General Election 2020: Academic Insights

30 June 2020

As we head towards the end of Nomination Day here in Singapore, we thought to share with our readers an excellent email resource provided by AcademiaSG.

Please visit this link to access AcademiaSG’s latest email (30 June) which provides more academic views and articles for you to read on Singapore’s elections.

Foreword by AcademiaSG’s editors

Singapore’s General Election on 10 July may have a broadly predictable outcome, but the way the campaign plays out as well as the final tallies will generate endless conversations — and months if not years of academic analysis. This newsletter, going out on Nomination Day, is dedicated to GE2020. We are especially happy to present 20 for 20: A GE Reading List of twenty book chapters and journal articles offering in-depth looks at Singapore’s political system, its political parties, and past voting behaviour. Some are new publications, examining Singapore’s democratic backsliding since GE2015, and the 4th Generation leadership, for example. Others are older but still highly relevant – like a 2011 article on why election rallies (banned this year) have been such a special part of Singapore’s elections. We are delighted that their authors and publishers have made them available for free download, in support of Academia.SG’s mission to bring scholarly research into the public sphere.
– Chong Ja Ian, Cherian George, Linda Lim & Teo You Yenn

Please click here to subscribe to AcademiaSG’s mailing list.


Chairman’s Statement of the 36th ASEAN Summit

30 June 2020

Repost – https://asean.org/chairmans-statement-36th-asean-summit-26-june-2020-cohesive-responsive-asean/

1. We, the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member States, gathered for the 36th ASEAN Summit on 26 June 2020. Under the theme of Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN in 2020, we underscored the need to enhance ASEAN’s unity, cooperation and solidarity, economic integration, ASEAN awareness and identity, and emphasized the importance of promoting ASEAN pro-activeness and capacity in seizing opportunities as well as in addressing the challenges brought about by rapid changes in the regional and global landscape.

Download the full statement here.


Pink Dot 2020 – MARUAH joins all LBGTQA persons to ask for a repeal of S377A

26 June 2020

Join us for Pink Dot 12!

24 June 2020

Sharing an email in support of our friends at Pink Dot

Hi friends, 

Hope everyone is keeping well in these final days of Phase 1. Pink Dot 12 is just over a week away! I wanted to drop a quick reminder that there are 3 ways you can participate this year:

1) Light up

This June, turn your homes pink to show a visible sign of solidarity and support for your LGBTQ+ neighbours, who may not be able to light up their own homes. Unfortunately our pink lights are out of stock but you can still order them on Shopee (estimated 1 week delivery) or get creative! Wrapping fairy lights in pink plastic bags does the trick very nicely!

2) Sign up

This year, our formation is going digital! Be part of our first ever digital Pink Dot formation by checking-in online at loveliveshere.pinkdot.sg and leaving a personal message of support.

3) Show up

Join our special livestream event to celebrate Pink Dot 12 with an exciting line-up of performances and video premieres. Head to pinkdot.sg to tune in and chat with fellow viewers at 8pm on the 27th of June. Our digital formation will be unveiled at the end of the program.
You can also get in the mood by posting one of our Instagram filters created by some very talented community contributors. Please help spread the word through your networks and we look forward to you joining us for our livestream on the 27th! :)


Happy pride month everyone!


APHR: “Singapore election: neither free nor fair, new report says” – 18 June 2020

19 June 2020

ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) released a report “In Singapore, an Already Unfair Vote Undermined by COVID-19” on Thursday, 18 June 2020.

This report documents structural flaws that potentially prevent elections from being free and fair in Singapore. On page 22 of the report, APHR also makes certain recommendations to safeguard Singaporeans’ right to a free and fair election. These include:

  • Give significantly longer notice for election dates and more campaigning time to ensure an equal electoral competition and for voters to make their opinions;
  • Replacing the GRC system with one that ensures better respect for the principle of “one person, one vote”;
  • Immediately amend or repeal all laws that restrict the rights to freedom of expression, and peaceful assembly in Singapore; and
  • Delay the general election unless additional measures are taken to: ensure all eligible voters are able to vote, including the sick and those abroad; and ensure that opposition parties are able to campaign on an equal footing with PAP.

For more information on APHR’s findings and recommendations, please visit https://aseanmp.org/2020/06/18/singapore-report-statement/ and https://aseanmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/APHR_Briefer_SingaporeElections_2020-06-16-1.pdf.


2019 Report on International Religious Freedom from the US Department of State

12 June 2020

The annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom – the International Religious Freedom Report – describes the status of religious freedom in every country. The report covers government policies violating religious belief and practices of groups, religious denominations and individuals, and U.S. policies to promote religious freedom around the world. The U.S. Department of State submits the reports in accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

For the Singapore report, please visit 2019 Report on International Religious Freedom: Singapore.


