Han Hui Hui’s 2013 National Day Speech

Good afternoon everyone, my name is Han Hui Hui.
On 15th April this year, I received a letter of demand from Singapore’s biggest law firm, Allen and Gledhill.
It states that I’ve defamed the council for private education through my email.
I was only 21 years old and I was puzzled.

How can them, CPE, a statutory board, a government body threaten to sue me a Singaporean for defamation?
How is asking questions defamatory?
Where is our freedom of speech?
Is this what they call a fair and just society last night?

So I sent the letter of demand to more than ten law firms out there but they were afraid to take up this case.
That was when I know our courageous lawyer Mr M Ravi.
As a human rights lawyer, he explained that the freedom of speech, enshrined in article 14 of the Singapore constitution, protects Singaporeans from defamation proceedings by the government and public bodies.
The right to sue for defamation is reserved only for individuals and private entities, not public bodies.

On 19th April, I went to the high court to seek declaration that CPE being a government body does not have the rights to sue or threaten to sue Singaporeans for defamation.
I’m now seeking protection against this defamation suit via the constitution and the ordinary laws of the land.
This lawsuit is not for anyone but for everyone, for the entire Singapore population, for the sake of our freedom of speech.
I took up this case not because I’m against the government but because of the love for our country, the need to protect human rights, our constitutional rights, our freedom of speech, our basic citizens’ rights.

Who does the CPE reports to? The ministry of education.
Who does MOE reports to? The parliament.
Who pays them their salary? Us, we the taxpayers.
How can they use our money to sue us for defamation?

The attorney general’s chamber is now involved as well.
The fact that AGC, the government is being involved further shows that our stand that the CPE a government body under Ministry of education does not have the right to sue for defamation.
If public bodies funded by the public, can sue for defamation this will result in a stifling of criticisms, or genuine grievances, especially from those who do not have such an amount of resources.
How can they use their public fund to sue us?

We should not allow public bodies to use lawsuits to silence criticisms against them.
Why is the government going against our most creative cartoonist Mr Leslie Chew?
Did any of his work Demon-cratic caused violence or people to have inability to pay their bills or be forced to leave the country?
We need to build a stronger and more inclusive Singapore so can we have our freedom of speech to hear the voice of everyone?
So our constitutional rights must be upheld against being sued for defamation by public bodies.

Statutory board being a governmental body does not have the rights to sue or threaten to sue Singaporeans.
I can forget about this case, I can forget about this lawsuit, I don’t have to fight this lawsuit especially when they’re trying to negotiate with me now.
But I want to protect the rights of all other Singaporeans out there.
Should we fight for our constitutional rights and the future of Singaporeans?

How would we ever know even if they are in the wrong?
If we do not love Singapore, if we do not love our own country, would we be here today?
Singaporeans, it’s time for us to play our part for the sake of our future.
Thank you very much.

Happy national day and Selemat Hari Raya.