By Teo Soh Lung
We have to admire the PAP government for its guts and audacity at presenting the Public Order (Additional Temporary Measures) Bill to parliament.
When I was reading the bill at midnight, I was amazed at how bold the PAP government is. Obviously the 2011 general election results have not dented its ego one bit or maybe, it was so dented that it has now become desperate, like the proverbial drowning man clutching the straw. Maintaining law and order is every government’s duty to perform. If to maintain this it has to deprive citizens of the enjoyment of alcohol and subject them to security searches, bear the loss of the value of their properties and livelihood, I say the PAP is not fit to govern.
The new law is intended to “make temporary provision for … Little India so as to continue to maintain public order in that area following the violence on 8th December 2013 in that area.” To ensure this, the government is taking drastic action against Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans both living within Little India and outside by depriving them of the enjoyment of alcohol and subjecting them to security searches and other inconveniences. And to carry out this task, it gives itself immunity from prosecution and claims for damages with this clause: “No liability shall be incurred by the Government because of the enactment of this Act or for anything which is done or intended to be done in good faith and with reasonable care, in the exercise or purported exercise of any power, or the performance or purported performance of any function or duty, under this Act.” (Section 19(3)).
What kind of government do we have? To solve a non-existent problem, (I say non-existent because Little India like any other part of Singapore is calm and peaceful and will remain so if our Ministry of Home Affairs does its work conscientiously and intelligently), the government creates a problem for its citizens and non-citizens by restricting the food they consume, depriving them of their livelihood by prohibiting the sale of alcohol even though they may already have the legal licence to conduct such sale and subjecting them to “security searches” 24 hours a day for 12 months. Common sense will lead anyone to conclude that it is better the government leave Little India alone.
I view this impending new law with alarm. It gives the green light for the government to micro manage our lives and to do anything it desires at our expense. If this bill is passed it will pave the way for more draconian laws and regulations. It will turn Singapore into a world class police state, if it has not already achieved that status.
This letter was first posted as a facebook status on Teo Soh Lung’s page.