The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has applied to the Police for a licence under the Public Entertainments and Meetings Act to organise a public forum on 13 Apr 2007 at the Sheraton Towers Hotel. The SDP separately applied to ICA for professional visit passes for several foreigners whom it had invited to speak at the forum.
2. The Police and ICA respectively have rejected the SDP’s applications for a permit to conduct this public forum and for professional visit passes for the foreign speakers on the ground of public interest. It is an offence to organise a public forum with foreign speakers without a permit1 . It is also an offence for foreigners without professional visit passes to be speakers at the forum.
3. Singapore's politics are reserved for Singaporeans. As visitors to our country, foreigners should not abuse their privilege by interfering in our domestic politics.
4. This is not the first time that the SDP has involved foreigners in Singapore’s domestic politics. In 2003, the SDP organised a conference with foreign funding, but failed to declare it as required under the Political Donations Act. The Act disallows political parties and associations from using foreign funding to champion their cause, and thus become beholden to foreign organisations. The Registrar of Political Donations inquired into the incident and Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan, Chairman Ling How Doong and Treasurer Abdul Rasheed of the SDP were subsequently warned by the Police. In 2005, the SDP brought in a foreign political activist, Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, to conduct a political workshop on how to instigate and agitate segments of local society to promote civil disobedience and subvert the laws of the country. Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan has since been banned from entering Singapore2 . Foreigners who abuse the privileges that Singapore accords to guests and visitors, and meddle in Singapore's domestic politics, are not welcome here.
5. Like all other political parties, the SDP is free to express its views and organise political activities in Singapore within the law. Indeed, the SDP has organised public meetings to enable Chee Soon Juan to expound his political views, including his criticism of the Singapore Government. The SDP can continue to organise such activities provided they do so lawfully.
MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS
12 April 2007
1Under the Public Entertainments and Meetings Act, Singaporean organisers of indoor public talks are exempted from applying for a permit if it is confined to Singaporean speakers. However, if the forum or talk involves foreign speakers, the organiser is required to obtain a permit.
2Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan had appealed to the authorities to be allowed entry into Singapore for social purposes. The Government replied to Yeshua that it is prepared to grant him visits provided he does not interfere in Singapore’s domestic politics. Yeshua then replied indicating his appreciation and that he intends to visit Singapore. The Government has not heard from him since.