Police: Stop justifying the unjustifiable

Straits Times Forum
9 Sep 2008

Why WP didn’t get permit for event

I REFER to last Thursday’s letter by Mr Tan Ghee Gay, ‘Why ‘no’ and ‘yes’?’, regarding police decisions with respect to the Workers’ Party’s (WP) proposed mass cycling event last year, and the carnival on Aug 31.

Police do not issue permits for outdoor political events in public places due to the potential for disorder and unruly behaviour. This applies to events organised by all political parties. For this reason, police rejected WP’s application to hold a mass cycling activity in East Coast Park, to commemorate its 50th anniversary in September last year.

The event on Aug 31 was very different. The permit was issued after taking into account the organiser and the nature of the event. It was organised by the PAP Community Foundation, which is a registered charity and not a political party. The event was not assessed to have the potential for disorder and unruly behaviour. It was a carnival that involved children and families from various kindergartens and educational institutions. The Prime Minister, as guest of honour, and a few other guests, made their entrance by cycling a short distance. During the event, a sum of $664,000 (which had been raised earlier) was distributed to 17 charities, including Beyond Social Services, Children’s Aid Society and Chung Hwa Medical Institution.

DSP Paul Tay
Assistant Director (Media Relations)
Singapore Police Force

If I were the media relations director of the Singapore Police Force (SPF), I would advise my staff to stop justifying what is unjustifiable.

Of course technically PAP Community Foundation (PCF) is not a political party. But the current police policy seems to be aimed more at preventing opposition political parties from holding outdoor events, rather than maintaining law and order.

There are a myriad of outdoor events that could cause disorder, including events held by the PAP and its subsidiaries. A logical conclusion of the SPF’s policy banning outdoor events by political parties is to ban rallies altogether during the election period.

In any case, I feel I need question the SPF’s impartiality when I read the last paragraph: “During the event, a sum of $664,000 (which had been raised earlier) was distributed to 17 charities, including Beyond Social Services, Children’s Aid Society and Chung Hwa Medical Institution.”

Why are the police doing the job of the public relations manager of the PCF?

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Author: Gerald Giam

Gerald Giam is the Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC. He is a member of the Workers' Party of Singapore. The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.

7 thoughts on “Police: Stop justifying the unjustifiable”

  1. Hi Gerald,

    I am hoping an opposition party or an alliance of several will hold an almost-identical event e.g. foundation, charity, West Coast, same activity, identical program, etc. The difference being the name of the event and the parties involved.

    Let’s see if SPF will approve that. And if they do not, let’s see how they’ll defend their position. Singaporeans are very creative… unlike what many would like us to believe… creativity often wells forth when it comes to gambling, keeping the opposition at bay, dodging arrows in the military etc.

    In many countries I have visited, each time I have a word with a local policeman and they know where I am from, it is almost inevitable they will say in whatever little English they can muster “Singapore police… very goooooood!” and this is usually accompanied by a thumbs up. I feel so proud of the SPF at such moments. I still have high regards for SPF but I just hope they will be careful about how they defend the legacy they have inherited which many before them have painstakingly built up.

    SPF took a generation to build the trust, regard and respect of a nation, and perhaps that of the world; it takes a couple of incidents to lose all that.

    Regards,
    An Old Friend

  2. I think that they have already lost it, as those kind of incidents have occurred for more than a couple of time.

    Some of the police dealings do remind me of the old Soviet Union.

    Sigh … we are after all FIRST world, as claimed.

  3. I remembered in one incident, our MP Seng was slapped by a man during MP ( or PAP) dialogue session. This is a proven example that even PAP event may caused trobule.

    Interestingly, how does our police know how much the funds being raised in this charity event. Is this also part of their duties to administrate?

  4. Where is the credibility if one attempts to justify the unjustifiable ?
    SPF can be added into IBA’s next report along with the judiciary.
    2 important institutions that lack independence. First world indeed !

  5. You mean dictatorship and fascism cannot go hand in hand with the title of First World????

    Of course we can. We are Singaporeans remember?

    Our leaders have already told to the world that our dfinition of Human Rights is different from the rest of the world.

    So smart.

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