son, the current prime minister, also sued the SDP in 2006 for which they have been awarded another $500,000.

But despite all the harassment and persecution, I view the future with hope. For every democrat that dictatorships suppress, ten others will rise to continue the struggle for common decency, for political civility, for human rights.

While autocrats are mortal, the ideas and ideals of freedom transcend time. And just as it is impossible to stop an idea whose time has come, democracy will not be denied.

My friends, we work assured in the knowledge that we are on the right side of history.

On this special occasion, I extend to you my best wishes and heartiest congratulations on your 9th anniversary and even though I cannot be with you in person, no ban can stop me from celebrating this special occasion with you in spirit.

Yours in solidarity,

Chee Soon Juan
Secretary-General
Singapore Democratic Party

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通告 Notification

人民之友对下届大选意见书
英巫文译稿将在此陆续贴出

作为坚守“独立自主”和“与民同在”的立场的一个民间组织,人民之友在上个月对即将来临的第14届全国大选投票,发表了一篇以华文书写的意见书,题为:投票支持"反对国家伊斯兰化的候选人": 反对巫统霸权统治!莫让马哈迪帮派"复辟"!。

这篇意见书的英文译稿,将在近期内在本部落格贴出。马来文译稿将在下个月内贴出。敬请关注!

我们希望,我们在意见书内所表达的对下届大选的立场和观点,能够准确而又广泛地传播到我国各民族、各阶层的人民群众中接受考验,并接受各党派在这次全国大选斗争和今后实践的检验。


The English and Malay renditions of Sahabat Rakyat’s opinions about next election will be published here consecutively

As an NGO which upholds “independent and autonomous” position and "always be with the people" principle, Sahabat Rakyat had released a Chinese-written statement of views with regard to the voting in the upcoming 14th General Election, entitled “Vote for candidates who are against State Islamisation: Oppose UMNO hegemonic rule! Prevent the return to power of Mahathir’s faction!”

The English rendition of this statement will be published in our blog in the near future whereas the Malay rendition will be published next month (November). Please stay tuned!

We hope that our position and views pertaining to the next General Election expressed in the statement will be accurately and widely disseminated and also examined by the popular masses of various ethnicities and social strata through their involvement in the struggle of the next General Election carried out by various political parties and their practices in all fields in future.


Akan datang: Penerbitan penterjemahan pendapat Sahabat Rakyat mengenai pilihan raya ke-14 dalam Bahasa Inggeris dan Bahasa Melayu

Sebagai sebuah pertubuhan masyarakat yang berpendirian teguh tentang prinsip "bebas dan berautonomi" dan “sentiasa berdampingan dengan rakyat jelata”, Sahabat Rakyat telah menerbitkan kenyataan tentang pandangan kami terhadap Pilihan Raya Umum ke-14 yang akan datang yang bertajuk "Undilah calon yang menentang Pengislaman Negera: Menentang pemerintahan hegemoni UMNO! Jangan benarkan puak Mahathir kembali memerintah! "

Penterjemahan Bahasa Inggeris kenyataan tersebut akan diterbitkan dalam blog kita dalam waktu terdekat manakala penterjemahan Bahasa Melayu akan diterbitkan pada bulan hadapan.

Kami berharap pendirian dan pandangan kami berkenaan pilihan raya kali ini yang dinyatakan dalam kenyataan tersebut dapat disebarkan dengan tepat dan meluas untuk diuji dalam kalangan rakyat semua bangsa semua strata sosial melalui penglibatan mereka dalam amalan pelbagai parti politik dalam pertempuran pilihan raya umum kali ini mahupun masa depan.

Malaysia Time (GMT+8)