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Singaporeans’ ability to hold the PAP publicly accountable needs strengthening

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by Dr James Gomez

Singaporeans’ ability to hold the PAP dominated legislature publicly accountable needs to be strengthened. Nearly 70 years of uninterrupted PAP rule has either discouraged Singaporeans from demanding for accountability or removed their ability to do so.

How did this happen?

First, a slew of laws such as the Public Order Act, the 2017 Administration of Justice (Protection) Act, the Protection Against Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA), the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act, the Online Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill and defamation laws are responsible. Many have been fined, jailed and had their reputation damaged because their calls for public accountability have been judged to have broken the above laws.

For example, in its five-year lifespan, the Protection Against Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) has been deployed at least 151 times (POFMA Tracker, Kirsten Han) highlighting its significant role in regulating calls for public accountability online. Notably, civil society activists, individual commentators, and opposition politicians top the list of those “POFMA-ED”.

Second, there has been a rise in hate content and hate sites targeting those seeking to hold public officials accountable. Targets of such hate include activists, independent journalists, human rights lawyers, and opposition politicians and other concerned citizens and individuals. It reveals the existence of a coordinated agenda by anonymous trolls of the “PAP Brigade” to the re-branded “Friends of the PAP” to shield the PAP from calls for public accountability.

In the meantime, hate against voices of public accountability remain unregulated and normalized. In the absence of a safe online environment for expressing policy concerns and opinions, public accountability voices are further muffled as hate sites flourish unchecked, leading to systemic online harassment and intimidation.

Third, the consultations and dialogues sponsored or convened by the PAP dominated government and its agencies are curated spaces. These are by-invitation only or in selected open activities, conversations are “managed”. For example, should you find yourself in such a space, hold or articulate a different opinion or perceived likely to hold one, it is not unusual that your comments and views will be moderated or ignored. Private counselling is also not to be ruled out.

What is also less known in the public domain, is that if you are person who is politically exposed via involvement in an opposition party, or part of a civil society group advocating for a high-profile cause, or a high-profile public accountability commentator, you will also be put on a security list and not let in some government spaces. This affects your ability to conduct or even register a business. Security reasons are cited, but not publicly disclosed.

Space and safety to make calls for public accountability in Singapore has always been poor and have been declining under the PAP’s uninterrupted rule.

In Singapore, if it’s not you, a family member, a friend, you will still know of someone who has been either legally prosecuted, been a target of hate, and when in curated spaces – removed, shutdown, or counselled against raising or for raising issues of public accountability.

So how can we address this problem?

Come these elections, vote not only for more opposition, but opposition parties that can hold the PAP publicly accountable.

We cannot have a Parliament that is an echo chamber in which PAP politicians believe in their own propaganda, while everyone else who wants to hold the PAP publicly accountable is disempowered and abused.

For the concept of public accountability to be meaningful and public bodies to be truly answerable to Parliament, more opposition MPs are needed in the Singapore legislature.

Read also “Forward SG omits government accountability and responsibility” by Dr James Gomez. Dr Gomez is a political scientist and a member of the Singapore Democratic Party’s Central Executive Committee. He would like to hear from you at his email: [email protected]

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Last edited 12 days ago by Blankslate

The only thing Sinkies can hold is their grocery bag in one hand and their balls in the other. They’ve trusted and kept the door opened for almost 70 years for these crooks to run the nation whilst profiting themselves. The crooks have gotten so complacent that they’ve even mandated clauses that will put the very citizen in hot soup for pointing out their flaws. Where’s our friend Izzy now? Can anyone in the public raise the question on why it’s taking this long? Are the citizens really in control with this circus act running the nation? Vote wisely. At… Read more »

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Last edited 12 days ago by Blankslate

You got to change the way you think. By the time you hold someone or a party accountable, damages would have been done or could have been done by then. Pointless to pass judgment after mass murder have been committed or a decision led to severe consequences for millions of lives, for instance. This government is not leading the people like a good shepherd to green pastures. This government is running a corporation in a dessert. People are made “thirsty” to keep the economy running for those, a minority, who stand to gain the most. The majority mediocre are wasted… Read more »

Best is everyone stop voting in a fake election for both sides to step down. Else they run left right to hide.

Actually all this can change with a vote. So what is stopping us ?

SGs never had a chance to…They controlled everything like they own SG and the people!
So What is this ” hold PAP publicly accountable needing strengthening”????
Have sgs even begun to?
No chance with LW either..

Good to see Gomez Back in Hard Action.
Keep it Up.

Dun expect me to trust WP or PSP. Cos one hem by Loong and the other by Yang. They are the overlords while the rest of us are the bones. Need to tripod them inorder to survive here. No?!? That why Sorry But never sorry for shit they cause with their wayang narrative.

Asking for justice or compensate is a Kam lan to them. Small fry ask for compensation…

One Lee family all in the empire playing different roles. No?!? Dun expect me to trust ppl like you!

Yah sure. How to in a corrupt environment?!? White can be black and black can be white. They can bribe the Oppo to get a pass vice versa. Then you have the same ppl Overlording all over again. No?!?

Singapore exists bcz of Raffles.

Raffles’s Singapore won’t exists bcz of PAP Administration.

Singaporeans will still graze on shit if they exists – provided they are maids in others land.

Citizens need to wake up first…or suffer more pain…which ever comes first.
Can we hope for that in this coming elections? Hmmm.🤔

Take the last GE for example, it is cleared that PAP only has 61% of the votes but still holds almost all the seats in parliament.

Rightfully, since PAP only has 61% they should only have 61% of the voting rights in parliament regardless of the number of seats they hold.

The following ways required to go about it:

1. Deny 2/3 majority of any political party in the parliament. This depends on Singaporean.

2. Rewrite the constitution to remove power of the ministries and return the power of legislation to the parliament.

3. Place the Election Department under the charge of The Board of Justice which consists of 7-members.

4. Board of Justice only be appointed by:
– 2 by the President,
– 2 by the Prime Minister,
– 2 by the 2nd largest elected political group,
– 1 by Law Society.

Accountability and Transparency are the antidotes to corruption, not high wages for office holders.

High wages buy ‘yes-men’ and obedient rubber stamps.
And then, who will know what would be swept under the carpet?

Vote wisely…… for a change from this systemic, deceptive silencing of the lambs.

Last edited 16 days ago by Chi Can

The govt and rich men club all hiding in 69 while pushing the rest to Bb or gg poor blacklisted club. Then as and when switch and change since the control is at their end. No meh?!?

Ya ,

Need to be strengthen .

Uncle has given up on this G long ago.

Just look at newly promoted chee hong tart of the 4G $m Team who could even not do a credible decent job of containing and controlling the old spill situation effectively.

It’s happened!

Let’s move on! Same same lah….

Now, … you wanna rein in a monster that you’ve given free rein to, for nearly 7 decades !!!

Now, … whose the dreamer here !!!

Now, … is not the time to lament or repent.

Now, … is knowing it is too late and it’s totally f**ked !!!

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