We refer to Dr Yaacob Ibrahim’s statement today as reported in Today online, which attempted to downplay the effect of the new online Licensing Regime.
Dr Yaacob has unfortunately chosen to characterize the genuine concerns raised by ordinary Singaporeans as “farfetched” claims.
Dr Yaacob also fails to make any apology or provide any explanation for why his Ministry chose to bypass Parliament and the public in introducing the sweeping Licensing Regime.
It is thus unacceptable for Dr Yaacob to expect the Singaporean public to adopt the “wait and see” approach he urges, and dismiss legitimate concerns as scare-mongering.
The burden is on the government to consult the public and Parliament before making sweeping changes that impact our constitutional freedoms.
It is incorrect for Dr Yaacob to turn the tables on the people of Singapore by placing the burden on them to prove that this piece of legislation will be mis-applied.
By this same logic, the Government can ram through a population White Paper in the future, dismiss the concerns of the public as scare-mongering, and then place the burden on us to prove them incorrect.
Trust is a two-way street: our Government cannot expect to bypass our views and dismiss our concerns with impunity.
The Licensing Regime and the manner it was gazetted into law sends the unfortunate signal that our Government does not trust Singaporeans to make up our minds about the accuracy of the information we consume.
This approach to policy-making is unjustifiable, and highlights the importance of Singaporeans’ participation at Hong Lim Park on 8 June 2013 at 4 – 7 p.m.
We call on all Singaporeans to send a clear signal that our voices should not be bypassed and ignored.[divide]
This response has been sent to Today Voices on 4 June. We look forward to Today publishing the right thing.