Monday, December 17, 2007

The ISA - Ensuring the Security of Singapore.

The above is today's Straits Times headlines. Given the sensitivities, I won't comment much on Malaysia's use of the ISA. Its leaders believe Malaysia is now more secure and it is a reminder for us to keep the ISA to ensure our own continued security.
Should mass protests occur, it doesn't really matter what they are about, the ISA can always be used to arrest its organisers saying they undermined the security of the nation, scare away investors & tourists and harm the country. I can't imagine a mass protest that does not justify the use of ISA - I guess that is why there are no mass protests in Singapore.

Why do western countries + S. Korea + Taiwan + Hong Kong + Macau + ..Phillipines + Thailand + Indonesia not have an ISA to quickly quell protests when they occur? The govt there actually have to address the concerns of the protesters instead of calling them threats to the nation's security to simply put a stop to their nonsense. Just look at the recent protests in Macau over rising inequality & prices, the govt there actually caved in and promised the protesters they will look into their plight in the coming months - wouldn't it be easier and faster to just activate the ISA if they had one?
In the 1960s, the USA had civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. If they had the equivalent of an ISA , they could have arrested him early lock him up for a few decades and put an early end to the civil rights movement. There will be no Martin Luther King Holiday and if they had a newspaper as good as the Straits Times, it would have been very easy to show that he was out to cause trouble and undermine the security of USA.
Many people believe that the ISA is still needed to take care of terrorist threats. Please don't water down the ISA okay - if it is meant for terrorist threats, they would have renamed it Anti-terrorist Act or something like that. It is a powerful instrument to take care of the security of Singapore. Yes, any gathering of more than 4 people not for the purpose of BBQs or birthday parties will definitely undermine the security of Singapore. The securiy of Singapore is undermined when investors & tourists are scared away. Although most of our tourists and investors (from USA, S. Korea, etc) come from countries that allow protests, they will be so scared when they see one in Singapore, they will flee immediately - when people come to Singapore, they expect more security than they do in their home countries. While the protesters in Macau did not cause billions to stop pouring into their little island, somehow for unknown reasons, Singapore tends to attract investors who are more jittery.

I think the biggest problem caused by protests and the absence of ISA is the acceleration of change in a country. The civil rights movement brought about greater equality in the USA, the recent protests in Macau brought about policy changes in their govt to address income inequality by considering better labour laws. In Phillipines, it brought about greater democracy. Our political system is far more advanced than elsewhere in addressing the needs of the people so there is no need for protests. Just look at our income gap, it has been ballooning for years and with recent price increases, the poor just got poorer - our govt has put in plenty of effort to solve this - they are spending years and years studying this carefully to come out with the correct policy response - good policies take alot of time for such a complex problem, that is why so little is done. Allowing protests might cause policy missteps like giving more aid to the poor, having a minimum wage and better working conditions.

Having the ISA and banning protests say alot about the superiority of our sociopolitical system in Singapore. We are confident our system best address the needs of the citizens so there is no need for protests of more than 4 people. We have a system that is far superior to those of Western societies to combat injustice and social inequality. No govt in the world deserve to be better paid for doing that and few govts have been more careful and taken more time than the PAP to address the issue of inequality, injustice, lack of freedom & democratic rights of its people. If you think about it a little harder, it becomes clear that the security of Singapore enforced by the ISA has alot to do with the securing the position of our esteemed leaders for without them, Singapore will sink.


irgen said...

If the US had ISA during Martin Luther King Jr.'s time, he would still be alive today.

And if Singapore didn't have ISA, Chia Thye Poh would have been assassinated!

We've to thank our govt for protecting our dissidents, rebels, terrorists - lock them up to prevent them from being assassinated!

generally said...

it's easy to create jobs. simply create policies to favor the rich and money will come in. problem is that, in a society that is sustained and driven by self interest consumerism can only be enslaving to its people. what follows in such a society is constant money woes which is destructive to family lives and values.
and whatever values they do promote through social causes, it's often achieved with political underlining and thus lacking soul and substance. it makes their values as fake as the tears they shed in parliament( i find it hard to believe their values rooted in money).
therefore, they are incapable of creating community life. they are better, as evident, creating more money for their kind and more money problems for the rest. at best, there maybe semblance of community living but on closer examination, it is as COLD as your local churches.

isa is the sum total of their arrogance and insecurity common with dictatorship. to resort to that is a testimony of their cowardliness and failure at civility.

however, irgen does have a point.

Anonymous said...

5 Fs.

Fun or f.u

Anonymous said...

more like, some old men would have been assassinated

Anonymous said...

with more foreigners coming in to take up low paying jobs( basically creating a lot of service jobs that locals don't want), the people will be more and more divided. all their 'fun' programs to make them get along will not help. not when this country foundation is built on FAKE VALUES!

Anonymous said...

irgen you must be an idiot.

I've never heard a more perverted and moronic reason in support of the ISA.

The ISA protects nobody other than the despot and his cronies. The ISA exists only to oppress the citizenry and to keep a despot and his family in power.

MLK is a victim of violence -- his death, like that of every homicide victim, is a failure of the police in providing security and in enforcing law and order. Had Chia Thye Poh been assassinated, that too would have been a failure of the Singapore police.

It is just foolish to speculate that MLK would have lived if he had been under the federal government's custody. JFK had the best protection the federal government had to offer and still he was assassinated.

Anonymous said...

Talking about scaring away tourists...

Now, those who come in tour groups, those you see pouring out of tour buses and following the tour-leader with an umbrella held high in the air - aren't these illegal gatherings of more than 5 persons? Shouldn't we throw them in jail with the ISA.

irgen said...

quoted by anonymous 2.46

irgen you must be an idiot.

I've never heard a more perverted and moronic reason in support of the ISA.


Please read between the lines; I never said I supported the ISA.

Don't you see the sarcasm and irony in my comment?

Anonymous said...

It is true. Lately, I've been wondering why a certain public toilet near Oxley area has been rather dirty. Rumor has it that the old man who used to work there went missing. I think he missed a spot or something.

fifthgrader thinker said...

please do not exploit the weak for your wealth

my granmother say one

thank you

Capt_Canuck said...

Point to be mentioned is that Canada and the USA have an equivalent of the ISA. In fact, it is written in the Criminal Code law books of Canada that '..any unruly gathering of over 4 people..' is considered illegal and the people can be arrested. HOWEVER, it is not that the rule exists, but it is how fast the gov't is willing to pull it out and use it.

After all, you can have a wooden spoon in your house and use it once in 20 years to spank your child for doing something wrong and most people will agree that is good parenting. It is only when the wooden spoon comes out more often for spanking and beatings than for actual cooking that most people would agree that is bad parenting.

Anonymous said...

Ensuring the security of my fat paycheck!

Anonymous said...

why do people revoke? mostly because of injustices. if there are no injustices, all the government needs to do is to proof it openly. for instance, have you been enriched whilst your fellowmen are struggling to make ends meet? proof to us that's untrue.
now if the justices are not resolved, violence(verbal rebuke and diatribe eg) will ensue because it is often violence in response to another kind of violence from higher powers.

we have a very narrow concept of violence. it is more than street riots, terrorist etc

discrimination is also violence. suing is also violence. when policies created destroy the earth, it is also violence.

one form of violence will lead to another form of violence and to use legislation( which can be perceived as another form of violence) to stop violent is simply hypocritical.

so what makes the higher powers think THEIR VIOLENCE TO HUMANITY IS ACCEPTABLE??

Anonymous said...

Capt canuck : "Canada and the USA have an equivalent of the ISA ... that '..any unruly gathering of over 4 people.."

Alamak that is NOT the equivalent of ISA.

ISA is about arresting people on suspicion of this or that crime and then putting them in detention indefinitely without any recourse to the courts of law.

This is an arbitrary law and not a normal law of the land. This is why ISA is so controversial.

Many political opponents of PAP including MPs and union leaders in the 1960's were incarcerated - and some up to 20 or more years - using ISA by LKY.

How could Asean's nations like Singapore and Malaysia continue to keep and use the ISA and yet have real moral authority to criticize the Myanmar regime?

ISA is the tool of dictatorship as it can and has continually been abused.

It may be justified during times of crises. But it should be set aside, dis-empowered during times of relative peace.

LCC said...

Hmm... Just a minor off-track comment...

If I am not wrong, there were attempts by the FBI in the 1960s to investigate Martin Luther King Jr.

They even tried to blackmail, intimidate & discredit him using the secret tape recordings they made of him and his associates (some of them being women whom he had extramartial affairs with)...

Capt_Canuck said...

Anon 11:24am:

Canada does have that sort of thing, along with the USA. All it takes is a strong suspicion of terrorist activities. Similar to Singapore except for the Canadians and Americans to suspect you of being a terrorist all you need is C-4 in your basement and a middle eastern heritage and you can be held; in Singapore all you need is an opinion.

Same analogy counts as the wooden spoon. We all have the 'spoon', just how often the gov't chooses to use it and for what reason.