SINGAPORE - A man with a history of drug abuse marched up to Jurong GRC MP Tan Wu Meng during a Meet-the-People session in April and pummelled him, causing injuries including multiple abrasions.
Mohammad Ameen Mohamed Maideen, 32, who is unemployed, was sentenced on Tuesday (Oct 23) to three months' jail after pleading guilty to an assault charge. One count of criminal trespass was considered during sentencing.
Dr Tan, 43, who is in charge of Clementi Division, is also Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs as well as Trade and Industry.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tang Shangjun said that the MP's Meet-the-People sessions are typically held every Monday at a ground floor unit at Block 334, Clementi Avenue 2.
Ameen went to one of the sessions at around 9.30pm on April 16 and followed a volunteer into Dr Tan's room about 40 minutes later.
A video of the incident was played in court on Tuesday and it showed Ameen walking towards Dr Tan before grabbing the MP's neck with his left hand.
DPP Tang said: "The accused then slammed the victim's head and back against the wall, before yanking the victim onto a kneeling posture on the ground. The accused thereafter began pummelling the victim's back and other parts of the body with punches and kicks."
The attack went on for a few seconds before onlookers pulled Ameen away. The police were notified and Dr Tan was taken to the National University Hospital.
Ameen was later made to take a urine test at the Central Narcotics Bureau, and trace amounts of amphetamines as well as opiates were later detected in his urine sample. However, he has not been charged with drug-related offences.
The court heard that Dr Kenneth Koh from the Institute of Mental Health also assessed him.
DPP Tang told District Judge Eddy Tham: "Dr Koh added that it was conceivable that the accused's behaviour was either due to the accused's intoxication with amphetamine, or drug withdrawal symptoms, at the material time."
On Tuesday, the DPP urged the judge to sentence Ameen to at least three months' jail.
He said: "Even though the offence was likely to be a result of his use of narcotics, it does not mitigate the fact that a safe space for constituents to meet their MPs and volunteers was, in a matter of seconds, transformed into a scene of violence and fear, unnerving volunteers and constituents alike."
The DPP also said that a jail term will ensure that Ameen will receive treatment for his drug addiction.
Ameen, who was unrepresented, told the court that he was "under depression" when he committed the offence. He asked the court for his sentence to be deferred as he has to settle some personal matters.
Now out on bail of $8,000, Ameen was ordered to surrender himself at the State Courts on Nov 7 to begin serving his sentence.
Shortly after the incident, Dr Tan, a first-term MP, told The Straits Times that no such incident had ever happened to him before but, as a public servant, he was always aware that it could. He added: "The work continues."
For committing assault, Ameen could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.