We stand #InSolidarity for Civic Space

8 June 2020

#InSolidarity – Appeal for smiley images from Singaporeans

3 June 2020

As you are probably aware, Singapore civil and migrant workers’ rights activist Jolovan Wham is being investigated for holding up a placard with a smiley ☺ in a public space outside a police station. He was alone. You can read details of this on his Twitter account at https://twitter.com/jolovanwham/status/1263022005223165957

Several people have also expressed their support for a more open and accessible civic space by posting images of themselves with a smiley on their personal social media accounts. Others have also sent Jolovan Wham their own smiley photos for his Facebook page (https://m.facebook.com/jolovan.wham).

MARUAH, as a human rights organisation, states again that amendments to the Public Order Act (2017) mean further restrictions, crippling civic space. Human Rights Watch, in 2017, stated that Singapore’s definition of “public assembly” in the Public Order Act is extremely broad, which means that it can be interpreted to encompass everything from handing out leaflets on the death penalty to an individual standing silently holding a placard. (https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/12/12/kill-chicken-scare-monkeys/suppression-free-expression-and-assembly-singapore).

We would like to invite members and friends of MARUAH Singapore to show your support for civic space by submitting a photo of yourself with a smiley face. 

Here are two samples:

Smiley - sample 1
Smiley - sample 2

MARUAH Singapore will collate the photos into a Zoom-style layout with the following message – 

We support smileys and individuals’ peaceful voices in public.

#InSolidarity for Civic Space
#InSolidarity Against the Public Order Act(2017)

Please submit your images to maruahsg@gmail.com by Friday, 5 June 5.00pm. Do let us know if you need any further information.

Thanking you #InSolidarity, 

MARUAH Singapore


Letter to the Straits Times on 29 April 2020: “Seeking Official Clarity”

11 May 2020

MARUAH submitted the following letter to the Forum Page of the Straits Times on 29 April 2020 in response to reports of Members of Parliament doing walkabouts in Channel News Asia. It has yet to be published.

I refer to reports of Members of Parliament doing walkabouts in Channel News Asia (MP Seah Kian Peng explains visit to market after Facebook post on ‘playing role of safe distancing ambassador’; 27th April) and The Straits Times (MP Chia Shi-Lu responds to criticism of Sunday walkabout; 14th April).

The MPs, from Marine Parade GRC and Tanjong Pagar GRC, were reported as saying that they were doing their walkabout to find out how people were coping and to encourage compliance to orders under the Circuit Breaker which was ordered on April 3rd and went into effect on April 8th. New laws – the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 and The Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020 – were put into place to give clarity on measures, on enforcements and on penalties. The PAP suspended the Meet-the-People’s sessions between MPs and residents on April 13th. These measures were also introduced at various stages by the multi-task force dealing with containment of Covid-19 infections and treatment of cases. Much education on safety and prevention had also been taking place, frequently, by staff, volunteers and the media.

By the laws enacted MPs’ work are not listed as essential service providers (https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg/essentialservices/). These are provided for by front liners, healthcare workers on the ground, civil service officers, counsellors and support officers from various sectors and communities. There is also a website on legal and assistance measures for affected persons, during this challenging time (https://www.mlaw.gov.sg/news/press-releases/2020-04-20-covid-19-temporary-measures-act-provisions-relating-to-temporary-reliefs-to-commence-on-20-april-2020).
As such, one is hard-pushed to appreciate this extra support from the MPs at this time, putting at risk the containment efforts and themselves in flouting the Covid-19( Temporary Measures) Act 2020. Various members of the public and migrant workers who had been caught flouting this law, have been arrested, charged and most have been fined or errant migrant workers had work passes, revoked. Others , who posted on social media their activities that showed them breaking the law, were investigated and where appropriate, charged.

It is heartening, that yesterday ( April 28th) in Malaysia, two political leaders – the Deputy Health Minister and Perak’s executive council member – were both fined RM1,000 for violating Rule 6(1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases ( Measures Within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020 under Malaysia’s Movement Control Order that began on March 18th. They had said earlier, they were visiting a health clinic to check on Covid-19 preparations in the area, had adjourned for prayers and later a meal. The politicians, who apologised, and their supporters were charged as their services were not essential.

No one is baying for blood here. But there cannot be a silence. There has been no clarification or course of action from the Ministry of Law, Ministry of Home Affairs, The Attorney-General’s Office or the Prime Minister’s Office. If a wrong has been done, the law applies equally, to anyone and everyone. And if there is no wrong done, the explanations given by the MPs – as it has been with others who were arrested and charged – must either be officially accepted or rejected.

Braema Mathi
Secretary, MARUAH


Statement on Recommendations to Improve the Status and Well Being of Migrant Workers in Singapore

6 May 2020

Dear all,

Last week, you were invited to a Labour Day webinar which was held to discuss Migrant Workers and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following the webinar, a statement of recommendations from the discussions has been produced. Please click on link below to view this statement.

Statement on Recommendations to Improve the Status and Well Being of Migrant Workers in Singapore 6 May 2020

Prior to sharing this document with you, we have sent it to PM Lee and Ministers in the task force.

This document is being shared with you in your various capacities of interest on Covid-19 and Migrant Workers.

We hope that this document will bring more attention to the challenges of  migrant workers and how we as Singaporeans and as a nation can do our part in mitigating the impact on their community.

MARUAH