Friday, August 16, 2013

One Death That Will Not Go Away

Speaking at a charity gala to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Yellow Ribbon Fund for ex-offenders, Second Minister for Home Affairs S Iswaran boasted that Singapore Prison Service officers will emerge stronger from the incident involving the death of prison inmate Dinesh Raman. Well, it doesn't quite look that way, does it? Not when the family of Dinesh Raman Chinnaiah has just written to the Attorney General, seeking approval to re-open the coroner's inquiry into their son's death within 7 days.

Iswaran had told Parliament that the State Coroner discontinued the inquiry because the cause and circumstances of Dinesh's death had been established in the criminal court. Well, if it had been so clearly established, it behoves one to ask why the minister is so reluctant to release the full report of the coroner's inquiry. Law Minister K Shanmugam had once said the Shane Todd inquiry was fair, open and "the world can see what we have done", yet he, too deigned to release that report when challenged by the Todd family.

The statement relating to the request for reopening the coroner's enquiry said that it is "in the interest of transparency and justice that a public and independent inquiry into Dinesh's death be allowed to run its full course. His family deserves nothing less." We could also add, the general public interest deserves nothing less.

The family's lawyer correctly pointed out that "there had been no forensic findings on how, when and where the deceased came by his death, which is the stated purpose of of an an inquiry into the death, according to Section 27(1)(b) of the Coroner's Act." This flies in the face of Iswaran's claim that the cause and circumstances had been clearly established in court. And since the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) had already emphasised that the prosecution does not have power "to compel the coroner to adjourn or discontinue an inquiry," it looks like State Coroner Imran Abdul Hamid also owes the public an accounting for why he decided to stop work. Work only when you feel like working? Now that's a job to die for (pun unintended).

Whatever happens, the AGC needs to emerge stronger from this affair. In the light of recent shenanigans - corrupt elements within CPIB, professor of law hauled to jail, top law enforcers servants nabbed by honey traps - faith in the judicial system has been badly shaken.  Brushing off the cartoonist was the easy part, restoring the trust of the people in public institutions needs a bit more work.

Iswaran says the police already spent 28 months and interviewed 130 on the case (compared to 13 months and over 60 witnesses for Shane Todd). Surely the extra effort to clear the air can't be that much of a "drain on the state's resources," the excuse proffered by the AGC as one justification for discontinuation of a coroner's inquiry.


  1. The AGC, hell the whole Justice System in Singapore seem to be on trial of late, no ?

    We plain Singaporeans are the best judges.
    There is a thing called Natural Justice which must have been delegated to the dust bin in Singapore a number of years ago.

    1. Lye,
      You are right. How can we aspire to be the region's arbitration and international justice hub when such "perceived" cover-ups are happening right before our eyes. Just get someone to take the rap - one unfortunate scape goat - in a hurried hush hush hurried manner to close the case with a $10, 000 fine. Life is cheap daa. Really langgar dah!

  2. Obviously, it is not nice if the truth is revealed.Hence the offer of compensation.At this age there must be lots of CCTVs at the institution which would have recorded the incidents. Quite possibly the footages may have been destroyed or thrown to the recycle bin.

  3. "Iswaran's claim that the cause and circumstances had been clearly established in court"

    Huh? What court? There was no trial, the Deputy Superintendent pleaded guilty, was fined - fini, habis. Duh.

    In the interests of transparency and accountability, of the truth, justice, fair play and the public trust in our judicial institutions - AGC, stop dithering and get on with it!

  4. Want to see justice? Vote PAP out and justice will appear.

  5. Corrupted regimes are favoured by crooked businessfolks, similarly a Kangaroo Justice System will be popular to corrupted regimes and business people.

    1. My apology.

      'will be popular' in the Above Comment to be changed to 'will be preferred'.

      Anon 6:20pm

  6. How about penning a piece on One Death That Would Not Come?

    1. There once was a pig and a cow. The pig was unpopular and the cow was loved by all in the village. This puzzled the pig.

      The pig said to the cow, "People speak warmly of your good nature and your helpful attitude. They think you are very generous because each day you give them milk, butter and cheese. But how about me? I give them everything I have. I give them the famous sausages, bacon and ham i.e. my entire body. Yet no one likes me. Why is that?"

      Do you know what the cow answered? 

      The cow said, "Perhaps it is because I give while I am still living."

  7. Money solves everything here.

    Money to solve traffic congestion, parking,even getting school for your kids.. ( not direct though ).
    Compensation is money.

    I would like to sit in on the negotiations to hear how they can be persuaded to accept money and sign documents to shut up... it works every single time.

    Heard of anyone who refused money???

    Its in the Chinese DNA.. we continue to give money even after death. 7th lunar month is proof of this.
    Money solves all problems in Singapore... direct or indirect. Get ready for money just before 2016.

    Opposition is a dead duck when PAP hands out money.. directly or indirectly.
    The electorate is greedy for money and the PAP knows it.

    Let me know if anyone returns money, refuses money.

  8. Just observation - the post on botak girls garnered 150+ comments? And 9 for this? Maybe the papigs are right, silliporeans really are one of a kind sotongs. So yes, alternative parties will alwasy be just that because of silliporeans "priorities".

    Anyway, I still say the same - OSC is another milestone in PAP PR exercise - talk talk talk so silliporeans get totally lost and saturated and distracted from the real issues - the system is rotting, corruption is endemic in civil service (and further up???), better throw more smoke bombs, obscure and lie, massage data (perm sec benny lim knows how :), give a little money (but keep even more for themselves), meanwhile, plunder on quietly behind your backs...

  9. "drain on the state's resources,"

    The life of a prison inmate is worth less than that of an American suicide? Maybe the Coroner and the AGC would prefer to sit on their fat asses.

    $387 million on the YOG is not a drain?
    Million dollar Ministers' salaries not a drain?
    $1.1 billion subsidy to transport companies not a drain?
    $1 billion on Gardens by the Bay not a drain?
    ... etc ad nauseam et infinitum ...

  10. Increasing CPF interest rates costs money and so will many other "policy" shifts. Housing "subsidies" will cost money or rather reduce earnings for the State.

    Many things that the people ask for will cost money.

    But, wait!..

    Addressing your emotional/affective domain costs nothing!

    So, overriding the rule on bald headed gals is free.
    Promoting neighborliness is free: "we must help one another" concept, policy is free. Getting people to show "empathy" is free.

    For that matter, discontinuing the Coroner's Inquiry
    is also free.. or rather costs, less in monetary terms and is fantastically cheap to preserve integrity of the prison folks.

    You'll hear this concept of helping one another peppered all over tonight's speech. It will work too!
    Thats because people THINK there is lots of empathy, and the hard nosed PAP is softening. Ha! ha!.. gotcha there again!

    Wanna bet??

  11. Actually I think you have confused the Committee of Inquiry with the Coroner's Inquiry. If I remember correctly, Iswaran said MHA had completed a Committee of Inquiry into Dinesh's death and shared the key findings in parliament. I don't think MHA has the power to decide whether to continue the Coroner's Inquiry or not, as afterall, it is for the Coroner to decide on this. Pls get your facts right before commenting on the case to avoid misleading others.