Colors: Blue Color

Several stalwarts of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) have been at the High Court since earlier today as part of their appeal against the POFMA Corrections Direcions (CDs) issued by the MOM against several of its posts on Facebook.

SDP had argued for the matter to be heard in an open court, primarily because of their conviction that job security if of immense public interest. This appeal was rejected by the High Court judge earlier this morning.

Three reasons why case should be heard in open court:

1, The subject concerns job security - a matter Singaporeans are deeply worried about.
2. Continue to build trust in the system.
3. There is legal precedence.

Subsequently, Dr Chee Soon Juan requested the Deputy AG, Hri Kumar, to provide the relevant data on Singaporean PMET unemployment rate.

The SDP's assertion of the data is disputed by the MOM. Dr Chee rightly points out that the release of the data can definitively clarify the matter.

However, according to the update by the party, Hri Kumar will only deal with the issue when he presents the MOM's case.

One can't disagree with Dr Chee. If the assertions by the SDP were erroneous, it is the MOM's prerogative to use the data available to it to correct the "falsehoods".

There won't even be a need for this appeal hearing.

Now, this has piqued the interest of Singaporeans because people are also surprised why this has not been conclusively clarified.

W]hatever the outcome may be, this will leave a stain on the ruling party as they prepare for the elections. 

 

The Secretary-General of the People's Power Party (PPP), Goh Meng Seng, has expressed his "utter disappointment" with the latest statement made by the Dr Tan Cheng Bock's Progress Singapore Party.

 

He made it clear that PSP had provided an inaccurate context to the statement made by Alex Tan, and feels that the are trying to shift the blame to others.

It seems to insinuate member of the proposed alliance was the culprit who relay the comment to Main Stream media because Alex Tan made that comment in whatsapp group with members of the proposed alliance in it. He was just commenting "in jest".

That is really far from the truth. It wasn't some ghostly person who pass the comment to Main Stream Media aka ST but they read about his comment from TOC and maybe Independent SG as well.

Alex Tan has confirmed that he repeated that "jest comment" to editor of Terry Xu.

He then urged the PSP to preserve their integrity by admitting the mistake and apologising for it.

Goh has a valid point. A mistake has been made by Alex Tan. He undermined the leaders of his fellow opposition members. That can't be excused, whatever the context may be.

PSP has to demonstrate that it has the integrity required to be representatives of the people. With Dr Tan at the helm, this is not an impossible task. 

 

 

Alex Tan Tiong Hee, a founding member of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of Dr Tan Cheng Bock's Progress Singapore Party (PSP), has come under heavy criticism for his remark on some smaller opposition parties.

In the interview with The Online Citizen (TOC), Alex remarked that the parties in the proposed coalition - the People's Power Party (PPP), the Singaporeans First Party (SFP), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and the Reform Party (RP) - were led by "captains of sinking boats".

PSP has since released a statement contextualising the statement made by Alex Tan, and the party's position on the matter.

In the statement, PSP clarified that the Alex Tan had made the statement in jest during a casual group chat that also involved members of the proposed alliance. 

It however dissociated itself from Alex Tan's statements, highlighting that his views are not shared by the party and that it respects the commitment and contributions made by these opposition parties.

Alex Tan's position has been made untenable by this remark.

He has been central to the growth of the PSP and is, by many accounts, Dr Tan's PA and right-hand man.

Will he be asked to leakve the party or will he leave on his own accord? 

Whatever he chooses to do, it is not likely to have a major impact on PSP's advance towards the elections. It has made great strides forward and the potential loss of Alex Tan, no matter how valuable he was, will not derail the party's machinery.

Many Singaporean and opposition parties can no longer wait for the publication of the report by the Election Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC). 

Nevertheless, the Singapore People's Party (SPP), has adopted a contrarion viewpoint.

The SPP does not see any merit in speculating on the completion of the EBRC Report. It is not in the party's interest to speculate on matters that are beyond their control.

Instead, what it chooses to do is to focus its energy and resources on things that are within its control such as walking the ground to connect with residents.

However the party has a proposal that it feels can help to remove any speculation and uncertainties with regard to the election date.

