In a report discussing the recent proposals to alter the make-up of NCMPs and NMPs in Parliament, the Straits Times took in the views of opposition parties — except, of course, those of the Singapore Democrats.
This is despite the SDP stating quite unambiguously our position on the matter — that the “generous” act is designed to hoodwink the gullible into thinking that the Government is actually moving towards democratising Singapore.
We had pointedly reminded Singaporeans that, through the years, the PAP has done everything to hammer the opposition into comatose with the use of the ISA, defamations suits, and changes to election rules.
And now that it wants to to create more NCMP seats, we are supposed to clap and cheer?
Of course Singaporeans shouldn’t be allowed to read and hear such a viewpoint. Hence, the Straits Times’ censorship of our statement.
This is not the first time that the newspapers and, more broadly, the media have selectively blacked out news of the SDP. Through the years, they have consistently ensured that our stand on issues and our work in general are not publicised.
Not only do the media not publish our views, they go to extraordinary lengths to distort and lie about the party. Especially blatant was the last GE in 2006 when the Singapore Democrats were singled out for the most biased treatment.
Is this agenda related to the PAP’s? In 2007, Mr Lee Kuan Yew repeated his motivation of introducing the GRC system: To keep opposition politicians like Dr Chee out of Parliament. (See here) Mr Goh Chok Tong echoed this sentiment saying that the Government would not give the Singapore Democrats a chance to survive. (See here)
In such circumstances, what should the SDP do? Do we yield to the might of the PAP in the hope of being perceived as “moderates” so that we can gain some leniency and be given a chance to get elected?
Before we answer these questions, it is important to note that the Democrats are not radicals and others are not moderates.
We see the dangers and the futility of pretending to fight as if we are operating in a democratic system. We see the need for urgent political reform, not meaningless tweaks to the NCMP and NMP schemes. More than that, we will do all that is necessary to bring about such reform.
To do otherwise is to play along with the PAP game which will only prolong and strengthen the undemocratic system in Singapore.
But here’s what readers should note: If what the SDP is doing is so outrageous and unacceptable to the Singaporean public, why not report our actions and views as they are, and let the people see our foolishness?
But they can’t. The PAP knows that if it allows our views to be accurately reported, Singaporeans will see that we make sense and increasingly support us.
This is the reason why the media will continue to black out our news. When they do run stories on us, they will print lies (and then refuse to give us the right of reply) to ensure that the public gets as twisted a picture as possible about the party.
So no, we will not kow tow to the PAP. We will stick to our principles and our strategy of openly and loudly calling for reform.
And we will rely on the Internet to disseminate our views. The new media may not be able to compete with the press and broadcast media, at least not in Singapore — yet.
With time and technology, we are confident that this will change.