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Government has no obligation to provide Workers' Party with information for robust debate

the following is a media release by National Solidarity Party:


In the last election, Singaporeans have demonstrated a keen desire for a more balanced political landscape, a wider range of views and more robust debates in Parliament.

One important ingredient however remains missing for us to achieve the level of scrutiny and debate desired by Singaporeans - the Freedom of Information Act.

It is necessary for opposition parties to have equal access to all information pertinent to the formulation of public policies and laws, unless there are overriding reasons for withholding information, for example where national security may be threatened.  Armed with accurate information, different political parties would then be better equipped to scrutinise each other and hold each other to higher standards.  This will ultimately benefit Singaporeans.

The PAP chided WP for not submitting their proposal to the Review Committee on Ministerial Salaries, seeking to further tilt the unequal balance of information in their favour.  If WP is obliged to open their books, but there is no obligation on the part of the Government to provide WP with relevant information they require, no robust debate will ever be possible in Parliament.  If withholding proposals from the Review Committee is considered a political manoeuvre, then the denial of a Freedom of Information Act is a political manoeuvre on a much grander scale.

Singapore has made some headway in getting a more diverse representation into Parliament.  However, without equal access to information, debates in Parliament will be stifled.  Accurate and accessible information is crucial to developing a Parliament with thought-provoking debates.

Hazel Poa

Secretary-General

National Solidarity Party