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The Institute of Policy Studies (IPS)has turned down a request by Dr Chee Soon Juan to organise an event to speak about his recently published book, DemocraticallySpeaking.$CUT$
IPS Associate Director Ms Chang Li Linsaid the Institute, which is subsumed under the Lee Kuan Yew Schoolof Public Policy, is “guided by the principle that the work we dois independent, and non-partisan” and has “declined all offersfor collaboration from political parties, including the PAP.”Hence, it is unable to organise an event for Dr Chee.
But the Institute has organised events for PAP Ministers in the past, the latest ones being Mr Goh Chok Tong and Mr K Shanmugam. Below is Dr Chee’s reply to the IPS:
[Note: Dr Chee will be selling his book at the Golden Shoe Carpark at the corner of Chulia St and Market St during lunchtime on Fri, 7 Sep. The book can also be purchased online here.]
Dear Ms Chang Li Lin,
I am disappointed that the IPS isunable to organise an event where I can present and discuss policyissues that I raised in my book Democratically Speaking.
What is puzzling, however, is that the IPSmission is, as you say, independent and non-partisan. You also statethat you have declined all offers for collaboration from politicalparties, including the PAP.
While I can appreciate the positionthat IPS adopts, I cannot help but note that on the front page of theorganisation’s website is information about your organisation’sCorporate Associates Lunch with Minister K Shanmugan and Mr Goh ChokTong.
Surely, it must be acknowledged that MrShanmugam and Mr Goh are both prominent members of the PAP.
In addition, the website says that MrShanmugam “will also share his views on the political situation inSingapore and the long-term challenges facing Singapore.” Suchviews cannot, in all reasonableness, be held in isolation from hisparty’s stand and, therefore, partisan in nature. From such astandpoint, the argument that the IPS declines collaboration with allpolitical. parties, including the PAP, seems rather disingenuous.
Be that as it may, I would like tohighlight that Democratically Speaking is not an SDPpublication. It contains my views on the political situation inSingapore and the long-term challenges facing Singapore which I, likeMr Shanmugam, would like to share with your members and associates,and perhaps introduce them to an alternative viewpoint.
It is such contestation of ideas thatleads to good policy-making, an aspect of policy studies in which, Iam sure, IPS has great interest.
To the extent that Mr Shanmugam and MrGoh can dissociate themselves from their party and speak at IPS-organised events, I seek todiscuss the contents in my book at an IPS function as its author and not arepresentative of the SDP.
In these respects, I would like to askyou to re-consider your decision.
As this matter may be of publicinterest, I would like to make it available on the Internet.
Chee Soon Juan
Dr Chee has also written to the following organisations to talk about his book:
- Association of Muslim Professionals
- Institute of Southeast Asia Studies
- Nanyang Technological University Students’ Union
- National University of Singapore Political Association
- National University of Singapore Society
- Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce
- Singapore Management University Students’ Association