Thursday, March 26, 2009

PAP: Not even ONE person can protest in Singapore

Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Singapore Democrats

First it was five or more. Now it's not even one.

The PAP introduced the Public Order Act in Parliament yesterday that will ban all “cause-related” events, even if there are less than 5 persons. The introduction of this Act is not just the tightening of laws against protests, it is an outright ban of Singaporeans' right to peaceful assembly.

Already the people have no avenue of public protest because laws such as the Public Entertainment and Meetings Act and the Miscellaneous Offences Act prohibit 5 or more persons gathering in a public place without a permit.

Under the latest Public Order Act, even a one-person protest will require a permit which, by the way, the Government has indicated it has no intention of granting. Of course, public gatherings in support of the PAP will continue with impunity.

In addition the Films Act has been amended to ban the filming of illegal public events. This move is designed to stop the publicising of civil disobedience acts.

Taken together these laws and the way they are exercised are designed to ensure that public assembly is completely stopped.

Such legislation comes at a time when there is growing public anger at the Government. Not only is the economy the worst performing one in Asia, the country's rulers continue to lavish themselves with salaries that are the highest in the world for politicians.

The new legislation is also meant to curtail the growing interests of Singaporeans in conducting peaceful protests.

It is a clear sign that this Government is fearful of the future and knows that it cannot face the public in an open debate. It is therefore doing the next best thing – clamping down on dissent.

As the world moves to a new age where openness, transparency, and democratic accountability are the hallmark of good governance, the PAP is going in the opposite direction.

This signals one thing: That the PAP is determined to keep itself in power regardless what happens to the country and how unhappy the people get.

Singapore to launch tougher public order law (Adds analysts' comments)
By Nopporn Wong-Anan, Reuters

SINGAPORE, March 24 (Reuters) - Singapore, which already has tough restrictions on freedom of assembly, plans to tighten them further ahead of a major Asia-Pacific summit in the city-state.

The Public Order Bill, introduced in parliament on Monday before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November, was needed to "squarely address gaps in the current framework to enhance the ability of the police to ensure security during major events", the Ministry of Home Affairs said.

It would also allow police to order a person to leave an area if they determine he is about to break the law.

All outdoor activities that are cause-related will need a police permit, no matter how many people are involved. That is a change from the current law requiring a permit for gatherings of five or more people.

Opposition politicians and activists were quick to criticise the proposed law. "Even in communist China, peaceful protests are tolerated," said Chee Siok Chin of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party.

The bill allows police to stop people from filming law enforcement if it could put officers in danger. The bill cited live media coverage of Indian police trying to rescue hostages in the Mumbai attacks last November as posing risks to the officers.

Police could stop small peaceful protests against unpopular visiting government leaders, such as from Myanmar, if the law was introduced, activists said.

Last week, three Singaporeans tried to present a bouquet of orchids to visiting Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein for him to give to detained Myanmar opposition leader Aung Sann Suu Kyi.

Thein Sein was having an orchid named after him at the Botanical Gardens, a Singapore tradition for visiting heads of government.

The law is certain to pass, since the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) has an overwhelming majority in parliament.

It also passed an amended law on Monday to ease a decade-long ban on political party documentary-like films, but introduced restrictions on dramatised political videos.

"These two sets of amendments should be viewed as part of the longstanding periodic adjustments the PAP has made to limit politics to tightly controlled electoral contests conducted in the absence of a meaningful civil society," said Garry Rodan of Murdoch University in Western Australia.

Others said the two laws were pre-emptive measures for the government to prevent a repeat at the APEC meeting of confrontation between police and protesters that took place during the World Bank/IMF meeting in 2006, and also to deal with potential social unrest during Singapore's worst-ever recession.

"As long as the government feels a threat, it needs greater measures to deal with greater problems," said Terence Chong at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. (Editing by Neil Chatterjee and Bill Tarrant)


Anonymous said...

I will NOT vote for PAP. I can give you 50 reasons

1. I want to buy a house without paying a Cash-Over-Value of $100,000

2. I don’t want to be accused of being fussy if I don’t want to live on the first floor or basement bomb shelter, or ulu ulu places like Kusu Island

3. I don’t want keep hearing that flats are “affordable” when I really cannot afford flats.

4. I don’t want to see foreigners flood our condos, HDB estates, MRT trains, buses, schools, EVERYWHERE

5. I don’t want to know about how ministers are getting lots of landed and prime property both local and overseas when I have trouble getting a 3-room flat.

