Gazetting of TOC not politically motivated says Law Minister, K. Shanmugam: No, Minister!
Few would believe the government’s assertion that it was not a politically motivated decision to gazette The Online Citizen (TOC). Believing in its own story is evidence that it’s out of touch with reality.
The ruling party has a record of over the top reaction to the activities of the opposition so this latest action is CONSISTENT with its character. The motive is clear for all to see : to clip the wings of the opposition and thereby render it as weak as possible.
But its action may backfire as more people become convinced that the government is not interested in “building a democratic society” ( as enshrined in the National Pledge).
Apart from this, those who followed the tumultuous 18 days of the Egyptian unrest learned how the protestors were able to overcome the government Internet restrictions which were intended to cripple their means of communication.
Other TOC clones can easily mushroom on the Internet.
By littering the political field with all sorts of obstacles for the opposition, the ruling party very clearly shows that it is fearful of competition. Its protestations to the contrary is an indication that it’s in denial.
As the Egyptian revolution has demonstrated unequivocally to the whole world, strong democratic institutions are crucial in any smooth transition of power.
The ruling party’s track record in this direction leaves much to be desired.
If it wishes to have an honorable mention in history, the ruling party should re-examine its pledge to build a democratic society.
Only a truly democratic society with strong democratic institutions can be bulwarks against a future dictatorship. To its credit,the government had established safeguards against a future rogue government raiding our national reserves, which belong to all citizens, but a dictator will need no lessons on how to dismantle them.
The ruling party, the PAP, should seize the opportunity to pursue this noble aim of building a strong democracy and leave a legacy of being a truly great government.
The alternative is to be consigned to the dustbin of history as just another ordinary party.
Some quarters within the ruling party have the habit of speaking disparagingly of democracy, dismissing it as unsuitable for our so- called unique society.
Then it’s a mystery why the pro-democracy tsunami is relentlessly sweeping across North Africa, the Middle East and Iran.