Parliament heard today the ministerial statements from the Minister of Home Affairs K Shanmugam and Acting Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng on the case of 14 year old Benjamin Lim who fell to his death after being questioned by the police.
Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam said in Parliament that the individual police officers should not be attacked because of their job.
“My Ministry has the responsibility for the police protocol that is in place…It is not with individual police officers. Let’s not attack the police officers – who cannot defend themselves. They are doing their job, every day, in difficult circumstances.”
Indeed, those who have attacked the integrity of the police and authorities should not have done it, because they have been doing their job as part of investigations.
Speculation should also be avoided as investigations are still ongoing. We know that such speculation can cause unnecessary worry, confusion or anger against involved parties. Until such investigations are complete, such speculation would not help with the situation.
Minister Shanmugam also hit out at some inaccurate statements that have surfaced online.
Specifically, he singled out The Online Citizen (TOC) for going on a “planned, orchestrated campaign, using falsehoods, and has published about 20 articles or so as part of its campaign”.
According to Minister Shanmugam, the articles gave the impression that the police were lying and intimidated the 14 year old student which put pressure on him to confess to a crime which he did not commit.
Minister Shanmugam also pointed out that the president of The Law Society of Singapore, Mr Thio Shen Yi had made several false statements, including how five police officers had spoken to Benjamin and that all 5 took him to the police station.
The truth of the matter was only 1 police officer spoke to Benjamin in the principal’s office and three police officers were in the car which took him to the police station, but one alighted halfway.
Such dishonest and inaccurate statements and articles only serve to confuse the public. Mr Shanmugam added that the ministry will study how the police and other institutions will respond in future to such falsehoods.
“It is sad to see the level of dishonesty and politicisation of this matter. Where the police are wrong – we must and will take action. But we should not allow deliberate, dishonest attacks.”
– Minister K Shanmugam