An excellent letter from one of our civil servants from MHA explains why:
Many Singaporeans have never seen a protest in their life. Although Hong Kong which is under communist China allows protests, it is extremely dangerous to allow peaceful protests in Singapore because one cannot be completely assured that it won't turn violent. Nobody knows why but there is a higher propensity for violence among Singapore protesters compared with those in other countries like Hong Kong.
Don't the people of other countries have avenues to express their views such as writing letters to the Straits Times forum and Government Feedback Unit? It is not surprising that without the extraordinary leadership in Singapore, citizens of other countries have to resort to protests to have their voices heard. In Singapore, our extraordinary leaders always know what is best for us so there is no need to protest.
Take the GST issue as an example. When the Hong Kong govt tried to implement this wonderful idea to catch up with Singapore, Hong Kongers took to the streets and prevented their govt from implementing it. In Singapore, the govt is not only able to implement GST, it can choose to increase whenever it needs to, for the good of Singaporeans. When the Hong Kong govt tried to implement anti-sedition laws similar to those that are found in Singapore, it was foiled by 60,000 protesters. These people don't understand that those laws are meant to protect them.
Protests are a waste of time in Singapore. Whatever our esteemed leaders decide, it is for our own good. The excellent truthful letter below which says that there is always a chance that a protest can turn violent so it should be disallowed. I completely agree with that logic - for many years, I have insisted that soccer matches be banned in Singapore because there is no complete assurance that there are no soccer hooligans among the emotive crowd who will turn violent. We should also ban Rock/Heavy Metal concerts.
Singaporeans are so lucky to have laws that protect them from harm. No protests, no gay sex, no walking around naked in your own home.
Govt explains stand on 'peaceful' demos
A FEW letters in the press have argued that peaceful demonstrations should be permitted and even encouraged.
If there can be complete assurance that peaceful outdoor demonstrations cannot turn violent, the case for permitting such activities would be straightforward.
Those with violent goals typically do not declare their intentions upfront.
While most demonstrations and protest marches may not start with violence in mind, instances when they do turn violent are many. Illustrative of this are the violent clashes at WTO meetings in Seattle (1999) and Hong Kong (2005) and, more recently, the G20 meeting in Melbourne (2006).
When Singapore hosts such international events, we must account for the enhanced security threat level they attract. Our top priority must be to ensure the security and safety of the event and participants. We cannot afford to let our guard down or allow activities which undermine our security arrangements to address this threat by diverting and locking down forces for demonstration control and law-and-order functions.
The argument that such violent instances of demonstrations are occasional when compared to the total number of peaceful demonstrations is valid only if we are prepared to bear the costs of such outbreaks, however occasional.
The worst race riots in Singapore history began as peaceful processions. Hence even one such violent riot in Singapore with its attendant loss of lives, injury to persons, and damage to property is one incident too many. Deeper than the physical damage are the scarred relations between communal groups and the erosion of the sense of order and security which Singaporeans value and cherish.
The existing law on outdoor assemblies and processions therefore requires organisers to apply to the police for a permit which the police will evaluate for potential impact on law and order.
Indoor political events organised by Singaporeans for Singaporeans are exempt from having to apply for any permit. This is because the potential for disorder in an indoor setting can be more easily managed should it occur and the extent of damage more reasonably contained from the outset.
We will evolve our policies, as we have, over time but there can be no abdication of the need to always balance maintaining order and security for the larger society while adjusting the parameters to accommodate aspirations for different forms of political expression among some segments of our society.
Toh Yong Chuan Deputy Director International and Corporate Relations Division Ministry of Home Affairs