The Prime Minister of Singapore has revealed his intentions to declare The Online Citizen as a political association.
According to an email sent to TOC at 5pm yesterday evening by the Prime Minister’s office, the Prime Minister “intends to declare the owners, editorial team, and administrators of The Online Citizen, by order in the Gazette, to be a political association for the purposes of the Political Donations Act. The owners, editorial team, and administrators of The Online Citizen have been determined to be an organization whose objects or activities relate wholly or mainly to politics in Singapore.”
This means that TOC is barred from receiving funds from foreign donors and letting foreigners take part in its events.
TOC has 14 days to reveal the identities of its owners, editorial team and administrators. TOC is also required to designate a President, Treasurer and Secretary of the association, and they will be responsible for the preparation and accuracy of the donations reports for The Online Citizen.
The last group to be gazetted is human rights advocacy NGO Maruah in November last year. Maruah is the fourth group -after the Open Singapore Centre, the Think Centre and Singaporeans For Democracy – to be gazetted as a political association.
If TOC complies, it will be the fifth. It will also be the first time bloggers are considered a political association.