The PAP has shown once again its contempt for the views of the people and passed yet another law to undermine democracy in this country. The restrictions that it has imposed on the Opposition in receiving contributions through the Political Donations Act assure the PAP of even more control over Parliament.
But while the SDP agrees that political parties should not receive foreign funds, we are also against political parties using Government resources to conduct its activities. In this regard will the PAP categorically state whether it has conducted interviews of potential candidates at the Istana? The Istana being Government property and paid for by public funds should not be used as a venue to interview party candidates. The SDP asked this question in its previous press statement but this was edited out by the Straits Times.
The SDP also notes that the PAP has also not responded to its call for all ministers and MPs to declare their assets and incomes as well as those of their spouses. This is the practice in many democratic countries.
In the Act, the Government has also prohibited civil society organisations from receiving international funding. This prevents NGOs from effectively performing their roles as society's watchdogs as many of them work with international agencies and foundations on issues such as women's rights, environmental matters, civil liberties, etc.
The Political Donations Act may further tighten the PAP's grip on power. By doing so, however, it continues to deny the people of their say and has alienated the citizenry even more. How much longer it can keep this up is open to question. What is certain, is that it will have much to answer for when democracy comes to our nation.
Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party
(25 May 2000)