Singapore tightens laws ahead of APEC summit
Recession-hit Singapore takes hard line on protests
SINGAPORE (AFP) — Singapore is tightening its rules on outdoor protests as the city state prepares to host its largest international summit amid its worst recession yet, analysts say.
The Ministry of Home Affairs tabled a proposed law in parliament Monday to strengthen police powers against illegal protests and other acts of civil disobedience.
Singapore became the first Asian country to fall into recession in the current global crisis, and the government projects that the economy will contract by up to five percent this year, the worst performance since independence in 1965.
The authorities are preparing for any eventuality “in case the social friction boils over as a result of the economic crisis into demonstrations,” veteran political commentator Seah Chiang Nee told AFP.
Singapore looks to tighten laws ahead of the summit. Now, despite what some may think, large-scale demonstrations usually arise as a consequence of bread-and-butter issues, rather than political and human rights. The street demonstrations in Burma back in 2007 started when the ruling military junta removed fuel subsidies in the wake of a global spike in the price of oil. People in some districts saw the price of fuel jump as high as 500% after that. Only after that trigger point did it develop into a various protests calling for an apology from the Burmese generals for beating up Burmese monks and democracy.
But as the article has noted, we’re unlikely to see large-scale demonstrations on the streets of Singapore. We never know when that day might come.