COMPETENT CONSTRUCTIVE COMPASSIONATE
Your ability to misinform your readers never fails to
amaze. Ms Chua Lee Hoong wrote that I had "vanished into the obscurity
of the international lecture circuit." (ST, 18 March). This completely
ignores the fact that my colleagues and I have been actively continuing
our work for democracy in this country. It is your newspaper that has
tried to create this impression of me being absent from the local
political scenario by refusing to publish the SDP's press statements,
announcements and replies.
Upon my return from Australia at the
end of 1998 after the publication of my book To Be Free, I have been out
in the streets in Singapore (save for the few weeks that I have been
overseas to speak at various conferences and the time when I was
imprisoned for exercising my right to free speech) on a daily basis
selling the abovementioned book and our party newspaper, The New
Hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans can attest to this
as they have seen me at various places disseminating alternative news
and talking about the need for democratic change for our nation. And
yet, your newspaper doesn't acknowledge this.
It is this denial of
a free-flow of information by a government-controlled media in
Singapore that makes it all the more urgent for us to push for freedom
of speech (which includes the freedom of the press). Issues such as the
witholding of our CPF money through the hopelessly disguised Minimum Sum
Scheme, the non-accountable non-transparent nature of the PAP
Government especially in recent transactions and decisions, the advent
of the ill-conceived foreign talent policy and how it threatens to
undermine the interests of Singaporeans, the milking of the citizens'
savings through exhorbitantly priced HDB flats, and numerous others,
have been highlighted in The New Democrat.
foreigners, must be careful not to be taken in by all the PAP talk of
opening up society. Whilst on the one hand the Government whispers sweet
nothings about starting up a speakers' cornerwhich, the way that it has
been proposed, makes a mockery out of free speech, it continues to
deprive the people of their fundamental rights, that is, their right to
an independent mass media, and to freely and fairly vote for the party
of their choice. In fact, recent warnings to the foreign media to play
the game according to the rules laid down for the local media, is yet
another sign that the PAP is making Singapore more repressive than it is
opening it up. This cannot be good for the country.
the SDP will continue to engage the people of Singapore in the streets
of Singapore. Obviously, however, the Government-controlled media of
Singapore will continue to keep everyone in the dark about this.
Chee Soon Juan