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MHA slams Function 8 for showing ‘disrespect’ to Archbishop Nicholas Chia

Posted by temasektimes on September 21, 2012

In an unusual move, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) publicly slammed an activist group calling for the abolition of the Internal Security Act (ISA) Function 8 for showing ‘disrespect’ to Archbishop Nicholas Chia by publicising his retraction of a letter through blogger Alex Au.

Archbishop Chia had earlier sent an unsolicited letter to Function 8 in June this year expressing his support for its rally to call for the abolition of the repressive ISA which was used to detain many Singapore patriots without trial, one of whom is former MP Chia Thye Poh who spent 32 years in detention.

Soon after Archbishop Chia sent the letter to Function 8, he was ‘invited’ to a tea session with Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean after which he sent a second letter to the group asking them not to publish his letter.

The state-controlled media published a report yesterday claiming that Archbishop Chia had withdrawn his letter because he was “concerned” it could be used to “harm” the social harmony in Singapore.

In a statement, the ministry said Archbishop Chia’s decision shows his appreciation of the complexity of Singapore’s multi-racial, multi-religious society, and the need to keep religion and politics separate.



43 Responses to “MHA slams Function 8 for showing ‘disrespect’ to Archbishop Nicholas Chia”

  1. Jack said

    Govt putting pressure on Archbishop Nicholas Chia?

  2. spotlessleopard said

    hahahaha…….MHA getting very edgy…and now using childish arguments and pulling rank for the Archbishop of the Catholic Church…

    What else will the MHA do?

    Or the Prime Minister will now tell Singaporeans this group are pro communists?

    • x said

      There must be a rat in either the Catholic Church or Function 8 or more likely both. How else did MHA find out so quickly? Find the snitch and geld him.

    • True BLUE Sinkie said

      MHA is trying to create tension between Function 8 and the catholic church. The intention is to put the F8 members behind bars. The Chinese has a saying, “borrow a knife to slaughter other people”.

  3. SgGuy said

    What miracle a cup of tea with Teo can do ya? There must be lots of rotans and torture equipment hung in the room they had tea 😉

    • tom hanks said

      Besides having a cup of tea with Teo CH, the god-of-no-mercy was in a cubicle to receive the archbishop’s confession. As it turned out, the archbishop realised which god he feared more.

  4. oute said

    Wonder what is Worker’s Party thinking of the worries of Singaporean, or what is their objective to be in Parliament…

    Mod’s note:

    The ‘Wayang Party’ is probably more worried about its pockets than the people. Put up a ‘wayang’ every five years and earn $15,000 monthly thereafter. Not a bad deal.

    • Naivety said

      Hey Stup Mod,
      In the area that I stayed in, there are only 2 Political Parties contesting the GE every 5 years namely, the Pro Alien Party & the WP (no other parties are involved besides the 2).

      Are you now telling me & my friends not to vote for WP but for the Pro Alien Party instead given 2 choices?
      And what choice do we have & off course we would persist to vote for the lesser evil of the 2 parties as this is no brainer!!!

  5. BK said

    As far as I am aware, the concept of the Separation of Church and State in Singapore as interpreted by this government, does not quite tally with the origins of its phrase.

    Most often quoted is that by Thomas Jefferson; “wall of separation between church and state”, whose intention was that the government should not intrude into religion. That religion is a matter between God and Man. John Locke in his thesis; social contract, showed that an individual’s conscience is a matter that the State cannot be involved, and that the individual has a right to deny the State any interference in his choice of religion.

    For most developed countries, the phrase is used to deny the Governments the tendency to interfere with religion, and to promote freedom of religion. In Singapore, it is interpreted the other way, whereby, religions are denied interference in the State’s affairs.

    The premise of the phrase in general, is that an individual has a conscience, how and where he derives this conscience is up to him, how he chooses to educate himself in his conscience is up to him. But while the State has no right to interfere in the path to his conscience, it is not clear how can he apply his conscience?

    There lies the fallacy and paradox of the separation between Church and State in Singapore’s case. I can understand that the Church cannot partake in partisan politics. But in its application of conscience, surely the Church must articulate itself. That is what freemen do.

  6. angels and demons said

    It leaves me no doubt which ‘g o d’ this archbishop fears the most and I also tend to believe ‘g o d ‘ showered him with enlightenment.

  7. Singkaypoh said

    Hmm, maybe Archb Chia just dun feel like taking the place of Chia Thye Poh for the next 32 years??? 😉

  8. Tortoise said

    Looks like Old Man has triggered the ISD to do the hatchet job for him. If Archbishop Nicholas did not retract his statement, the ISD will be called in to fix him.

    • A G Young said

      You are absolutely correct if you do not want to be the next victim!

    • Marshal Chintulan said

      Yeap, ask them to try using the ISD on the Archbishop & we will see all the catholics in Sinkapor & the Regions uniting against the Wicked & Evil regime.

      Then we will have a Holy War brewing!

      • laughing balls said

        We had this threat by the christian lot many times before. It did not play out. Please keep on dreaming.

      • Marshal Chintulan said

        Really? Well, Laughing Balls you can always try it out now & put the Archbishop immediately under detention without trial for the next 32 years just like what they did to Chia Thye Poh & then see whether there are many soldiers & native citizens willing to defend the Pro Alien Party especially those undergoing National Service duties now when there is a war outbreak!

