Singapore has never enjoyed a strong reputation on justice or the rule of law. As long ago as 1990 the New York Bar Association wrote of “a government that has been willing to decimate the rule of law for the benefit of its political interests”. A look back on some of the biggest cases (and non-cases) of the year reveals little to suggest that the historically subservient relationship between the courts and the government has changed for the better. The (ab)use of legal proceedings to silence critics remains an ever-present, but this year has also seen troubling developments with the government at times appearing to be beyond the law. Is this “a year in justice” or “a year of injustice”? You decide.
Tag Archives: Justice
Reports of arbitrary and unjust behaviour on the part of the authorities investigating Singapore’s Little India riots have begun to surface in the Indian media. These allegations, made apparently by those deported without trial or due process are harmful to the reputation of Singapore’s police force, yet with no court case and no finding of guilt to present, the claims are almost impossible for the government to refute. Allowing such a situation to develop is a significant mistake as it undermines respect for local law enforcement efforts and could easily have been avoided if due process had in fact been followed. Bypassing the rule of law may have been expedient in the short-term but it is not likely to be in the best interests of anyone in the long-term.