Think Centre’s tribute to Fong Swee Suan

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Posted by Think Centre under Breaking News on 7 February 2017

A pioneering leader in our struggle for independence against British rule, he was a leader of the Barisan Socialis, co-founder of the People’s Action Party, and an ardent trade unionist. Mr Fong Swee Suan left his mark on the early struggles for Singapore’s political freedom, self-determination and fight for the common workers’ dignity.

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Singapore, Vote for UN Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty

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Posted by Think Centre under Policy Watch, Statement on 16 December 2016

Singapore laws, especially on the death penalty, are rooted in our colonial history, which the colonial masters used to reign in, control and exploit a disunited colony of immigrants. Such archaic colonial practices and attitudes should be reviewed and removed from the penal code. If Singapore wants to play the cautious conservative on the issue of enacting a moratorium, which is a clear commitment in recognising the sanctity of human life, it can abstain and watch as it falls behind in moral authority among its peers. The Think Centre, however, urges the Singapore government to rise up to the moral challenge and vote for the resolution on moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

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Local and International groups express solidarity for the families of executed prisoners in Singapore

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Posted by Think Centre under Human Rights Watch, Policy Watch, Statement on 26 November 2016

We, the undersigned organisations, condemn the shameful execution of a Nigerian national, Chijioke Stephen Obioha, and a Malaysian national, Devendran a/l Supramaniam in Singapore on 18 November 2016, which runs counter to global trends towards abolition of capital punishment. We remain appalled that Singapore continues to execute people in contravention of international law and standards. We would like to express our regret and share in the disappointment of the families of the executed men. We oppose the use of capital punishment in all circumstances, as a violation of human rights which can never be justified under the flawed assumption that it has a unique deterrent effect.

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Singapore: New Contempt of Court Law Further Curtails Limited Freedom of Expression

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Posted by Think Centre under Policy Watch, Statement on 22 August 2016

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) and its Singaporean member, Think Centre, condemn the passage of the Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill by the Singaporean Parliament on Monday 15 August. It further restricts the limited right to freedom of expression and press freedom in the country. The new Law deems contempt of court a criminal offence punishable by disproportionate penalties and provides a vague and broad definition of contempt including prejudicing court matters, disobeying court orders, and scandalising the courts. “The Law can be used to silence citizens, civil society, and human rights organisations from voicing their opinions over any judicial process. Speaking out on judicial errors as part of exercising the right to freedom of expression is essential to exposing injustice,” says Mukunda Kattel, Director of FORUM-ASIA. “Given the tremendously difficult situation in Singapore regarding freedom of expression, the new Law can only be seen as another attempt by the Government to restrict the work of civil society,” adds Samydorai Sinapan, Director of ASEAN Affairs, Think Centre.

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Oral Statement Delivered On behalf of (FORUM-ASIA) at the 24th June 2016 Universal Periodic Review plenary on Singapore

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Posted by Think Centre under Statement on 24 July 2016

We are alarmed that Singapore has rejected nearly half of the 236 recommendations it received. This sets a negative precedence regionally and globally for the UPR process and is a disturbing indication of the country’s unwillingness to cooperate with international human rights processes.

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Oral Statement Delivered by Think Centre President Adrian Heok on Singapore's UPR report at the 32nd Session of Human Rights Council

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Posted by Think Centre under Statement on 24 July 2016

Without an independent way of verifying the government’s claims about compliance, it is critical that a national human rights institution be established immediately in accordance with the Paris Principles. Prolonged detentions without judicial review under the Internal Security Act and the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act continue with no transparency over the numbers being detained. Executions often take place without adequate warning given to the prisoners or their families. We regret that the government rejected the 25 recommendations that called for the abolition of the death penalty and corporal punishment.

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Every Voice Makes Us Stronger. Speak Up Against the Death Penalty!

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Posted by Think Centre under on 28 May 2016

Often those against the death penalty may not speak up. We may not believe one voice can make a difference. But if each one of us speaks up, our collective voice gets louder and stronger against the death penalty - and the death penalty can be abolished.

