National Conversation Roundtable to feature civil society (update2)

Singapore Democrats

Bloggers and NGO representatives willreplace opposition party representatives at the National ConversationRoundtable organised by the SDP.$CUT$

The National Solidarity Party,Singapore People’s Party and Singapore Democratic Alliance replied tosay that they would not be sending representatives to speak on thepanel.

The Reform Party said that it should beable to make the event but as of this report had not confirmed itsparticipation. Workers’ Party did not reply to the invitation. (Update: Workers’ Party replied on 25 September to decline the invitation.)

This being the case, the SDP willconduct the discussion with the civil society leaders and bloggersinstead. The Roundtable will be held this Saturday, 29 September2012, at the Quality Hotel from 2-5pm. The speakers are (list updated to include Ms Teo Soh Lung from Function8):

Mr Alex Au, Yawningbread
Mr Andrew Loh,
Mr Kumaran Pillai, The Online Citizen
Ms Teo Soh Lung, Function8
Dr Vincent Wijeysingha, SingaporeDemocratic Party

A representative of the human rightsorganisation, Maruah, will also speak at the Roundtable.

Having left out significant opinionformers from the conversation, the PAP is extremely vulnerable to theaccusation, now being actively canvassed online, that it is notgenuine in listening to what the people have to say. How this willaffect the future direction of this country will be the focus of thediscussion at the Roundtable.

Are there taboo areas in the NationalConversation that are off-limits such as the Internal Security Act,the judiciary or appointments of high level officials?

Another question that will be tackledis whether a genuine National Conversation can occur in the absenceof a free and pluralistic media. Thus far, the Prime Minister and MPsof the governing party have held a televised forum on Channel NewsAsia. Netizens later discovered that many of the participants werePAP members or establishment personalities linked to the governingparty.

Speakers will address these issues andfield questions. The Roundtable will steer in a “new normal”where frank and open dialogue can take place between the people,civil society, the opposition and the Government.

Event: National Conversation Roundtable
Date: 29 September2012, Saturday
Venue: Diamond Room, Quality Hotel
Time: 2pm-5pm

All are welcome.

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