6. I don’t want ministers who get multi-million dollar salaries when I do odd jobs and some months I don’t make more than $2,000.

Ministers in other countries may take bribes and embezzle. My ministers are smarter, they get more money claiming more MILLIONS in salary LEGALLY.

7. I don’t want to pay ERP just because foreigners’ cars are clogging my roads. Especially, when ERP do not solve congestion problems!!! We still have terrible traffic jams!

8. I don’t want to do NS and reservist to protect my country against foreign invaders when:
(A) I don’t have a house to protect
(B) I cannot afford to start a family to protect
(C) I have to protect foreigners and their property with my life when they run away during war.
(D) Foreigner PRs do not have to serve
(E) I get paid worse than a Bangala worker. To think that National Service needed people donation’s in 1967, after a year, it gathered S$ 3 million from Singaporeans when we were all so poor.

9. I do not want to see PRs and New citizens flashing their blue and pink ICs on their national days.

10. I do not want to see the shamelessness of importing foreign athletes and claims that Singapore won when a foreigner won. Oh yes, we pay these foreigners millions of dollars so that Singapore can claim that it won. WOW!

11. I do not want to hear jeering against the SG local soccer teams from foreigner spectators when we play against other countries IN OUR OWN COUNTRY!

12. I don’t want to pay 7% more for everything I buy in my whole life when the government gives my $200 in “compensation” handouts!

13. I want to see a local student being the top student. Not some China kid. Not hearing from ours kids that there is no point to work hard as some foreigner is going to squeeze them down inevitably.

14. When there is public curiosity, I expect my government (especially Law minister) to be transparent enough let us know about Temasek and HDB cost to build a flat, etc.

15. I want my country to be known as a COUNTRY. My country is NOT just a city like some idiot claims.

16. I don’t want LHL’s son to be the next succeeding prime minister.

17. I don’t like how China suckered us in the Suzhou park initiative and we still have to kiss their assess.

18. I cannot understand why local siblings cannot buy flats when foreigner PR siblings can buy flats.

19. Singles are not allowed to buy flats before 35? Are singles supposed to be forced into marriage just because of this? By the time singles reach 35, the flat prices will be higher by $100,000 to $300,000. These singles worked very hard to scrimp and save only to see savings ERODED away by inflation!

20. I do not want to read the paper when it is pro-PAP and there is major censorship and selective publishing and late publishing for what cannot be hidden.

21. I don’t want my life-savings to be belittled as the salt on the “peanuts”.

22. I don’t like it when my country’s reserves lost tens of billions of dollars and the PM’s wife can still head Temasek!

23. I want important national assets key to our security like power stations to BELONG to our country, not sold to foreigners.

24. I like to add hum to my mee siam by the way.

Anonymous said...

25. I want a president who actually DOES more. Not one which who I seek shakes hands, seldom speaks, does not even pardon and spare a 19-year-old kid his life. Not a president who kids confuse with Mas Selamat (Many kids who know Mas Selamat do not EVEN know Nathan)

26. I don’t want to have my next national day parade at the silly riverside place….AGAIN! How long does it take to make a stadium? We are a country but we don’t even have a national stadium?? How about loaning Malaysia’s Merdeka Stadium for Singapore’s National day?

27. I want job security. A contract for 1 or 2 years, Then look for work again. The cycle repeats. We have to worry for our jobs and livelihoods on a daily basis. When we are over 40 years old, who want us anymore? I might as well join the army as sign on. But wait, that is contract TOO!

28. I don’t want the next generation to suffer like me in university. I had to work part-time to support my uni fees in NUS, while foreign students get free uni education thanks to MOE PLUS $500 allowance every month. After that, NUS still has the cheek to call me up and ask me to donate to NUS. Why they need money? They lost hundreds of millions of endowment in the financial crisis. I can still remember working and saving for 3 months before I could afford a 2nd hand laptop.

29. I want to protest in the streets to voice my discontent without being put to jail by the ISA act or made bankrupt. For goodness sake, I don’t even dare to accept Singtel’s offer of giving me free 6 months internet if I switch from Starhub to Singtel, because I am scared that my IP address and my name will be blacklisted by the government. (considering Singtel’s afflictions with the govt)

30. I want an opposition party in power. Any opposition is welcome. As educated and smart as my current and soon-to-be-ex ministers may be, I want people who CARE and LISTEN. Even if it is a guy who had graduated from kindergarten would be welcomed if he cares.

