Foreign dignitaries can be invited to our National Day celebrations, but only as observers: Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen

Foreign dignitaries can be invited to share the joy and pride during our National Day celebrations — but only as observers, said Defence Minister Mr Ng Eng Hen yesterday (6 Sep).

Mr Ng also wrote in his Facebook post that “the SAF [Singapore Armed Forces] pledge is to protect Singapore’s independence and sovereignty “with our lives”.

He also said that “the SAF will organise National Day celebrations only on August 9th”, adding that it must be ensured “that we can do so every year as Singaporeans, and not as any other nationality”.

Mr Ng’s Facebook post followed historian Dr Thum Ping Tjin’s Facebook post dated 31 Aug – a date that is also known to be Malaysia’s independence day – in which Dr Thum had wished “happy unofficial independence day to the people of Singapore!”.

Dr Thum’s remark was met with hostility by People Action Party Member of Parliament and member of the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods Mr Seah Kian Peng, who responded with a Facebook post of his own last Saturday:

In response to Mr Seah’s post and backlash from certain factions in Singapore, Dr Thum posted a Facebook post last Sunday, saying that “any notion that I am a traitor to my country is ridiculous and unfounded”, and that he also believes in engaging Singapore’s northern neighbour cordially and with “mutual respect”, particularly as “Malaysia is now a beacon of hope for democracy in Southeast Asia” under the new Pakatan Harapan government:

Dr Thum, alongside two other activists Ms Kirsten Han and Mr Jolovan Wham, have also written letters of complaint to Prime Minister and Secretary-General of PAP Mr Lee Hsien Loong and Chairman of the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods Mr Charles Chong.

“It is a huge stretch to suggest that wishing Singaporeans a ‘happy unofficial independence day’ is tantamount to expressing an opinion that Singapore is a part of Malaysia today,” argued the activists in their letter to Mr Lee.