The recent rejection of applications by Singaporeans For Democracy (SFD), Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home) and Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) for public processions are further examples of an authoritrian regime making up the rules as it goes along and want only abusing power.
In the Home’s and TWC2’s case, the organisations had applied for a permit to hold a vehicle procession to raise awareness about the dangers of transporting workers on the back of lorries. The police rejected the application. This event was organised in conjunction with International Migrants’ Day.
There have been incidents where workers have been killed on Singapore roads when they were flung off the vehicles in which they were traveling after being hit by another vehicle.
Another event – a talent quest – also organised for International Migrants’ Day by the NTUC was allowed because, according to the police, it was a recreational event. Just how stupid do they think we are?
The PAP will go to whatever lengths and craft however silly responses just to ensure that Singaporeans do not become knowledgeable on socio-political issues and involved in activities that are initiated by civil society and the Singapore Democrats.
This is how Singapreans are dumbed down and starved of intellectual stimulation, reduced to automatons allowed only shopping and other banal recreational activities.
Worse, the illogic that the police pass as reasons for rejecting the applications is insulting, to say the very least. While they say that the NTUC did not have to apply for a permit because its International Migrants’ Day event was “recreational”, how do they account for the Consumers’ Association for Singapore (CASE) campaign “walk”. Below is the media release issued by CASE:
14 March 2008
WALK WITH CASE TOWARDS A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) will be holding a nationwide event “Walk with CASE” on Sunday, 16 March 2008. It is to commemorate the World Consumer Rights Day that falls on 15 March each year. The theme of this year’s World Consumer Rights Day is “Junk Food Generation – Campaign to stop the marketing of unhealthy food to children”.
“Walk with CASE” is a mass event which will bring together consumers over a wide range of ages. Our objective is to publicise these events as part of our overarching initiative to commemorate the World Consumer Rights Day and to raise awareness for the consumer rights movement in Singapore. Details of the events as follows:
Date: 16 March 2008, Sunday
Time: 7.00am to 11.00am
Gathering point/venue: Merchant Loop (along Singapore River, behind Liang Court)
Guest of Honour: Mr Kaw Boon Wan, Minister for Health
The words in the media release are emphasized because they are the exact ones that the Miscellaneous Offence Act use. Rule 2(1) of this Act stipulates that groups of five or more persons must apply for a permit if they wish to conduct any activity that:
a. demonstrates support for or opposition to the views and actions of any person;
b. publicises a cause or campaign;
c. marks or commemorates any event
Clearly the CASE event was meant to publicise, campaign, and commemorate an event. And yet the police allowed the organisation to proceed with its activity .
Questions: Did CASE have a permit for its event? If yes, why was it allowed to conduct its activity while groups not affiliated to the PAP are banned? (CASE’s president is PAP MP Mr Yeo Guat Kwang).
If no, did the authorities take action against CASE and its organisers for carrying out the event without a permit?
Again the media are also responsible for the sorry state of affairs. Is there not a single journalist at SPH or MediaCorps who has courage to pose these questions and compel the government to answer them in a forthright manner?
The Singapore Democrats have repeatedly called for the Judiciary to check such abuses and arbitrary application of the law. It is one body that can and must ensure that laws are applied evenly so that our Constitution may be respected and upheld. The courts have repeatedly ruled against the SDP.
High Court Judges Woo Bih Li and Steven Chong are the latest in line to decide on the SDP’s appeals (see here). They have reserved judgments after hearing Dr Chee Soon Juan’s submissions in several appeal hearings. (See here and here)