Newly Elected Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Chairperson, Paul Tambyah, issues an official statement on behalf of the party condemning the recent crackdowns on civil society activists, such as the arrest of Seelan Palay for his art piece outside of Parliament, and the intimidation of activists and friends for participating in a candlelight vigil for death row inmate Prabagaran Srivijayan.
Noting that these are “regressive steps”, Tambyah also points out that the constitution allows for freedom of speech and assembly.
He adds, “A country can only progress when its citizens are engaged in debating fully and actively participating in matters that affect the lives and well-being of our people”, and urges the government to adhere to the constitution in defending the fundamental liberties of Singaporeans.
Below is the SDP’s statement in full:
The Singapore Democratic Party is disappointed with the regressive steps and punitive measures taken recently against Singapore citizens exercising their constitutional rights of freedom of speech and assembly.
In particular, we are disturbed by the police action against performance artist and activist Mr Seelan Palay as well as the crackdown on friends and activists attending the recent vigil for Prabagaran Srivijayan who was about to be hanged.
Our constitution is the highest law of our land and it guarantees our citizens freedom of speech and assembly as long as it is peaceful and does not harm any individual or community. A country can only progress when its citizens are engaged in debating fully and actively participating in matters that affect the lives and well-being of our people.
We call on the government will take steps to protect our constitution and fundamental rights of the people of Singapore.
Paul Ananth Tambyah
Singapore Democratic Party