Gov’t bans nonviolence trainer from entering

May 14, 2005
Singapore Democrats

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The Singapore Government has deported Mr Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan who is an instructor from Nonviolence International. Mr Moser-Puangsuwan was invited to Singapore by the undersigned to conduct a workshop on how achieve democracy through non-violent action in Singapore.

Nonviolence International promotes nonviolent action and seeks to reduce the use of violence worldwide. Nonviolent action describes the act of non-compliance with oppressive laws put in place by authoritarian governments to stifle the growth of democracy. Refusal to cooperate with unjust laws, carried out in a systematic manner, can bring about change. Nonviolent action was used successfully by Gandhi in India and Martin Luther King in the US, to cite but two examples.

Mr Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan was stopped by immigration officials and refused entry into Singapore when he arrived at Changi Airport. He was then forced by the police to board the next flight back to Thailand. An official from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, Mr David Tiong, who had detained Mr Moser-Puangsuwan, refused to give a reason for the instructors deportation. He simply said that Mr Moser-Puangsuwan was not welcome in Singapore.

A few weeks earlier, the Government had banned Amnesty International (AI) spokesman, Tim Parritt, from speaking at a public forum on the death penalty in Singapore. Singapore has the highest execution rate per capita in the world and AI states that the death penalty in Singapore is shrouded in secrecy.

In another case, the Government had interrogated a journalist from the Guardian newspaper, Mr John Aglionby, when he visited Singapore to cover the campaign on the death penalty in Singapore.

The latest episode to prevent Mr Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan from entering Singapore is yet another attempt by Mr Lee Hsien Loong to prevent the development of democracy in Singapore. It is clear that the new Prime Minister is taking after his father Mr Lee Kuan Yew and wants total control of Singapore. While this may benefit the ruling elite, such authoritarianism will eventually ruin Singapore.

Chee Soon Juan
Secretary-General
Singapore Democratic Party