Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Violence Against Democracy

According to the 3rd Edition of the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index 2010, Singapore is ranked a pathetic 82th in the world, the same rank it attained two years ago and remains classified as a ‘hybrid regime’ among the likes of Russia, Pakistan and Cambodia.

Definition of Hybrid regime: Elections have substantial irregularities that often prevent them from being both free and fair. Government pressure on opposition parties and candidates my be common. Serious weakness are more prevalent than in flawed democracies -- in political culture, functioning of government and political participation. (Malaysia is ranked 71th in the world, and classified as a ‘Flawed democracy’, one rank higher than 'Hybrid regime', closer to 'Full democracies' ).

The crowd that converged at the void deck that once served as site of Chiam See Tong's Meet-the-People-Sessions were peeved residents of Potong Pasir who wanted to petition against the narrow defeat of 0.36% of the votes. Recent revelations came to light that ballot papers marked with protest messages against the incumbents were treated by the Elections Department as valid votes. Since PAP man Sitoh Yin Pin won the election by a mere 114 votes, every single ballot paper counts. These ballots are currently sealed in the Supreme Court vault for 6 months, after which they will be destroyed. The can only be retrieved by court order, to satisfy doubts that a vote has been fraudulently cast. The Singapore courts have issued no such order to date.

Advising the gathering to disperse immediately, police spokesman Humphrey Sew said, "Police then warned the parties concerned that what they are doing may constitute an illegal public assembly." In 2007 Sylvia Lim spoke against 4 amendments to Laws on Peaceful Assembly, and told parliament to distinguish between gatherings which are violent such as rioting, and those which are peaceful. Article 14(1) of the Constitution supposedly enshrines the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and without arms. Worse, pursuant to the Public Order Bill introduced in March 2009, all outdoor activities that are "cause-related" will need a police permit, no matter how many people are involved. Until then the law required a permit only for gatherings of 5 or more people. Uniquely Singapore, one person standing for his constitutional rights is defined by the law as an assembly.

The disgruntled citizenry had initially called for a by-election in Potong Pasir, then the petition changed to a call for an inquiry into the narrow margin. Chiam had this bit of advice: "If any political party wants to grow, it needs to build credibility and trust in the eyes of the people and not resort to violence and hooliganism." In the last ditch effort to salvage his electoral campaign, PM Lee Hsien Loong apologised for the mistakes under his watch and pledged to make adjustments to the system and do better, "When these problems vex you or disturb you or upset your lives, please bear with us". He didn't stipulate a time frame for the contrite acts of repentance.

In the lexicon of the incumbents, only gerrymandering and dubious electioneering innovations are tolerable acts of violence and hooliganism against the institution of democracy.


  1. The Leadership in Sin needs to repent, repent, repent.
    It seems that the voted out Foreign Minister George Yeo will start the ball rolling and work within PAP to reform it. As to whether after having helped PAP for 23 years to entrenched Its' political ideology, George Yeo will be able to undo what he had helped to defend and fortify in the past, shall remain to be seen. However, it is clear Gorge Yeo has rediscover his own conscience.
    May success be with him.

  2. GY help reform the pap? That is the dumbest and most naive presumption ever. GY rediscover his own conscience? Hahahahaha! Daft s'poreans simply amaze me.

  3. George Yeo got buddies and khakinans(confidantes) in PAP or not ?

  4. GY was talking about the transformation of PAP, not the "reform" of PAP per se. PAP is already transformed as it is with a new slate of new blood, the likes of TPL and former army generals. So in that case, the other question is, is it a transformation for the better or worse? I will rest my case. As for the points made by Tattler, I have to take my hat off to you for highlighting our involvement with Burma economically. It's "uniquely Singapore"!

  5. The sooner the old fart bites the dust, naturally or intentionally, the better it is for Singapore and its people. It will open the way for some kind of reform within the PAP, i.e the PAP splitting into 2 factions, Woody Goh's team vs LHL's team.

    This setup will lead to a better political landscape, and it matters not who claims to be the 'A' team...not with assholes in either team who are at best 3rd rate!

  6. Singapore political system has many serious flaws and yet self-proclaimed as first world country. It has actually a third world parliament and third world politically uneducated population. Unfortunately, GE2011 given the opportunity failed to start a change to its flawed one-party system.

    Ask yourself these questions:
    1. Is the government accountable to its people?
    2. Is the government transparent to its people?
    3. Is there an independent MSM?
    4. Is there a well representative parliament for the people?
    5. Is government not involved in and linked to business?
    6. Is civil services including CPIB independent of government?
    7. Are courts independent of government?
    8. Is elected president independent of government?
    9. Will people have says in constitutional amendment?
    10. Is there a freedom of speech?
    11. Is there freedom of information in contrast official secret act?
    12. Are citizens' rights upheld by constitution?

    If you have a NO answer to any one of the above questions, the country is not a true democracy country and a non-sustainable country.

    For those who did not vote for a change in GE2011, they now cannot make any complaint on the policies which are the results of this flawed political system. Singaporeans deserve the flawed political system.

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  8. @ Anonymous May 11 2011, 5:06pm
    In response to your questions, o boy, I tried to make sure I either have a tick or cross-out to your questions(meaning either a yes, or no respectively). But well, it looks like nearly all the questions are answered with a cross-out.....except for one to two questions which teeter on the edge.....

  9. Singapore lost a good opportunity to reclaim some form of democracy in this GE. 60% of those who voted for status quo is either apathetic or naive or life is simply too good for them to want any change.

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