Don’t deprive youth of participation in nation’s politics

The Young Democrats (YD) opposes the latest Government’s decision to bring the Internet medium to heel (Straits Times, August 14, 2001). After having effectively muzzled the print and broadcast media, both local and foreign, it is not at all surprising that the PAP is now focusing its attention on the Internet.

The speed in which the PAP government is acting to curb the use of the Internet by political parties, reveals the desperation in which the PAP finds itself. It shows that the ruling party is unsure of itself in the coming General Elections (GE). With the recent slew of measures such as the Political Donations Act, electronic voting and selective overseas voting, the PAP knows that it will have problems facing both the Opposition and the electorate in an open, free and fair GE.

The YD has been actively reaching out to younger Singaporeans through the SDP website as well as through the email. The latest round of Government regulations to curb election activity through the Internet will severely hamper the YD’s efforts to campaign among the youth of Singapore.

If Singapore is going to harness the energy and vitality of young Singaporeans, it cannot continue to allow the ruling party to crackdown on the youth’s most effective mode of communication, that is, the Internet. It makes little sense, on the one hand, to want Singapore to be a knowledge-based economy but, on the other, clamp down on the most effective way of disseminating information, especially among the more Internet-savvy Singaporean youth. This latest move exposes the PAP’s rhetoric about wanting Singapore to be an information-hub.

It is also important to note that the Young PAP (YP) is keeping silent when the rights of young Singaporeans continue to be taken away. It is time the YP breaks out from under the shadow of the PAP and demonstrates a mind of its own. It can begin by enlightening its seniors about the dangers of over-regulation of our society.

Kevin Liew
Young Democrats

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