Thursday, April 29, 2010

Miscellaneous Offences Act

I met Ms Jaslyn Go. She told me that she was charged for distributing flyers on a National Day. Other people distributing flyers were not charged. On my request, she gave me more details of this event.

I wonder what type of campaign or cause is subject to an offence under the Act. What about a campaign against ill treatment of animals? Or to promote a Green Earth?


Anonymous said...

Ahhh ... the infamous Misc Offences Act. This was once the most used Law by policemen who still wear shorts, against hooligans, miscreants, small-time troublemakers, noisemakers, human fighters, dog fighters, homeless people, vagabonds, those who like to appear naked at the windows, etc.

Many of us can still remember advice given by our parents that are actually part of this Act. E.g. no spitting in public places, writing on walls or pasting notices on walls, carrying knives in public, touting, use vulgar language at people or worse, at civil servants etc.

Best part is many of the offences presume that the accused is guilty, and that the accused must prove his innocence.

The only part that even remotely can be used against Ms Go is Section 13B -- causing Harassment, Alarm or Distress by displaying writings, signs or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting. This is one of those offences whereby Ms Go must prove her innocence.

So any pro-PAP joker upon seeing pamphlets being distributed, can call the police and complain that he is Alarmed & Distressed by the insulting contents of the pamphlets, and that he has been Harassed by those people into taking the pamphlets.

The police will then be complying with the law by taking up action and investigation into those people.

You can read the full Act (which is quite funny) at the AGC Statutes Online.

Steve Wu said...

In recent years, the members and the supporters of the SDP have been made examples of the unreasonable (and illegal) intolerance by the PAP government for an active opposition party. To SDP's credit, they have stayed true to democracy for Singapore.

Coming back to the Miscellaneous Offenses Act, it is partially superceded by the Public Order Act 2009. According to the POA 2009, ANY public campaign (with one or more persons) is disallowed unless a permit is granted.

How can the POA 2009 be effectively enforced? Well, obviously it cannot be enforced, given the MHA's admission in parliament that the police is short-handed. In any case, supported by history, the police intends to enforce selectively and the AGC intend to prosecute selectively. So far, this means anyone identifiable with SDP.

This situation makes a mockery of the "rule of law" and holds the Constitution and the People in abject contempt. The greater danger is the continual suppression of political challengers to the status quo.

Anonymous said...

The question is , is the police a public employee or an employee of the ruling party? Then the pay should come from the ruling party and not from taxpayers.The police is supposed to keep law and order for the country and not the body guard and terror tool of the ruling party.

Anonymous said...

Alot of ppl are distributing flyers nowadays. How do we know whether they are legal or not? Just ignore everyone that is distributing flyers?

Anonymous said...

rex comments as follows,

Dear Mr Policeman,

Please, can you most kindly arrest all those property agents who themselves or by proxy, stuff junk mail into my mail box?

Anonymous said...

TKL, please don't act blur ley. Everyone knows what purpose(s) the MOA is tailored for.

Anonymous said...

Supposing a freak election voted in a tyrant, this law will be of great dispensation for him. History has spoken, Hitler is a legal dictator.

Anonymous said...

You wonder what type of campaign or cause => is it relevant at all?

And do you wonder at all => is it who is the person committing the offence that is more relevant?

Anonymous said...

agreed with 7.17pm. kL, you know what the Act is for. It is for those who disagreed with the force to be so dont act blur linking the Act to other causes!

J said...

Hey 2.31pm, 7.17pm,

The act is for preventing a freak election result!

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