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言论自由与新加坡反对党成长

14/11/10

作者/来源:新加坡文献馆

2010年11月6日,梁东屏在中国时报的《新加坡反对党为何长不大?》:‘新加坡…这么一个曾经被已故美国哈佛大学政治学家杭廷顿誉为「近乎完美社会」的国家,竟然常常成为一些媒体、政治评论家批评的对象,批评的主题则大多集中在威权统治、压制反对党…等等。 实则这些批评,绝大多数都流于肤浅、盲目、自以为是,甚至另有所图。

…新加坡是个小国,好的人才早被执政党网罗殆尽,反对党内又充斥滥竽如徐顺全者流,要如何茁壮,如何获得人民信任? 徐顺全其实是反对阵营中最坏的典型。…把詹时中赶出民主党而自任秘书长,结果民主党非但没有壮大,反而没落。此人的能力已可见一斑。 徐顺全最大的问题就是以「造谣」来进行反对运动,搞到最后被同志,甚至新加坡民众唾弃,在政治上可说完全破产。 可是却有西方媒体及一些不明所以的政治评论家把徐顺全这个人当成反对党指标人物,真是贻笑大方。’

这种一边倒的言论引起了好些读者的回击:其一,‘梁东屏先生,新加坡反对党不能壮大是因为选制问题…再者,反对党人士被政府逮捕的方式都是以逃税之类的原因…你真的跟新加坡人民谈过了吗?

其二,梁先生的文章如不细查,还以为是人民行动党的官方宣传文件呢!建议…多访谈星国各个阶层的知识分子,再重新评估!在书房上网搜来的资讯与官方提供的资料,就振振有词的据以濶论,未免流于坐井观天之讥!

其三,梁兄所述新加坡反对党长不大的原因还忘了提一点,新加坡政府惯用法律诉讼对付反对党异议分子。…星国政府往往会向反对党人士索赔一大笔钱,让其破产。…梁东萍兄明明在新加坡住过多年,应可写出更全面、客观的评论,而不是让人误会没待过当地,也没和新加坡人民谈过! !’

把新加坡反对党为何长不大看成是滥竽充数的徐顺全无能,是把一个复杂的社会政治问题简单化。丑化新加坡的反对党无助于美化新加坡的执政党,此外,新加坡人民对自已的国家大事应该是会如鱼饮水冷暖自知。

在主流媒体都坦诚承认钱是第一选择的新加坡务实社会里,反对党人士牺牲个人利益与愿意承受政治打压就是一种顽强斗志与爱国精神的展现,这种为民主奋斗的言行在所有文明社会里都是非常难能可贵的正义精神,应该受到尊重而不是诋毁。

一个有才干的人是不会因为加入反对党而变成庸才,同样的,无能之辈也不会因为加入执政者而成为人才。反对党群中比如徐顺全的资历就完全符合人民行动党的人才选拔标准。

如果徐顺全投靠当权者想必会仕途光明,名利双收。然而,他选择挑战李光耀政权的结果是不仅丢失了在大学的教职,也因诽谤官司的赔偿而告破产。此外,他也因不同的政治官司多次锒铛入狱。

李光耀的一名新闻官在退休前接受媒体访问时说,跟随李光耀多年后所得到的一个心得是:没有做好功课就没有发言权。诚然,虽然每个人都有主观判断的权力,但是明理之人说话必须言之有物,言之有理,而专业的撰稿人是不是更应该遵守职业道德?

对新加坡反对党一无所知的人士,或许可以从最近的一起政治官司中徐顺全的法庭陈词,一窥这名反对党人士的一些政治观点:

‘这案件事关新加坡的言论自由。我的控状是在没有取得在公共场所演说准许的情况下发言,这控状转移了课题的焦点。我多次重复的解释说政府已经公然宣告不会允许公开的政治活动。

言论自由是否重要?那是当然的,这带来了人类的文明。保护我们不受到权贵的迫害。更重要的是,这是受到宪法保障的新加坡人权力。

没有言论自由,我们会任由统治者为所欲为。没有言论自由,贫穷者只能依赖腰缠万贯的权贵的施舍过活。没有言论自由,社会的弊病无从改善与治理。

这次审讯可以使用最精炼的法律术语和最复杂的法律论证来判决我的罪状。然而,这都无法隐瞒一个简单但却严峻的事实。新加坡是由一个由人民行动党设计的政治制度控制,那是人民行动党为了人民行动党而设计的一个政治制度。事情的真相是人民行动党控制了政治体制,通过立法与条例去从事自已的各种的政治活动,却阻止反对党进行同样的政治活动。

