The Rhetoric

“In the past we were quite careful about criticism. Now, it doesn’t matter, we are big enough but don’t go overboard…Now, if Singaporeans [criticise] the government, so be it. But if you do something which can cause social disorder, that’s a different matter. [Nevertheless] we will loosen up further.”
PM Goh Chok Tong, The Nation, May 8 2002

“There is no need for anyone to go underground or hide behind the cloak of anonymity.”
Singapore Broadcasting Authority on the New SIntercom website

The Reality

On 16th Nov 2001, Robert Ho Chang, 51, was arrested for “allegedly posting inflammatory articles on the internet during the General Elections.” On 2nd July 2002, the police again raided Ho’s home and confiscated his computer. On the same night, social activist Zulfikar Mohd also had his computer carted away by the police. Both men are now being investigated for criminal defamation.

“..controls have been so successful that it is fair to say that in some ways, the state of Singapore civil society is worse than it was 10 years ago.”
Koh Buck Song, Straits Times, Apr 27 2002

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