By Kumaran Pillai

Kumaran Pillai, the Chief Editor of The Online Citizen spoke to Dr. James Gomez over the recent announcement that Singaporeans For Democracy’s has moved to de-register as an ROS society and the launch of its report next week.


Dr. James Gomez
Why did Singaporeans For Democracy choose to de-register?

SFD’s membership chose to dissolve the society to draw attention to two sets of rules that hinder its work as a political association in Singapore. One set of laws pertain to the registration and the day-to-day operation of SFD. These laws are found in the Societies Act, Political Donations Act and Broadcasting Act. The other set of laws pertain to the operation of SFD’s program of activities. These laws are the, Films Act, Public Order Act and several others. The report entitled “Democracy and Civil Society in Singapore: The Politics of Control” will enumerate in detail how these have affected our work in the last two years. The upcoming report authored by Roderick Chia will be launched at 10am on 25 August 2012. The event is free, free copies of the report will be available then and all are welcome. See this link for event details:


What is involved in de-registering SFD?

Dissolving a society registered with the Registrar of Society involves the following steps. First, you need to hold a General Meeting of the membership to decide on the dissolution. SFD did this on 28 April 2012 and got the approval of its membership. Second, some forms need to be completed and a series of documents needs to be compiled such as minutes of the meeting and financial statements and these have to be submitted to ROS. SFD has now complied all the relevant documents and plans to submit these documents to the ROS in the next days. Third, once the ROS has validated these documents it will officially finalize the dissolution.


What will happen once SFD is officially “dissolved” by the Registrar of Societies?

While the SFD’s dissolution is being processed by ROS, we will update our website one last time to upload the SFD report “Democracy and Civil Society in Singapore: The Politics of Control” so that it is also available online. But once the dissolution is processed and finalized, SFD as a society under the ROS, will cease to exist and operate. However, SFD’s Facebook Page with its over 800 members will remain and continue to be a platform for the page members to continue posting and sharing information on civil society and politics in Singapore. We welcome, the phrase Singaporeans For Democracy to be appropriated by Singaporeans to continue their work on civil and political reform.


What will happen to SFD’s members?

Our members were already active in civil society when they came together to set up SFD. Even during their time with SFD our members were concurrently involved in other initiatives. As such it will be business as usual for our members as they continue their contributions in Singapore’s civil society landscape.


So what are your personal plans after SFD?

At the moment, I am busy supervising the completion of the SFD report and its release later next week. I will continue to contribute to civil society as there is still a lot of work to bedone, however the manner and approach of contribution I will decide after the launch and dissolution.


So what can we expect to see in the Report next week?

The report will chronicle the history of the first and second generation political associations and the evolution of civil society related laws in contemporary Singapore. It will contain never before published correspondences to the Internal Security Department and exchanges with the Elections Department. There will also be an analysis of local media coverage of SFD and a projection on the future of political associations in Singapore. There will also be a section on recommendations for legal reform to improve the functioning of civil society in Singapore.

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