A chance to reinforce rule of law in Singapore

The Court of Appeal's rejection of the Singapore Government's appeal to use the Protection from Harassment Act ("Is Govt a person? Court rules on anti-harassment law provision"; Jan 17), while difficult for the Government, as it was at the losing end, presents a valuable opportunity to reinforce the perception of Singapore as a country governed by the rule of law.

While the Government is responsible for writing the laws, these laws will remain mere words on paper if no one respects them.

Respect for the law will arise only if people see that the law is applied in a just and equitable manner, such that no one is above the law - not even those who made the laws.

The judiciary has been assigned the challenging task of interpreting and applying the laws of Singapore to the countless cases that pass through the courts.

In order for the judges to exercise their duties effectively, their decisions have to be respected, especially when they come from the Court of Appeal, which is the highest court of Singapore.

Our strong, independent judiciary has played a major role in keeping our corruption rate low, by not shying away from passing fair judgment on people of power and privilege.

In other countries, the judiciary has helped defend the rights of the people from oppressive government policies.

By publicly accepting the Court of Appeal's ruling, the Government is sending a strong message that the rule of law is very much alive in Singapore.

The Government has always worked hard for the long-term prosperity of Singapore, so now is the chance to reinforce that by turning the court-case loss into a big win for the country.

Tan Yi Han

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2017, with the headline 'A chance to reinforce rule of law in Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe