Singapore has passed a new set of laws for public order:
Not that the old set wasn't working. It is just that we have to be more vigilant given the rising unemployment, bigger income gap and growing number of people disenfranchised so a new set of laws are required. Hungry people ought to be saving their energy by staying at home instead of protesting on the streets....and jobless people ought to be looking for jobs and people who disagree and want to change the system should just shut-up. What better way to achieve greater order.
Under the new Bill, three types of activities will require permits: Those that demonstrate support for or against views or actions of any person, group of persons or any government; those that publicises a cause or campaign; and those that mark or commemorate any event.
You will now need a permit to "commemorate any event". What has public order got to do with commemorating something?
The Act will also give police officers new powers to issue pre-emptive "move-on" orders, which will be in written form, ordering demonstrators not to congregate at the intended rally area, or give them a chance to leave without getting arrested.
The Act will also prohibit the film of law enforcement operations.
How was the abuse of power by police discovered and presecuted? 90% of the time by people who happened to have film the incident - be it the Rodney King case or the most recent use of violence against protestors during the G20 [Link]- these incidents were all caught on film. We have better policemen that the rest of the world? They use secret edge tactics that cannot be filmed?
The ultimate justification given by Second Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam:
"Have we gotten that balance right? Well, ask yourselves two questions. In our region, which country would you rather be in? And amongst the countries in the world which became independent in the 1950s and 60s, which country would you rather be in?"
The answer is simple. In this region I rather be in Singapore not because of its draconian public order laws but because it is my home and it is a modern city. Let me turn around to ask this question if Singaporeans want these draconian laws that repress the populace even more making it difficult for people to protest for worthy causes and injustice, why are so many Singaporeans lining up and waiting to emigrate to US, Australia, UK and New Zealand which do not have such draconian laws and allow protests. There are more people in Singapore whose security are adversely affected by loan sharks(10,000 counting just official reports last year) that terrorise the HDB dwellers than by peaceful protestors - you don't see the PAP govt proactively enacting laws to protect Singaporeans from loan sharks. These set of public order laws have little to do with the people's safety or security and every thing to do with preserving the system that allows the PAP thrive, hang on to power and repressing dissent and stopping much needed changes in our society....