In a parliamentary response to whether if Singapore students are allowed to interact with anti-government critics, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam confirmed that he will spy and “monitor” activists who pose as a “security risk”:
“However, should the activists become security risks, the Ministry of Home Affairs will monitor them.”
Education Minister also said in Parliament today (Oct 7), confirming that the Ministry of Education does not allow students to access reading materials that defies the ruling party PAP government:
“Academic freedom cannot be carte blanche for anyone to misuse an academic institution for political advocacy. Allowing for this would undermine the institution’s academic standards and public standing.”
The dictatorship did not explain into details what extent of “monitoring”, but the government have in the past used the police to look into individual’s private phone messages, internet browsing history, tailing a person in public and even monitoring a person’s home on 24 hours.
Minister Ong Ye Kung also declared that Singapore students can only study political figure from other countries, and not those from Singapore:
“Political dissent is certainly a legitimate topic of inquiry. It is valuable for students to critically examine both present-day issues as well as classic works by revolutionary figures such as Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Mao Zedong… (But) They should not work with speakers and instructors (in Singapore) who have been convicted of public order-related offences, or who are working with political advocacy groups funded by foreigners, or who openly show disloyalty to Singapore.”
The millionaire PAP minister then started singling out a few individuals to make his case:
“For instance, Mr Jolovan Wham and Mr Seelan Palay are both individuals who have previously been convicted of public order-related offences. Other invited speakers include freelance journalist Kirsten Han and historian Thum Ping Tjin. The duo, Mr Ong said, “receive significant foreign funding” for their website, New Naratif, a self-described movement for democracy and freedom of expression in South-east Asia. These individuals responsible for the programme are entitled to their views and feelings about Singapore.”
The Singapore dictatorship actively sues government critics for multiple false charges from defamation to accusing them of fabricating fake news. Online news site TOC editor Terry Xu, CPF writer Leong Sze Hian and the outspoken nephew of Lee Hsien Loong, Li Shengwu, are currently on the target board.