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?