I refer to the article “Buzzfeed, here’s the deal on speech laws in Singapore” (Straits Times, Sep 3).

It states that “That’s why we have laws that stop people from using speech to stir the pot, for personal ambition, for a sincere cause, or for kicks, or because whatever.

The thing to remember, Buzzfeed, is that speech laws here cut both ways: The religious conservative right, as well as lefty Internet atheists like Yee, are equally constrained. The law doesn’t care why a punch was thrown; all it cares about is that it was thrown, and someone was hit.

Buzzfeed, I get that you are left-leaning, and present a level-headed alternative to right-wing sites, so I guess it’s in your DNA that when you think “Singapore”, your fingers reflexively spell “draconian”, as if the ghost of George Orwell rushed into you and pushed you onto the battlements to defend freedom against the armies of darkness.”

Our “speech laws” or rather, arguably the laws that may curtail the freedom of expression, may be the most restrictive in the world.

For example:

… cannot write about race, religion or nationalities or different classes of people?
– “(e) to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore” (Sedition Act)

…  “Seditious tendency 3.—(1)  A seditious tendency is a tendency —

(ato bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the Government
– “(2)  Notwithstanding subsection (1), any act, speech, words, publication or other things shall not be deemed to be seditious by reason only that it has a tendency — (a) to show that the Government has been misled or mistaken in any of its measures” (Sedition Act)

… cannot write about an on going court case or police investigation? (Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill)
… cannot write about anything that may be deemed as harassment? (Protection from Harassment Act)
… cannot write about anything that may be deemed as defamatory? (Defamation Act)
… may not write about or use Lee Kuan Yew’s name or image or likeness in such a way as may be construed as “(not) accorded dignity and respect” (Guidelines of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY))
… cannot write about anything that may be construed as in some way, be related to “any evidence given, or any documents presented to the (Select) committee (of Parliament), or extracts“?
Leong Sze Hian
A.S.S. Contributor

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