Singapore man may face jail term for one negative comment against Minister Shanmugam

Hen's eggs to fight cancer
Representational picture Reuters

A 20-year-old Singapore man wrote an offensive comment on a Channel NewsAsia Facebook post, addressing the Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam.

After the New Zealand massacre, the Australian senator Fraser Anning was egged by a teenage boy, as the politician blamed the Muslim community for the Christchurch shootings. Later, on the Facebook post about Anning, the Singapore man, Edmund Zhong wrote that "I wanna do that to K. Shanmugam, I swear."

A police complaint was lodged against Zhong. While giving a police statement on Tuesday, March 26 the man said that he did not regret the comment he made on the post.

As per South China Morning Post, Zhong said, "I feel it's a matter of freedom of speech, and that we have a right to voice such opinions. I just commented to draw a link to our local context, and then another guy just added fuel to the fire. I don't even know the guy at all."

In the statement, Zhong was referring to a 47-year-old man, who replied on the comment section and mentioned about Shanmugam's upcoming public appearance. The unnamed man is currently assisting the police investigation process.

However, it should be noted that as per the police report, this case is registered under 267-C of Singapore penal code that says "Whoever — (a) makes, prints, possesses, posts, distributes or has under his control any document; or (b) makes or communicates any electronic record, containing any incitement to violence or counselling disobedience to the law or to any lawful order of a public servant or likely to lead to any breach of the peace shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 5 years, or with fine, or with both."

However, the 60-year-old minister did not take the comment seriously as he posted an image on his Facebook page on Thursday, March 28 featuring eggs with faces drawn on them.

On Wednesday Shanmugam said in another Facebook post, "When I was told about it, I laughed it off – the somewhat exaggerated words of a young man. I was then told about some of his background, and that he would be interviewed to establish that he is not actually going to take any action. I can laugh off these comments, but understandably, Police can't."

This article was first published on March 29, 2019
Related topics : Singapore crime