Published: 21 October 2016
1. The Government established the Speakers' Corner in 2000 as a space for Singaporeans to express their views on issues that concern them. The Government's position has always been that foreign entities should not interfere in our domestic issues, especially those of a political or controversial nature. Thus, only Singapore citizens have been exempted from applying for permits to engage in public speaking and organise demonstrations at the Speakers' Corner subject to conditions under the Public Order (Unrestricted Area) Order 2016. Foreigners will need a permit if they organise or participate in an event at the Speakers' Corner, subject to assessment.
2. MHA will be introducing amendments to the Public Order (Unrestricted Area) Order 2016, which will come into effect on 1 November 2016. The amendments reinforce the key principle that the Speakers' Corner was set up primarily for Singaporeans.
Key Changes to the Public Order (Unrestricted Area) Order 2016
3. The existing exemptions for Singapore citizens will now be extended to Singapore entities subject to the conditions in the Order. Singapore entities, such as local companies and non-governmental organisations, can organise or assist in the organising of an event, e.g. by sponsoring, publicly promoting the event or organising its members or employees to participate in the event, without the need for a permit. Conversely, non-Singapore entities will need a permit if they want to engage in such activities relating to a Speakers' Corner event.
A "Singapore entity" includes entities which are incorporated or registered in Singapore and controlled by a majority of Singapore citizens. For example, in the case of a company, it must be incorporated under the Companies Act in Singapore, the majority of its directors must be Singapore citizens and the majority of its ownership must be held by Singapore citizens or one or more Singapore entities.
4. The conditions applicable to public speaking at the Speakers' Corner will be extended to include speaking through remote means, e.g. via tele-conferencing or pre-recorded messages. Events with Singapore citizens engaging in public speaking through such means will continue to be exempted from the need to apply for permits.
5. The rules for exempted indoor assemblies under the Public Order (Exempted Assemblies and Processions) Order 2009 will be amended to be consistent with the revised rules for exempt events at the Speakers' Corner.