Two senior opposition figures will be disbarred from contesting seats in Parliament for five years after they were fined sums above the S$2,000 (HK$8,980) threshold for disqualification. Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) secretary-general Chee Soon Juan was fined S$2,500 yesterday for giving a political street talk without a police permit on January 5 and his deputy, Wong Hong Toy, was fined S$2,400 for assisting him. Both refused to pay their fines and last night began serving 12-day prison sentences in default. For Chee, it was his second time behind bars in a month. He recently completed a seven-day stretch in jail for not paying a S$1,400 fine for giving a similar illegal speech in December without the licence required under Singapore's Public Entertainments Act. His second spell in prison means Chee could miss out on the birth of his first child, which is due later this week. Chee's Taiwanese wife, Huang Chih-mei, said it would be difficult being alone during the birth, but his jail sentence was 'not unexpected'. In passing sentence, District Court Judge Mavis Chionh said both men had acted in deliberate disregard of the law by intentionally not applying for a police permit. As this was Chee's second offence, she said she was obliged to award a significantly higher penalty or risk making a nonsense of the sentencing system. Deputy Public Prosecutor Bala Reddy ironically pleaded for leniency, arguing that Chee had committed his second offence before being convicted in court for the first and should be treated as a first-time offender. Mr Reddy said he was taking this unusual step because Chee had elected not to use a defence lawyer to plead on his behalf and was not well versed in the law. Wong did use a defence lawyer, but Mr Reddy pleaded he, too, should be fined less than the S$1,500 fine he received in 1988 for abetting an earlier illegal public speech. Wong's lawyer, Ling How Doong, expressed surprise at the level of the fines, but said both men had been were well aware of what they were doing. In their defence, Chee and Wong said they had not bothered applying for a permit since permits were always rejected for outdoor events and, even when approved for indoor venues, were often given too late to organise the intended talk. They also accused the police of abuse of power by discriminating against opposition political parties. Mr Ling claimed the Public Entertainments Act breached Article 14 of the constitution which guaranteed freedom of speech, but the judge said her court had no authority to rule on this matter. Outside court, SDP vice-chairman Ghandi Ambalam said running for Parliament was not the only forum for fighting for democracy. 'The party goes on,' he said. The SDP failed to win any seats in the last poll.