Published: 19 May 2023
1. The Ministry of Home Affairs is aware of the following publications making false statements of fact concerning the capital sentence that was meted out to Tangaraju S/O Suppiah:
(a) Kirsten Han’s (“Han”) Facebook posts on 19 April 2023 and 22 April 2023 (“Han’s FB posts”);
(b) Han’s “We the Citizens” article published on 19 April 2023 (“Han’s article”);
(c) Han’s Twitter post on 19 April 2023 (“Han’s tweet”);
(d) Transformative Justice Collective’s (“TJC”) Facebook post on 23 April (“TJC’s FB post”);
(e) M Ravi’s Facebook posts on 20 April 2023 and 27 April 2023 (“M Ravi’s FB posts”);
(f) The Online Citizen Asia’s (“TOCA”) article published on its website on 28 April 2023 (“TOCA article”);
(g) TOCA’s Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter posts (“TOCA’s FB and LinkedIn posts and tweet”) on 28 April 2023; and
(h) Andrew Loh’s (“Loh”) Facebook post on 24 April 2023 (“Loh’s FB post”).
2. These social media posts and articles contain the following false statements about the capital sentence that was meted out to Tangaraju S/O Suppiah:
• Tangaraju had requested an interpreter during the recording of his statement but was denied one.
• Tangaraju neither had an interpreter nor access to legal counsel during his trial.
• It was never pointed out to Tangaraju that Steven Chong JCA was the Attorney-General when decisions were taken by the Attorney-General’s Chambers in respect of Tangaraju’s case. The courts did not ascertain whether Tangaraju had any objection to Steven Chong JCA hearing matters relating to Tangaraju’s case.
• Tangaraju was convicted, and sentenced to hang, and later found to be not guilty.
• Several personal costs orders were made against M Ravi without justifiable basis, to penalise him for his work in death penalty cases.
3. Tangaraju, a 46-year old Singaporean, was convicted of abetting the trafficking of 1017.9 grammes of cannabis. The Misuse of Drugs Act provides for the death penalty if the amount of cannabis is more than 500 grammes. 1017.9 grammes is more than twice the capital threshold, and sufficient to feed the addiction of about 150 abusers for a week.
4. Tangaraju’s allegation that he requested for but was denied an interpreter during the recording of his statement is false, and was rejected by the High Court. The High Court found this bare allegation, raised for the first time during Tangaraju’s cross-examination, to be disingenuous given Tangaraju’s admission that he had made no such request for any of the other statements subsequently recorded from him.
5. Tangaraju was accorded full due process under the law. He was represented by legal counsel and had access to an interpreter throughout his trial.
6. Tangaraju’s then counsel was informed, before the appeal was heard, that Steven Chong JCA was the Attorney-General when decisions were taken in respect of his case. Steven Chong JCA was not, however, involved in the decision-making process, and Tangaraju’s then counsel was informed of this as well. Tangaraju’s then counsel had replied to confirm that Tangaraju had no objections to Steven Chong JCA being a member of the coram for the Court of Appeal, to hear his appeal.
7. Tangaraju’s conviction by the High Court was upheld by the Court of Appeal, which is the apex court in Singapore. His conviction has not been overturned.
8. Costs orders were made against M Ravi for justifiable reasons and in accordance with the law, as can be found in the court judgments, which are publicly available. Some of these costs orders were made in respect of M Ravi filing unmeritorious applications to the courts, which were found to be abuses of the court process.
9. Despite the Government’s clarifications and the courts’ clear findings on Tangaraju’s case, Han, TJC, M Ravi, Loh and TOCA have persisted in making false statements of fact. These false statements may affect public trust and confidence in the Government and the Judiciary.
10. The Government takes a serious view of the deliberate communication of falsehoods. The Minister for Communications and Information and Second Minister for Home Affairs has instructed the POFMA Office to issue Correction Directions to Han, TJC, M Ravi, Loh and TOCA in respect of Han’s article, Han’s FB posts and Han’s tweet, TJC’s FB post, M Ravi’s FB posts, Loh’s FB post, TOCA’s FB and LinkedIn posts and tweet, and the TOCA article.
11. For the facts of the case, please refer to the Factually article “Corrections regarding false statements of fact concerning the capital sentence that was meted out to Tangaraju s/o Suppiah”.