Democracy Rising

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable" ~ President John F. Kennedy

Monday, May 08, 2006

Singapore: When The World Stops Watching…

Originally posted at Publius Pundit

…the knives come out.

On Saturday, the small city-state, and economic hub, of Singapore went to the polls to elect a new parliament. For the first time in years the ruling People’s Action Party faced a real challenge to it’s 47-year grip on power - with the opposition gaining a large chunk of the vote, including in the Prime Minister’s own constituency. In spite of electoral rallies that saw tens of thousands attend for the opposition, and barely hundreds for the ruling party - the PAP secured victory.

By no means was their win as a result of ballot-stuffing. The simple truth is that a) about a third of the electorate had no chance to vote as the PAP were returned in 37 seat’s unopposed b) many people were too (wrongly) afraid that the PAP would know who they had voted for and thus be able to punish them c) the media was heavily skewed in favour of the ruling party, with no video of the huge opposition crowds shown on State Television.

Yet despite a landslide 82 seat victory, the knives are already out.

Today one opposition leader, James Gomez, has been arrested on charges of “criminal intimidation” - no doubt a reference to a minor slip up in his registration process. Mr Gomez had accused the Election Commission of losing his papers, only to later discover he had simply misplaced them. For the entire campaign the PAP and state media overhyped the incident at the expense of mentioning government claims to ‘fix’ the opposition. Oh and what’s this? Former P.M of Singapore, and father to current leader, Lee Kuan Yew has said that whether or not other Workers’ Party members connived in the incident was a matter still to be determined. Make of that what you will…

For those of you with some spare time, I recommed reading Wikipedia’s Singapore entry or doing a quick google search to see what kind of ‘Democracy’ Singapore really is. Libel cases and bankruptcy against the opposition, the necessity for a permit to gather in even small groups (check out the fourth video here, to see what happens when you attempt to stage a small unplanned rally), and a media that is dominated (and I mean 100%) by just two companies - one controlled by the state, the other loyal to the PAP - for an idea of how the PAP keeps power.

If Mr Bush is serious about Democracy it is time for him to act against Singapore and encourage it to open up.

I hope this post has raised some awareness on the economic and political enslavement of Singapore’s people. For more on the current crisis check out Singabloodypore and Singapore Election Watch.

Oh, and incidentally the government today alluded to possible controls on Singaporean blogs before the next election. Information Communications and the Arts Minister Dr Lee Boon Yang said the ‘impact of the internet’ on the election would be investigated. With these sites being the only independent voices many Singaporean’s have access to, it appears the government is viewing them as just a big a threat as the failure to flush a toilet.

Free Singapore!

07 May 2006


  • At 7:48 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    An excellent and objective summary indeed. It is doubtful that Bush or any other world leaders are going to pay any attention though. The impact from injustices in Singapore political system is barely sufficient to make a dent on the world economy and there are more pressing issues at hand like Darfur in Sudan, even then nothing was being done there until recently.


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