A member of the public, Gabriel Cheng Kian Tiong, wrote to ST Forum today (16 Jul) questioning People’s Association on why a facility of community club was used by foreigners to further their political causes.
“A community club is basically a place for citizen-oriented activities and the fact that Myanmar nationals used it for their political causes in this instance is an abuse of trust,” Mr Cheng noted.
“What is more, they also held a gathering at a community club hall here to celebrate an event that led to the promotion of violent acts against a foreign government.”
Mr Cheng was referring to the recent arrest of several Myanmar nationals for using Singapore to mobilize support of their Arakan Army in Myanmar (‘Group of Myanmar nationals deported, more details surface‘, July 12). In particular, the foreigners had used the hall of a community club for this purpose. Mr Cheng finds this to be “disturbing”.
Mr Cheng also noted, “Foreigners may also rent function rooms in hotels or commercial buildings to propagate their political ideas. Government agencies should work closely with stakeholders such as building owners to ensure their facilities are rented out for legitimate purposes.”
“If not, some may unwittingly be accomplices to causes that are damaging to their public image,” he said.
Mr Cheng then raised a few questions in his letter to ST Forum:
- What checks do community club staff do when foreign nationals want to use the club hall for their activities?
- Are there measures to ensure that users state clearly the activities to be carried out at the event?
- Are any penalties imposed if what is stated is different from what is carried out?
In Singapore, all community clubs come under the purview of People’s Association, a government statutory board chaired by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his deputy Chan Chun Sing.