Singapore — Opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) leader Chee Soon Juan published a Facebook post on Friday (Jan 15) about the TraceTogether saga that has caught the attention of many people and that has hogged the headlines since Monday (Jan 4).
The TraceTogether saga is another sad – and frightening – chapter of our political history.
On that day, Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan had told Parliament that the police had the power under the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) to obtain TraceTogether data for criminal investigations.
This surprised and shocked many people and led to Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, to state the next day, also in Parliament, that he had not considered the CPC when he had spoken in the past about TraceTogether’s privacy safeguards.
In a lengthy post, Dr Chee has called the saga another sad — and frightening — chapter of the country’s political history.
He explains why the issue matters — to the Singaporean and to the Singaporean’s family.
Dr Chee says “the use of TT other than exclusively for Covid-19 matters, the constriction of online space, the throttling of even the most benign of political dissent, the employment of defamation laws, the castigation of academics, just to cite a few examples, cast a long and pernicious shadow on the Singaporeans’ psyche”.
He adds that “when people know they are being watched and sanctioned, self-censorship becomes the norm. It becomes baked into society’s culture”.
Dr Chee says that “when our society was young, we were talked to like children. But as society grows up, we must discard our childish ways of thinking and behave in a manner befitting an intelligent and mature people”.
He adds that “the sooner we realise that this autocratic system robs us of our future, the sooner we can start building a quality life for our nation, our loved ones and ourselves”.
“If society is going to imagine a vibrant future, if our younger generations are going to be among the leaders of the world, and if our citizens aspire to live fulfilled lives, then we need to embark on the urgent road of reform.”
Dr Chee says that a good and necessary start is by pushing back against the TT U-turns, the Pofmas, the criminalisation of political action — that is, standing up to the autocrats. And that more, much more, needs to be done.
The online community has responded to his remarks with many comments of support on his post.
Denise Teh is an editorial intern at The Independent SG. /TISG
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