According to 23 year-old Singapore activist Han Hui Hui, Malaysia is much more tolerant of dissent as compared to Singapore, even though K.L. recently denied entry to Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution activist Joshua Wong.
Han is in Malaysia to give talks on youth activism in Singapore in remembrance of the bloody PRC Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.
She says that Singapore does not allow any foreign speakers in for such talks.
“So speaking as a Singaporean, I feel Malaysia is still much better than Singapore because in Singapore, we are not allowed to invite foreigners to speak in the country unless they are going to praise the PAP government,” Han told Malay Mail Online in an interview.
She said that even though the Malaysian government had banned Wong, they still allowed her into Malaysia to continue giving her talk even though her event was not favorable to the Malaysian government
“In Singapore, even if you want to invite a Singaporean to speak, they want to know who it is before allowing the event,” Han said.
She attributed the banning of Wong from Malaysia to pressure from PRC China. “It simply means China is a big power here and we can’t deny that,” she said.
According to Malaysian police, Wong was described as an “undesirable” person and thus, the activist was expelled on Tuesday over concerns that the 18 year-old Wong could damage Malaysia-China relations.
Wong is regarded as one of the main drivers behind the 2014 mass protests in Hong Kong to demand the right to directly elect the head of Hong Kong SAR.
Han shared her experiences in organizing protests in Singapore during her talk, “Uprising of Youth and New Social Activism in Singapore and Hong Kong Forum” in Malaysia on Tuesday night. She hesitates to label her events as “protests” because she says protests in Singapore are illegal. Han has been organizing protests since 2013 over issues such as the Central Provident Fund (CPF), the education system and unemployment.
“I wouldn’t call what I held in Singapore ‘protests’ but ‘events’ because we have not had any protests in the past 50 years and it is illegal,” she said.
Han, along with five others, was arrested in September last year for organising an illegal protest over the CPF issue and charged with causing a public nuisance.
Han says that her talks in Penang, Ipoh, Johor and Kuala Lumpur this week are meant to encourage the younger generation, especially those born in the 1990s, to become activists.
“We can’t be allowing those born in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s to continue to plan policies. They can’t plan out an education system that will fit the times. Ultimately, it is the people who had went (sic) through the system now and will know whether it is good or bad,” she said.