PAP nervous about New Media, introduces “guidelines”

March 12, 2010
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

The proposed changes to the election rules announced in Parliament yesterday are just another ploy by the PAP to instill fear in the people. As far as the Internet is concerned, citizens should be free to campaign for whichever party and candidate they choose.

The “advertising guidelines” introduced is clear indication that the PAP is running scared of the New Media and how it is a leveler of information flow.

The ruling party also knows that because of its control of the traditional media, more and more Singaporeans are turning to the Internet for information. The overwhelming sentiment in cyberspace is for the opposition and against the PAP.

The Government is thus desperately trying to regulate cyberspace during the elections even though it knows that it is near impossible to do so given the nature of the beast.

The Singapore Democrats has been actively working online through the years to garner support. Even then, we will not rest on our laurels and we intend to bring up the level of our Internet presence and campaigning during the elections with or without the changes to the Internet guidelines.

This is where our strength lies and the PAP is obviously feeling nervous about the use of the Internet by the Singapore Democrats.

The cooling-off day is obviously one such weapon that the PAP will employ to counter the SDP’s use of the Internet. While specifying that no new material can be uploaded online during this cooling-off, the traditional media that the PAP controls will not come under such restrictions and this will be used against the opposition.

As for the tweaking to allow for up to two NCMPs from one GRC, it is important for Singaporeans to remember that the scheme is meant to distract voters so that they feel that opposition MPs are elected when in fact this category of parliamentarians have little or no legislative power.

Singaporeans have to understand that they need to vote for the opposition in numbers that will surpass the 50 percent mark in order that we enter Parliament to represent the people.

John Tan
Assistant Secretary-General
Singapore Democratic Party

The above statement was put out in reply to queries by the Today newspaper:

1. Is there anything in the proposed changes to the legislation that gives SDP any encouragement?

2. Based on the information release, do you now find the Cooling Off Day beneficial to your party?

3. What do you think about the specifics released by the Government with regards to the Cooling Off Day?

4. As for the Non Constituency MPs: The proposed changes specified that the maximum number of any GRC is two. Will this make a difference in how your party plans the coming General Election?

5. What do you think about the proposed changes to the Internet advertising guidelines?

6. SDP is especially ahead in the use of new media to engage your supporters. Will the changes give you more space to operate?

7. Finally what do you think of the move to make the election offences – including displaying “any badge, symbols, sets of colours… or posters as political propaganda” – on Cooling Day and Polling Day seizable offences?

In the end only one line was used. Read Today’s report here.