  9. Now even a religious nut wants to get involved.

  10. Tea? I was really hoping for coffee when I get invited.

  11. MHA’s secret to social harmony in Singapore: Keep all letter secret. What logic!

  12. Ron said

    I wish the Catholic Church had not got involved. Those involved with Function 8 included at some who were imprisoned under the ISA. That “Marxist Conspiracy” was a major crises for the Catholic church in Spore and the government took the opportunity of the Pope’s brief stopover in Spore to raise the issue. And some priests were using the pulpit to criticize government labor policies. I attended Church masses and heard those speeches (they cannot be called sermons). There was a danger of the Church being drawn into politics.

    I wish His Grace has not got involved. It is a senstive topic and the way to do it is quiet dialogue with the Government. Those who are campaigning for abolition of the ISA are not seeing the bigger picture. Spore is a tiny red dot without the ballast of a much larger population. Like a small boat it can be over-turned by turmoil easily. The ISA may be a crude weapon but the World at large is not getting safer either.

    The General Elections is the right forum to raise this issue. And where was Function 8 at the last GE? Why don’t they register themselves as a political party and push this agenda at the next GE?

    • BK said

      Did you ask yourself why the Archbishop wrote a letter of support? Is it because he knew the charges against these people were false and lies? DPM Tharman had said that he did not believe these people were Marxists. And they were tortured. Do you accept State torture as an instrument of security? ISA is not a crude instrument, it is an immoral instrument.

      Pertaining to issues of separation of Church & State. The best way to interpret that separation is that the State should not influence how a man obtains his conscience. And the collapsed of that conscience in modern times can be seen in Nazi Germany. Can you name me an incident in recent history whereby the Church overthrew a State based on their application of conscience? Or that social disharmony was the result rather than the cause when a Church applies its moral authority?

      Marcos Philippines fell, when Catholics through peaceful civil disobedience overcame his compunction for violence. But this is a country that is 90% Catholics.

      This Government has cleverly over the years make Singaporeans think that politics is only for politicians, and that politics means every culture, every social event, every thought and action. The blanket usage of what is political is to restrict civil society and to preserve that interference and influence solely by the Government. Has not LKY proudly said that his Government makes no apologies for direct interference in very detail of Singaporeans’ social life?

      Is the Archbishop the Head of the Catholic Church, but also its spokesperson, its leader, its ambassador? He has been doing this for a long time. To say that he didnt know what he was doing when he wrote that letter is to do him injustice, he is not a novice, he is a man of intellect, he has been granted wisdom. He was chosen by God to lead the Catholics in this little 700 sq km.

      The withdrawal of the letter whether it is “forced” or as he claimed, likely to be used in a manner he did not intend, is not believable. Firstly, the letter was not solicited. Secondly, why should a man of God have hidden agendas in the segregation of ‘private” and “public”? Thirdly, what right is there that the giver withdrew his gift when that gift is unconditional?

      But if the Archbishop had just withdraw and not make an issue, I think that would have been that. But perhaps goaded, he then say that he was “used”. Implying F8 intentionally manipulated him and the Catholic Church. But if his letter is unsolicited how can that be the case? That has since set in motion all the other incidents.

      Every Singaporean has a right to apply their conscience. Peacefully, articulately and politely. By insisting that “politics” is only meant during elections and for politicians, you deprive right minded citizenry of its ability to participate in our country, you deny young people the education needed for their growth, you deem the lights of open debate and foster darkness of withdrawals, retreats, self immolation.

  13. Holding my breathe said

    The plot is getting more and more interesting ….

  14. NaBey said

    Tea got spiked then kena sodomised?

  15. Ball less said

    Got balls at first, after drinking tea become no balls?

  16. Bai Hu said

    MIW scare tactics again! Yawn~ ~~~~

  17. oute said

    Where is his faith…

  18. Lim said

    The letter was unsolicited. According to the report he was invited to tea with Teo CH – how did govt got to know of the letter? So what is the honourable Archbishop’s stand on the abolition of ISA? Withdrawal of the letter means he changed his mind and is against the abolition of ISA or he supports abolition of ISA privately by his unsolicited letter but does not want his stance to be made public and hence withdrew the first letter?

  19. People Inaction PArty said

    Is he god or dog? Looks like the latter.

  20. Gutless said

    Sure kenna cowed to retract his letter.

  21. Maximus said

    MHA’s very effective liang teh called 听话凉茶!

  22. Disappointed Catholic said


    • Singkaypoh said

      Haha he didn’t want to end up sharing the same luxury accomodations with KH 🙂

    • Common Cents said

      It’s not the Archbishop’s job to be involved in politics

      • kingdom of heaven said

        It’s his job to provide guidance on moral values, even in politics, especially dirty politicians who used underhand means to persecute christians, citizens.

        Not doing so can be interpreted as lacking moral courage and as archbishop he must ask himself which g o d does he serve, which g o d does he fear ?

        No wonder your logic is common cents.

  23. True BLUE Sinkie said

    He is a million-dollar-salary archibishop if we are not wrong. At par with our million-dollars ministers

  24. True BLUE Sinkie said

    Nicholas Chia is acting and bowlng like his predecessor when members of Function 8 were arrested for their so-called Marxist Conspiracy. This archibishop is a coward and bows down to Teo Chee Hean instead of to GOD. GOD spelled backwards is DOG to you isn’t it, Nicholas Chia?

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