Overthinking It, What's going on?

Dr Lee Wei Ling slams the Contempt Bill; makes problematic claim about K Shanmugam and then apologises for getting it all wrong

Another popcorn melodrama from Dr Lee Wei Ling. We wonder how would K Shanmugam respond.

After staying out of the limelight after her debacle with Straits Times earlier this year, Dr Lee Wei Ling strikes back again.

This time round, Dr Lee took issue with the Contempt of Court Bill that is set to be legislated as law. In her most recent 616 words-long FB post, Dr Lee felt that the bill will gag public debate on issues that are important to Singaporeans.”

She was also “amazed that there has not been more vocal protest by more Singaporeans,” and surmised that this was because Singaporeans had “gotten used to an authoritarian government.”

For good measure, she also asserted that the “current government is not like previous PAP governments,” and urged all MPs to think more deeply about the bill.

Feisty. LKY’s blood runs strong in this one.


I will not touch on the merits and demerits this contempt bill – it is honestly out of my depth. That’s another article, on another day for another person.

But I also noticed that Dr Lee said something interesting about current Law Minister K Shanmugam. According to Dr Lee, she wrote a letter in the Straits Times (again) against the penalty meted out for Singaporean tycoon Tang Wee Sung (i.e. Mr C K Tang) in the infamous kidney-for-sale case back in 2008.

Dr Lee added that Shanmugam and his partner at law firm Allen and Gledhill, Lucian Wong, had helped her with the letter. Dr Lee then roundly chided Shanmugam for seeing justice from the government’s point of view, now that he is in government.

That’s quite a serious accusation.


This reminded us of her inconsistencies in the earlier debacle with the Straits Times, when it was disclosed that she had in fact plagiarised from other sources.

The plot thickens. (Go grab your up-sized popcorn.)

In case you’re interested (and in case it gets taken down), here’s Dr Lee’s FB post, reproduced in full:

In Straits Times on 12/8/2016, it was reported that the contempt of court laws are set to be entered into the statutes.

Minister Shanmugam stated that
1) It gives the public a better sense of what action can unduly influence court proceedings, known as sub judice. Ironically, Sub Judice rules were set up for situation where there is laymen jury who may be naïve enough to be misled by rumours or lead by emotion rather than logic as in religious or racial issues. It was this weakness of having a jury swayed by ignorance or emotions that lead our founding PM Lee Kuan Yew, to do away with Juries in Singapore courts. If your judges are so vulnerable, then the cabinet is at fault for its choice of candidates proposed to be promoted to be judges.

2) It provides a framework for contempt of court punishments. The maximum penalty is a fine up to $20,000 and/or jail term up to 12 months. This is very serious penalties for someone who may just want to speak out against an unfair judge and/or an unfair government. When I wrote in ST against the then penalty for Mr Tang Wee Sung, whilst I wrote out of my pity for Mr. Tang and the sense of how brutally unfair the penalty suggested by our Attorney General’s Chambers was, the letter published in Straits Time was worded with the help of Mr Shanmugam and his partner at Allen and Gledhill, Mr Lucian Wong. I would have written even if neither senior lawyers supported me, but the wording of my letter would have been very amateurish. Now being on the side of the government, Minister Shanmugam seems to see justice only from the point of view of the government and the AGC always being right.
In fact, it is bizarre for me after what Mr. Wong and Mr. Shanmugam encouraged and supported me to do then, that Mr. Shanmugam now wants to demolish a tiny trail leading to some degree of justice for someone whom the government considers a nuisance.

3) It provides a framework for contempt of court punishment and sets a limit on fines and prison sentences which as seen from above can be very serious.

This has led to widespread concern amongst Singaporeans who understand the implications of this proposed law and one need only search the internet to find multiple posts stating why this bill will gag public debate on issues that are important to Singaporeans. I will not repeat what has been clearly stated in petition against this bill which was published Straits Times on 12/8/2016.

Rather, I am amazed that there has not been more vocal protest by more Singaporeans. A phenomenon I observed this morning may provide the answer. I woke up and stepped out of my air-conditioned bedroom and immediately smelled smoked. I asked my two maids who sleep in bedrooms with their windows open whether they smelt anything smoke and they did not. I called a friend who also sleeps in air-conditioned bedroom and he too smelt smoke as he stepped out of his bedroom. Smell is a sensation that we quickly get used to and then no longer notice it if it lingers for less than an hour. Perhaps, Singaporeans have gotten used to an authoritarian government who until recently had always acted for their wellbeing, and so when another new action is taken, they do not even bother to think whether it may be against their welfare. This current government is not like previous PAP governments. I urged all Singaporeans, and all MPs and NMPs to think through what has been proposed, and also read the many commentaries on the internet.

*Just before we managed to publish this post, Dr Lee Wei Ling posted another update (2 hrs after her earlier post)

Apparently, after ‘wacking’ Min Shan on her FB post, she had decided to chat with him over the phone to clarify some facts that she had already posted (and many people had actually agreed with her)

AND just like her previous incident with her Straits Times editors, she got most facts wrong in her post. (Making those who agreed with her look like fools . . again)


While we have no doubt that Dr Lee Wei Ling is a bizzare individual, it surprises us that platforms such as TISG and people like Kirsten Han were quick to agree with  Dr Lee’s criticism.

TISG were quick to carry her initial post when she threw shade at Min Shan but did not carry her apology thereafter.


Kirsten Han is well … Kirsten Han …¯\_(ツ)_/¯.


1 Comment

  1. Nas

    Well, it’s easy to criticize LWL and Kirsten Han for, as you say, just being who they are. But the crux of the matter is, these are the few who are speaking up against the unfairness of the bill. Losing sight of the big picture with drivel like this.

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