PAP hands out ‘olive branch’ to CHC: It is ‘understandable’ for the church to support its leaders
Posted by temasektimes on June 29, 2012
The PAP government appears to capitulate from intense pressure and lobbying from City Harvest Church (CHC) members following its latest press release yesterday that it will stand by its founder pastor Kong Hee and four other members who were charged on Wednesday for misusing the church’s funds.
In a strongly worded statement, CHC also expressed ‘disappointment’ that the Commissioner of Charity has implemented the suspension of its members without prior notice:
“We have been co-operating with COC for two years since the start of the case, so these sudden suspensions came as a surprise to us.”
Speaking to queries from the media, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development, Youth and Sports Sam Tan, said the City Harvest Church members’ support for their leaders is ‘understandable’ without condemning them for their ‘rowdy’ behavior outside the Subordinate Courts on Wednesday.
About 200 CHC members gathered outside the Subordinate Courts to ‘protect’ Kong Hee from the media circus and a scuffle reportedly broke out between them and some journalists.
Under the new Public Order Act, an assembly of one person or more is illegal and the police has the power to arrest the offenders on the spot. While the police was quick to arrest SDP supporters protesting outside the Manpower Ministry and CPF Board, no police was present to control the CHC members at the scene, thereby making a mockery of Singapore laws.
“It is understandable, that there will always be supporters to the leaders, and it is also completely understandable for them to express their support to their leaders. And it is also completely understandable for people who hold different views, to also express such views,” Sam Tan said in response to queries from the media.
Kong Hee is represented by PAP MP for Moulmein-Kallang GRC Edwin Tong. According to unverified rumors circulating on the internet, a few ministers and MPs are members of CHC as well.