Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Is this a prelude to a more sinister move to clamp down on dissent?

Since the loss of Aljunied GRC in GE2011 and the subsequent by elections in Hougang SMC and Punggol East SMC, there has been panicky reaction among the discredited PAP leadership to the role of the social media in contributing to their election fiasco. Especially since the victory of the Workers' Party in the Punggol East by-election in January this year, there is very persistent public opinion, especially among the netizens, that the PAP Government may fall in a freak election or, if not, will lose more GRCs in GE2016. There has been strong indication that a perturbed PM Lee Hsien Loong and his equally distraught ministers are considering the foisting of a code-of-conduct on the social websites, aiming in particular at the anti-establishment websites. The comical Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim by virtue of his position became the public face of the Government to push this desperate move for a code-of-conduct for acceptance by the social media. But the politically-conscious bloggers saw through the Government's sinister motive in introducing this code and Minister Yaacob, unless he was dumb, could see that he was not able to get his idea accepted.

The PAP wallahs could not have abandoned their plan of circumscribing the social media because of the looming GE2016 for which they need time to counter the deleterious effect of the wide-spread anti-PAP propaganda on the internet. So it came as no surprise that they have now come up with this draconian Licence Scheme for New Websites which takes effect on  1at June. To pull a wool over the public's eyes, they presented ten news websites that will need the new licence. They include seven Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) sites, such as and Stomp and two by MediaCorp. Yahoo Singapore is the only site not run by either SPH or MediaCorp.

The most oppressive condition is the $50,000 performance bond for the licence. It is not oppressive to SPH, MediaCorp or Yahoo but will be oppressive if it is applied to ordinary websites like TR Emeritus and The Online Citizen. To say that the PAP leaders are "Old Crafty and Very Cunning" (老奸巨滑) is no exaggeration. They first introduced the Licensing Scheme ostensibly to deal with news websites like SPH and MediaCorp as a red herring to divert attention later on their real heinous intention to clamp down on the anti-establishment websites. PM Lee and his run-of-the mill ministers think that they can hoodwink discerning Singaporeans in this way and is an insult to their intelligence. They are taking a serious lesson from the prowess of the so-called Chinese tsunami (coined by Malaysian PM Najib Razak) in the Malaysian GE on 5th May and cannot afford to be caught with their pants down in facing a united Singapore Opposition in GE2016. The writing is already on the wall and whether the funky PAP leadership takes oppressive action against the pro-opposition websites, they should remember that the wheel of history only moves forward. Singaporean voters are a discernible lot and when the time arrives will cast their epoch-making votes in fulfilment of history.