Shutting down dissent is not partnering citizens in policymaking

While there are a lot of talks about government engaging Citizens in their feedback channels, there is also little proof that it is working.

I know many friends who will agree that “black face” is something that is not acceptable today, and when you point it out in a mock video to mock at the ad, it creates a lot of awareness and immediately gets into trouble with the government.

When Sonny Liew published a comic about Singapore in his opinions in a graphic novel, because the topics were a little sensitive, his funding was cut althogh the comic book went on to win multiple awards.

When Soi Rui Yung gave his feedback about the experience, he is now banned from joining the SEA games contigent even though he is the fastest Marathon runner in Singapore.

When Roy Ngerng, a blogger, talked about the CPF and other economic policies, he lost his job and got into trouble.

When Amos Yee, a 16 year old kid at that time talked about Lee Kuan Yew, everything was thrown at him, and he was even sent to IMH.

When Jolovan Wham… The long lists goes on… and Singapore still has a draconic ISA that is and can be used to arrest people without trail, where many outspoken individual had experienced it in Operation Spectrum and Operation Coldstore.

Singapore wants creativity, innovation and the “Youths to Speak up”, but if it is about topic which they don’t agree, once it gets too much attention, the state organs will be used to clamp down free speech.

Singapore’s press ranking is already at 151, and the online media space is highly regulated and many were forced to close.

Heng Swee Keat said that adversarial political system won’t be good for Singapore, but time and again, we see policies pass through in parliament may not be the wishes of the majority of the people — like allowing casinos to operate in Singapore, or the 6.9 million population white paper…

Singapore is supposed to be a democratic country and yet no one knows when the General Election is going to be held, and which constituency they will be voting in as the boundary lines change with each election, and worse of all, Singaporea has a racial system that puts token candidates into parliament and creates barriers for opposition called — the GRC. The PA which is supposed to be government run and neutral has PAP MPs (or ex-MPs) as advisors and has a billion dollar budget, where the opposition parties keep having their permits denied and venues cancelled on them.

With a country with many educated people, why can’t they think critically and engage in conversations about civil society, meritocracy, race or religion?

Why do we have a speaker’s corner that is highly regulated?

How can you have creativity and innovation if there is such a fear to speak up and OB boundaries is constantly shifting and some laws are ambiguous and laws like POFMA clearly favors a certain group of people and they can choose who they apply it on?

— Robin Low

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