公众都看到这一个情况。这种不公正的行为冲击了每个人的良知。可是,司法界却好象并没有这种看法。

人民都愤怒的在议论着这种司法不公正的情况,尤其是在互联网上,他们期待着司法公正的呼声越来越大。

人民行动党夺走了人民的言论自由权力。我现在要求法庭为我们拿回这个权力。我要求这个法庭为了司法正义,为了人民去干预。可是,每当我要求给予面包时,却是得到石头。

尊敬的法官,你有着这么一个机会去纠正许多错过。加拿大的Madam Beverly McLachlin大法官在2005年12月的判词中写到:法官必须抗拒…使‘法律’变成不公正的东西,从更深一层的意义来说,这是不合法的…如果不这样做的话,那么,这是允许不合法的东西躲藏在虚假的合法外衣之内。

从另一方面来看,你可以把我定罪,但是,我会感到欣慰,我是会在一个更高的法庭面前受审,审判历史的法庭。

我并非为了这里和此刻而活着。我目前所说的话在以后的日子里会变得更为响亮。我坚信我必定会得到平反。就是基干这个信念,我会誓不罢休的作为人民权力的捍卫者,去倡导人民的言论自由权力。’

徐顺全法庭陈词原文来源:http://yoursdp.org/index.php/news/singapore/4316-chee-to-judgeprotect-freedom-of-speech-in-singapore

Chee to Judge:Protect freedom of speech in Singapore
Thursday, 11 November 2010
Singapore Democrats

Dr Chee Soon Juan said in court on Tuesday that all the legal contortions made by the Government cannot hide the fact that the PAP controls the political system with complete disregard for the rule of law and the Constitution. But it seems that the Courts cannot see this.

The SDP secretary-general said this in his submissions during his appeal on his four convictions for speaking in public without a permit in the weeks before the 2006 general elections. The appeal hearing took place before High Court Judge Steven Chong (pictured) ealier this week.

Below are excerpts of Dr Chee’s submissions.

This case is about the freedom of speech in Singapore. The charge that I have made a speech in public without a permit is but a red herring. I have repeatedly explained that the Government has openly stated that it will not authorise public political activities.

Is freedom of speech important? Of course, it is. It is what civilises us human beings. It is what protects us from the rich and powerful. Most important, it is guaranteed to us Singaporeans in our constitution.

Without freedom of speech we remain at the mercy of those who rule over us. Without freedom of speech the poor will continue to live off the crumbs thrown from the table of the few who wallow in wanton abundance. Without freedom of speech society’s ills cannot be treated.

This hearing can throw up the finest legalese and the most intricate of points of law to convict me. But all these cannot hide one simple but stark fact: Singapore is run by a political system designed by the PAP, of the PAP and for the PAP. The reality is that the PAP controls the political system and comes up with laws and policies that allow it to conduct its political activities freely while preventing its opponents from doing the same.

The public sees this. The unfairness assaults the common sense of every common person. But it seems that the courts cannot see this.

The anger at the injustice is being discussed by the public, especially on the Internet, and with it the clamour for fairness and justice is growing.

The PAP has taken away the people’s right to free speech. I am asking this court to restore it for us. I am asking this court to intervene on the side of justice, on behalf of the people. But it seems that every time I ask for bread, I am given stone.

Your Honour, you have the opportunity to right many wrongs. The Chief Justice of Canada, Madam Beverly McLachlin, wrote in December 2005 that

Judges must resist…making ‘law’ out of what cannot be just, and hence, in a profound sense, cannot be legal. To do otherwise is to allow injustice to hide itself under the cloak of false legality.

On the other hand, you may convict me. But I am comforted that I stand before the judgment of a higher court, the court of History.

I do not live for the here and now. My words will speak louder in the future than presently. I rest assured I will be vindicated. It is with this knowledge that I remain an unrepentant defender of the people’s rights and an advocate of their freedom.

The four charges carry a total of $20,000 in fine or 20 weeks’ imprisonment in default. The Judge reserved judgment.

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