Monday, 23 November, will mark another dark day for the respect of human rights in Singapore. Jolovan Wham will be charged in court under the Public Order Act for holding a placard depicting a smiley face in a public place. This charge exposes, once again, the authoritarian face of the Singapore system. It confirms that Singapore instead of “building back better”, is determined to silence voices that are different from the establishment. The Prime Minister had famously boasted in interviews before that there are no problems in Singapore because no one is protesting outside the Parliament. But his audience was not informed that no persons had succeeded ever in applying for a permit, even for a one person “assembly” under the Public Order Act. Currently, there is no space for anyone in Singapore to express freely. The Speakers Corner remains unavailable for use since the Circuit Breaker, while POFMA is used liberally against online postings since its enactment. Singapore deserves its bad reputation for suppression of expression but Singaporeans do not deserve to be deprived of their political rights. Think Centre hopes the day will come soon when more Singaporeans learn the truth of the system and demand to be treated better.

Another statement on the Prosecution of Jolovan Wham: