"Singapore is a parliamentary republic in which the People's Action Party (PAP), in power since 1959, overwhelmingly dominates the political scene. Opposition parties actively participated in the May 7 parliamentary elections and the August 27 presidential election, which were generally free and fair; however, the PAP continued to benefit from procedural obstacles in the path of political opponents. Security forces reported to civilian authorities.
The government has broad powers to limit citizens’ rights. While the 2011 general and presidential elections generally were seen as open, free, and fair, the government benefitted from the use of legal restrictions that handicap the political opposition. The Internal Security Act (ISA) permits preventive detention without warrant, filing of charges, or normal judicial review; in recent years it has been used against alleged terrorists and was not used against persons in the political opposition.
The following human rights problems also were reported: mandated caning as an allowable punishment for some crimes, infringement of aspects of citizens’ privacy rights, restriction of speech and press freedom and the practice of self-censorship by journalists, restriction of freedoms of assembly and association, and some limited restriction of freedom of religion.
The government prosecutes officials who commit human rights abuses, although there were no instances of such prosecutions reported during the year. There were no reports of impunity involving the security forces during the year and therefore impunity did not appear to be a problem."
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is telling everybody who bothers to listen that it is unhappy that the US report “again includes the same gross inaccuracies and misrepresentations of the Singapore Government’s policies that we have rebutted in detail year after year”. They refer, of course, to the reminder about Singapore’s continued use of the Internal Security Act (ISA). If this upsets the politicians to no end, why don't they follow Malaysia's example of doing away with the archaic way of keeping Communists at bay? Instead of welcoming them en masse into the country under the guise of addressing the population growth rate. And while they are cleaning up their act, how about taking a look at the "procedural obstacles in the path of political opponents"? If the MFA wants a perfect report card, like the Asian student in Australia who bitched about 99.75 marks, they should start sweeping with a new broom. And stop waffling about it.