31. Elites who have been born with a silver spoon, who never had trouble finding a job, who never had money difficulties, who never went hungry, who breezed through NS, do NOT deserve my respect nor should they be in the government. We need people who UNDERSTAND what it is like at the pits and bottom! Not some shortie who claims to understand hardship with a childhood living in 3-room flat but marries an angmoh and lives in a landed mansion.

32. I want a better electoral system! I don’t want WALK-OVERs again. Some of the seniors did not even get to vote ONCE in their whole lives. How is that democracy?

33. I want fairness. Is it a coincidence that certain estates under certain members of our government are especially well-cared for with upgrading etc incentives? Is this fair? Are residents of areas under the opposition similarly cared for? I quote a resident from Potong Pasir “the lifts here are so old and I can’t climb the flight of stairs to reach my place anymore.” I supposed the 60 year old aunty would be forced to vote for PAP to get new lifts.

34. I want a limit to the number of years the PM can hold office, so that as bad and as lousy as the PM is, we can at least have a chance to start afresh.

35. I want small quotas/ratios legislated for foreigners.

36. I want foreigners to be restricted to less than 20% of our population instead of 36%.

37. Horsie actually said that foreigner PRs were under-represented in HDB flats. Pah! No more than 2 flats in a block should be sold to PRs! Otherwise, how can the many old uncles and aunties have pocket money for retirement by renting out flats?

38. I want their CPF contribution percent to be much higher and that their CPF to be forfeited if they leave SG.

39. I want higher income taxes and property taxes for foreigners.

40. I want NS for foreigners.

41. Foreigners who bought HDB flats cannot be allowed to rent their flat out EVER!

Anonymous said...

42. I want the SGD to be moderated downwards! A higher SGD may benefit those who can afford to holiday overseas, those who are rich enough to send kids to overseas for studies, or PRs and foreigners when they remit money home. BUT overly high SGD deters investments into Singapore.

43. I want curbs on inflation. To that effect, we need to install restrictions on property speculation, raise reserve ratios in banks, and have more stringent criteria before loans are issued. AND OF COURSE, GST lower back to 3%

44. When foreign talent enters my country. I want these people to be REALLY foreign talent. I don’t want my country’s pink IC and PR to be handed out like toilet paper.

45. I want more heavily subsidized birth-delivery, child-care, pediatric health and education care to boost local numbers. If S.Korea can do it, why not us? The practice of replacement diminishing local numbers with foreigner number MUST STOP.

46. Instead of always saying Singapore does not have enough talent, will the government spend more money and effort in education and grooming the young? Every time they say that there is not enough of certain type of people, the government will import these people in masses and hordes.

47. I expect government-affiliated institutions to not indulge themselves with luxuries when other citizens have bread-butter problems:

When NTUC income unilaterally announced major cuts in its bonus for insurance-policy-holders, the MAS allowed this to happen. NTUC income claimed financial woes, but took HUNDREDS of agents to Australia for an exorbitant expense-paid holiday as they made the announcement earlier this year!!! Do they think about the widows and orphans when they dine fine with wine???

At first I could not believe NTUC Income to be capable of this, then I checked on the web and saw the NTUC CEO hugging 2 BIKINI girls and drinking champagne in Australia too.


48. I expect the MAS to protect citizens financially too:

When thousands of investors lost their life savings in the mini-bond fiasco, where was the government?? Unlike the Hong Kong government which had exerted pressure on its local banks to compensate a minimum sum to its minibond holders, the Singapore authorities chose to stay out of the matter….. MM Lee Kuan Yew even chided Singapore investors for “walking in with their eyes open” and therefore did not deserve a compensation. (quote from Temasek Review 1st Dec)

49. I have 1 more issue with the state Media Press. HOW can they publish photos of people suspected of crimes when they have not EVEN been convicted?? Imagine the tarnishing to the poor suspect’s reputation if he were innocent! It is not as if the guy can sue ST and get $400,000 in defamation compensation.

50. Anyone can give the 50th reason??????????????? Come on my fellow locals. If I can say so much, you can at least say something! Few thousand people viewing this article and so little comments???

Seelan Palay said...

Hmm.. interesting. Thank you for that.