PETALING JAYA: Rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has criticised Singapore’s home affairs ministry (MHA) for claiming its civil suit against their minister K Shanmugam was “baseless”.
LFL had filed a civil suit against Shanmugam in the Kuala Lumpur High Court over a directive issued on its claim of brutal extralegal execution methods at Singapore’s Changi Prison.
The directive to the Singapore Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) office was to issue a “correction direction” against LFL over its claim.
In a statement yesterday, MHA described the suit as “baseless” as it had been dismissed by the High Court.
But LFL adviser N Surendran said the statement was “incorrect and irresponsible” and meant to misrepresent to the people of Malaysia and Singapore as to what actually happened in court.
“LFL’s civil suit had simply expired as it was not served yet upon Shanmugam. It was not ‘struck out’ by the Kuala Lumpur High Court in the manner alleged by the Singapore authorities,” Surendran said.
He said the Singapore attorney-general had in writing on Feb 13 refused to accept service of the court papers.
He said the Kuala Lumpur High Court had on Sept 21 allowed LFL to refile its suit against Shanmugam. “which shows the suit is far from being baseless”.
“We note that Singapore deliberately did not mention this important fact in their press statement.”
Following the refiling of the suit, Surendran said, LFL will “vigorously” pursue the matter to protect the freedom of expression of Malaysians against foreign countries.
On MHA’s statement that LFL had not substantiated its claim of brutal execution methods at Changi Prison, he said they had repeatedly asked Singapore to grant the whistleblower – a former prison officer – immunity from prosecution.
“But Singapore has refused to grant immunity to enable this whistleblower to give evidence in the Singapore courts,” he said.
Surendran added that Singapore’s “relentless attacks” on LFL were akin to “shooting the messenger”.