Under this proposed 'Fixed Terms of Parliaments Act', the Prime Minister will not have any discretionary powers to decide the elections. The date of the elections will be set in stone and can only be changed with 75% votes in Parliament.

This is an interesting proposition. 

On one hand, under a system dominated by t]he PAP, this system will ensure a more level playing field for the opposition parties.

However, if an opposition party or coalition comes into power, the act could diminish any advantage that they may leverage over the PAP in other elections.

What do you think?

 
 

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) is at the forefront of the battle against the use of POFMA by the government. Now, despite busy preparing for the elections, it is taking the Manpower Minister, Josephine Teo, to the High Court with the hearing stated for 16 January 2020.

Teo and the Ministry had issued Correction Directions (CDs) to the SDP in relation to three Facebook posts by the party. SDP fundamentally disagrees with the CDs. While it complied with obligations under the CDs, they lodged an appeal for the cancellation of the CDs. This was ultimately rejected by the Ministry. According to the SDP, the rejection did not adequately address the points that it raised.

SDP has not hired any counsel. It will defend itself and is looking forward to grilling Teo in the courtroom folowing what it deems as an "abuse of law".

If her POFMA order succeeds, then the last holdout where important national issues are openly and robustly debated on the Internet in Singapore would be irreparably closed. 

The employment of Ministerial decree to accuse the opposition of stating falsehoods when the statements are in fact true cannot be condoned.

In a political debate, the application of facts and logical reason to persuade the public must not be sacrificed for the whims and opinions of Ministers.     

By her action, Ms Teo has plunged a dagger into the heart Singapore's political system already plagued by anti-democratic rules that keep the PAP entrenched in power.  

SDP leader, Dr Chee Soon Juan, opined that the PAP "must not be allowed to be the accuser, prosecutor and judge on any political matter, let alone one like the foreign-worker issue which has been the source of much frustration and anger among Singaporeans". He added that "if the ruling party gets away with using POFMA in such a slipshod and partisan manner, then every critic will be at its mercy".

This decision by the SDP to take Teo to court to defend the use of POFMA against the SDP is an important one.

Teo can no longer hide behind her Ministry. She has to stand up to scrutiny, in the court of law, to defend her use of POFMA.

Needless to say, this will be to the benefit of the opposition parties who may be undertain if POFMA will be used against them in the future, leading up to the elections.

It will also be monumental for Singaporeans who crave for more political liberty.

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) applied for the cancellation of the Corrections Directions (CDs) against it that was issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

According to Dr Chee Soon Juan, the Secretary-General for SDP, the application was unsuccessul. No satisfactory response was provided by MOM apart from stating that SDP's application "does not provide sufficient grounds for the cancellation of the CDs".

Apparently, the response from MOM also did not address SDP's reasons for the statements that it posted.

Dr Chee called out Josephine Teo, MOM Minister, for her lack of leadership on the matter, hiding behind the Ministry and called for POFMA to be held to higher standards.

Replying that the “Minister has therefore decided to refuse your Application” is not an answer, it is a cop-out.

The PAP hurls accusations against its opponents but refuses to substantiate its arguments with official data when rebutted. This is hardly the kind of leadership Singaporeans should expect or deserve. It is an unfortunate but very real comment about the calibre of the PAP’s 4G leaders.

Using the law to allege the SDP as posting “false statements of fact” and then refusing to back-up its allegation with data when challenged is clear demonstration of how far Singapore’s political standards have deteriorated.

POFMA, like this Government, should be held to higher standards.

The MOM’s non-answer leaves the SDP no choice but to pursue the matter in court. We will keep readers updated on developments.
#SDPNOW #TheWayForward

The Ministry must step-up. 

POFMA allows for the right of appeal. At the very least, should the appeal fail, as was the case with the SDP, then it is in the interest of the public to know and understand why the appeal was rejected. 

We are talking about fake news and false statements of fact.

If there was an error in conveying a fact, then the public has the right to be educated on the matter. The Ministry has the data, the statistics, and the facts. Surely it can do better than in detailing the resasons why that SDP's appeal did not merit a cancellation of the CDs.

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