Priest barred for interfering in S'pore's politics

SINGAPORE - The Government has barred Australian clergyman James Minchin from entering Singapore as he "has interfered in Singapore's domestic politics", the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a statement on Sunday.

An author and Anglican priest, Mr Minchin arrived in Singapore from Australia on Nov 7, and was turned back at Changi Airport, The Straits Times online reported.

In August last year, while on a social visit to the Republic, he spoke at a political forum "where he alleged that the rule of law was bypassed and corrupted in Singapore, and questioned the independence and integrity of the judiciary", MHA said.

He did not have a permit to speak.

All foreigners who are involved in activities directly related to the "organisation or conduct of any seminar, conference, workshop, gathering or talk concerning any religion, race or community, cause or political end" must hold a Miscellaneous Work Pass, The Straits Times report added.

Recently, Mr Minchin, a controversial figure from Melbourne, came to Singapore again on a social visit and gave a "political interview" in his capacity as a clergyman.

To this, MHA said that separation of religion and politics is a long-established principle here, and foreigners are not exempt from it.

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