Tag Archives: walter woon


The subject of universal human rights took a local turn at a university forum on Tuesday night, with two top lawyers disagreeing over whether an anti-gay sex law should be done away with. National University of Singapore (NUS) law don Walter Woon said he was in favour of repealing the law because of what he sees as a "constitutional problem". NUS Centre for International Law chairman Tommy Koh agreed that the provision should in principle be done without, but said abolishing it was "not so simple" given potential political pushback. A majority of Singaporeans were against a repeal going by opinion polls, Prof Koh said.

Read More »

Only liars need worry: why the Protection from Harassment Bill matters

Coming back to section 15, let’s start with the premise that it is not a human right to tell lies about someone else (of course, if you think that telling lies is a fundamental right, then we have an irreconcilable difference of views). If one person deliberately tells lies about another in order to hurt them, it would be unjust if the victim had to accept this without remedy. For example, say that D and V are competing for the same job. D deliberately spreads the story that V was convicted abroad for criminal breach of trust in order to ruin his chances. Or suppose that D is a spurned lover and in revenge spreads rumours that V has been sleeping around with several other men. Would any reasonable person accept that D is merely exercising his right of free speech and that V should not be allowed to do anything about it?

Read More »

Rules of engagement for a civil, civil society

Interest groups form precisely because people have common interests. But it would be a mistake to assume that all interest groups are inevitably anti-government. Politics may actuate some, but most are apolitical. This is evident in groups interested in the environment, culture, heritage, the arts, crafts, hobbies, sports and so forth. Foreigners who live and work in Singapore will also form their own formal and informal support groups. The friction will not always be between that great brooding omnipresence known as THE GOVERNMENT (as some people see it) and helpless citizens. Civil society groups will present competing interests too.

Read More »