TODAY Newspaper article
By Leong Wee Keat
Wearing red T-shirts with the Malay words “tak boleh tahan” — which means “cannot take it” — members of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) once again took to the streets, as they had done on May Day in previous years.
Last year, SDP chief Chee Soon Juan and his sister Chee Siok Chin walked around the island to raise awareness about poverty. This year, the pair, joined by other SDP members and supporters, descended on Toa Payoh Central and set up a booth at a walkway near Toa Payoh Community Library.
They then began to hand out leaflets containing accusations of greed and exploitation by the Government.
The SDP members, who were selling T-shirts, buttons and books at their booth, also urged passersby to sign two petitions.
The first, addressed to the Prime Minister, contained five demands relating to ministerial salaries, the entry of foreign workers, the release of Central Provident Fund savings and transparency in the financial dealings of Temasek Holdings and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC).
The second, to Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng, urged him to resign over the escape of Jemaah Islamiyah detainee Mas Selamat Kastari from the Whitley Road Detention Centre — a suggestion that has been dismissed by the Prime Minister.
When asked if the SDP had informed the authorities about their May Day activities or applied for a permit, Dr Chee said that the Opposition party had not.
The SDP has in the past run afoul of the law for staging public events and illegal protests without the necessary permits.
In response to media queries, the police said: “Police received a call from the Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council reporting that Chee Soon Juan was distributing pamphlets, and had set up a table selling books and T-shirts at Toa Payoh Central. Police observation in response to the call confirmed it.
“Chee did not stage an unlawful assembly or an illegal outdoor demonstration.
“He was however peddling his books and T-shirts without a hawker’s permit.
“As this may be a case of illegal hawking, the Police has referred the matter to the National Environment Agency.”