Australian newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), has reported on the controversy over the issuance of tickets to a barbeque on Sunday organised by the Australian High Commission in Singapore.
The event, which would see 50 barbeques taking place all over Singapore to mark the bilateral ties between the two countries, and to celebrate Singapore’s 50th year of independence this year, was initially announced to be a non-ticketed event.
The controversy emerged after the “Australia in Singapore” Facebook page announced on the day of the event itself that now tickets would be required.
The organisers said on its Facebook page: “Many locations are ticketed by the People’s Association to ensure there’s enough food for all. But we’ve been told some spare coupons are set aside for those who just show up.”
This created a storm of protest from members of the public who were upset by the last-minute announcement.
It also emerged subsequently that the People’s Association (PA) had not made any public announcements of the issuance of the tickets.
This then led to accusations that the PA may have reserved them for its own members.
“A fantastic initiative undermined by the ruthlessly mechanical PA machine rejecting all non invitees,” one commenter on the Facebook page said.
The Online Citizen (TOC) reported it on Monday: “Did People’s Association reserve Aussie BBQ tickets for its own members only?”.
TOC has emailed the PA to ask for clarification but has yet to receive any response from the statutory board.
The SMH had also apparently approached both the Australian High Commission and the PAP for clarification but both have declined to provide any.
The event on Sunday coincided with the visit by Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbot, who was at the Bishan Park BBQ, together with his Singapore counterpart, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
PM Lee, incidentally, is also the chairman of PA.