Rights group LFL to take legal action against Singapore home affairs minister

Singapore's Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam speaks during an interview in Singapore July 31, 2019. — Reuters pic
Singapore's Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam speaks during an interview in Singapore July 31, 2019. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 — Rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) will be filing a lawsuit at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex tomorrow against Singapore’s Minister of Home Affairs K. Shanmugam for instructing its Pofma (Protection from Online Falsehoods And Manipulation Act) Office to issue a correction direction against the former over a statement on its website.

The correction direction sent on January 22 was instructed by Shanmugam over LFL’s claims that Singapore carries out “brutal” executions in Changi Prison.

The demand was issued under Singapore’s online falsehoods law to the rights group and three other parties for spreading the allegations. 

LFL has since told Singapore to withdraw its order for the rights group to rescind its claims of barbaric executions in the island state as the republic has no jurisdiction over Malaysians outside its territory.

Its director, Melissa Saidaran, said, in a statement yesteryday, that Singapore has no business interfering with the freedom of Malaysian citizens making statements within their own country.

She added that it is “outrageous and unacceptable” for Singapore to issue a notice under its Pofma to a Malaysian organisation such as LFL, which is operating and issuing statements on Malaysian soil.

Yesterday, Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs accused LFL of publishing various falsehoods to seek attention in hopes of preventing the executions of Malaysian prisoners, who have been convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to death in Singapore.

It added that there are some individuals and groups in Singapore who are also spreading LFL’s latest allegations.

These include Kirsten Han’s Facebook post which had shared LFL’s statement, online portal The Online Citizen’s post and Yahoo Singapore’s Facebook post which shared an article by Yahoo Malaysia that featured the claims, the ministry said.

On January 16, LFL released a press statement alleging that Singapore authorities practised brutal execution methods at Changi Prison.

In its statement, LFL had claimed that prison officers were instructed to “pull the rope around the neck of the prisoner towards him” and “kick the back of the neck of the prisoner with great force in order to break it”, whenever the rope broke during a hanging.

The Singapore government has since denied these claims, deeming them “untrue, baseless and preposterous allegations”.

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