Straits Times report, Sept 7, 2007

A MOVE by Young PAP (YP) to drop two outdoor events from its calendar has invited online talk that it was prompted by what happened to the Workers’ Party recently.

But that is not true, two PAP MPs, who are advisers to the YP, told The Straits Times yesterday.

Recently, the WP’s plan to hold a mass cycling event at East Coast Park to mark its 50th anniversary was scuppered after police rejected its permit application. Political parties are not allowed to hold outdoor activities.

Yesterday, Sembawang GRC MP Lim Wee Kiak said that while it is true that the YP had put up on its calendar a night cycling event on July 28, it was canned because of poor response from residents. Also, it was not actually organised by the YP.

The second YP event, a Children’s Day activity done in Amazing Race-style has been postponed for ‘practical reasons’, said Hong Kah GRC MP Zaqy Mohamed.

‘Our main concern was manpower, as we’d be too tied up with other YP events and dialogues taking place around that time,’ he said, adding that these dialogues were to discuss the latest CPF measures.

The rejection of a permit for the WP event was revealed in Parliament last month by Non-Constituency MP and WP chairman Sylvia Lim, who asked for a reason.

Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Ho Peng Kee replied that outdoor gatherings by parties are banned because they have the potential to cause public disturbance. The policy applies to all political parties.

This week, two bloggers pointed out that the Young PAP had listed the July 28 and Oct 1 outdoor activities on its website. And yesterday, one of them, Mr Brown, put up a posting to say that the events had been taken down.

But a ‘mix-up had occurred’, said Dr Lim, who takes care of Canberra ward.

The cycling activity had been organised by the Canberra ward’s youth executive committee, a grassroots group. But some of its members, who also belong to the YP, had posted it on the YP website.

‘There was some misunderstanding. I think some are not aware that political parties cannot organise outdoor activities without a permit,’ said Dr Lim.

The Amazing Race event in Hong Kah GRC, however, was organised by Young PAP members, said Mr Zaqy.

But he noted that the decision to postpone it came before last month’s Parliament sitting. The organising committee had not applied for a permit or sent out invitations.

It has also not decided when the event will be held, he said.

‘But the police decision sends a clear signal to us on where the boundaries are. I will leave it to the YP to decide how they want to proceed.’

*TOC’s Note:

The MPs’ explanation still do not answer the question – why is the YPAP allowed to conduct outdoor activities while other parties are not?

The MPs’ explanation also do not explain why in June 24, 2006, the SW YPAP branch could conduct a “Cyclethon”, if outdoor activities by all political parties are banned. (This is a seperate event from the Night Cycling and The Amazing Race which took place in 2007, which the 2 MPs addressed.)

See here for the screenshot of the “Cyclethon” listing on the YPAP website.

Was this “Cyclethon” also “canned”?

Also, if the YPAP knew that outdoor activities by all political parties are banned, which they must indeed know since the 2 MPs are advisers to them, then why did they still go ahead and organized them anyway?

Read also: Cycling Politics – Another Honest Mistake? By It’s A Long Long Time

“The Straits Times has been quick to report on 7th September 2007 what two MPs, advisers to the Young PAP, have said about a move by the Young PAP to delete two outdoor events from its calendar.”

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