ST: S’pore’s “past reputation as a police state”?


I refer to the commentary “Oxley Road dispute: Time to reflect, and seek the common good” (Straits Times, Jun 17).

It states that “Yet, no doubt many will say that the fact that members of the Prime Minister’s own family fear that the organs of state might be improperly used against them is not insignificant, especially in view of the Singapore state’s past reputation as a police state.

In 2017, that reputation is receding, as citizens have more rights and feel more empowered, and as the Government also becomes more responsive and accountable. But that might be due to voluntary restraint by the executive.”

What are your thoughts on the above?

In this connection, the following organisations have issued recent statements (a selection out of numerous statements) in regards to arguably, Singapore’s “reputation as a police state” cited in the subject Straits Times commentary :-

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association” (Jun 16, 2016)

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) – “Conviction of three peaceful protestors condemned” (Feb 22, 2017)

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; and Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders – “To the Singapore Government vide the Ambassador of Singapore to the United nations” (Oct 30, 2015)

Amnesty International – “Conviction of activists must be overturned” (Feb 21, 2017)

Human Rights Watch – “World Report 2015 on Singapore

Frontlinedefenders: – “Human Rights Defender Han Hui Hui case file

It would appear from the above that the weight of world opinion seems to be contrary to the above in the commentary.

The discerning reader may like to read the above and make an informed judgement as to who or what makes more or less sense?

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), invited to speak more than 200 times in over 30 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Indonesia and Brunei. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.