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Capital Punishment: Singapore’s blatant disregard for the right to life

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Posted by Think Centre under Breaking News, Human Rights Watch, Policy Watch on 20 May 2016

The family of Kho Jabing is in anguish as they are forced to confront his death after his conviction for unintentional murder was upheld and appeals quashed. The same Apex court of 5 judges dismissed Kho Jabing appeal against his death penalty today. Think Centre strongly deplores the imminent execution of Kho Jabing today. Although amendments were made to the death penalty regime in 2012, the Government of Singapore continues its defence of the death penalty at both the national and international arena. Singapore's amended death penalty regime is deeply flawed through its failure to apply the minimum threshold required under international law. Many international law experts, academics, and human rights groups have repeatedly expressed concern that Singapore's justification for the deterrent value of the death penalty is without substance. The Government has consistently failed to produce any verifiable or credible empirical evidence in support of its position. Stripped bare of all cleverly worded language, what is left exposed, is a simple emotional appeal for retribution that serves no one's benefit except to demonstrate the overwhelming and unbearable power of the State to determine one's life and death. What is ironic is that the implementation of capital punishment is in itself, through the extensive involvement of august institutions of the Executive, Legislative and the Judiciary, a methodical and calculated act of blatant disregard for human life, par excellence.

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Think Centre's 2016 Labour Day Message

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Posted by TC under Labour Watch, Statement on 1 May 2016

Ever wondered how much the uncles and aunties who clean after we eat at food courts and hawker centres earn? The construction workers who build our homes, bridges and roads? Do we think that amount they get accurately reflects the true value of their contribution to our society and economy? 50 years of single-minded focus on economic development has made it almost impossible for a large segment of workers to find decent work and provide for their families. Most Singaporeans work amongst the longest hours in the world. Wages remain depressed and stagnant for many while companies continue to increase their profits. The only way for real productivity to increase is to strengthen and build the resilience of workers through real strategic investments in their skills and capability and not just as an afterthought. For the longest time, the benefit of a company’s increased profits has gone to shareholders and directors, who even with rising operational cost would rather pass the burden to the consumers and workers than deduct their own salaries, bonuses of directors and top management. We have enabled firms to make careless use of this cheap labour. To protect the workers adequately, we urge the government to harmonise the Labour Laws with International Labour Standards as reflected in the 1998 ILO Declaration which spells out the fundamental principles and rights at work. This is a similar call to many of the countries that made recommendations to our government at the recent Universal Periodic Review conducted by the United Nations in Geneva. Think Centre urges the Government to amend or remove outdated policies to protect the rights of all workers and their families.

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MEDIA STATEMENT BY ALMOS ON THE UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW

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Posted by Think Centre under Human Rights Watch, Policy Watch, Human Rights Education, Statement on 11 December 2015

As Singapore prepares to engage other United Nations member states on its human rights record at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in January 2016, it is clear that much more needs to be done by the government to properly address human rights issues, including to engage Singaporeans on the meaning of human rights in an inclusive society. The Alliance of Like-Minded CSOs in Singapore (ALMOS) is particularly concerned by the government�s overly-broad citation of �national security� in response to questions on the human rights impact of its practices. Citizens are not given a clear indication of the parameters of these security concerns; nor are they provided with convincing evidence that what the state practices is in proportion to the supposed security risks. It has also failed to explain how national security necessitates the turning away of refugees who have been persecuted in their home countries.

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The Paris Principles

Posted by under Human Rights Watch on 15 August 2000

Principles relating to the status of national institutions.

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Bad Journalism or Biased Reporting?

Posted by Think Centre under Breaking News on 14 August 2000

Below are two articles that reported on the Asian Democracy forum organised by the Open Singapore Centre, 5th August 2000. What would have like to have known about the forum. Read the articles below and make up your own mind.

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Falungong launches ad campaign in Singapore, claiming harassment

Posted by AFP under Breaking News on 7 August 2000

The Falungong spiritual movement launched a promotional campaign in Singapore Monday, claiming members were being harassed by authorities although the group is legally registered.

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In the Era of War For Talent: The Issue of Bond-Breakers Revisited

Posted by Socratic Circle under Policy Watch on 7 August 2000

When we talk about bond-breakers, one cannot help but wonder how far our society has progressed in addressing this issue since it was first brought to public attention in February 27 1998, when the names of three bond-breakers were published at the initiative of their government-linked sponsors.

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Elected Dictatorship in Malaysia

Posted by Lim Guan Eng under Breaking News on 5 August 2000

Speech by DAP Malaysia National Vice-Chairman, Lim Guan Eng in Singapore Le Meridien Hotel on Saturday, 5 Aug 2000.

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Why is Self-Censorship Predominant in Singapore?

Posted by Charles Tan under Breaking News on 14 July 2000

'The ISD's role is not only to stop the communist threat but also to guard against racial and religious extremism. It also investigates foreign espionage and subversive activity here, and prevents foreign terrorists from entering Singapore.'

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Dorai's Review: Looking through the Burkeian lens

Posted by Anbarasu Balrasan under Opinions on 29 June 2000

Doraisamy's review of James Gomez's "Self-Censorship: Singapore's Shame" would have pleased Edmund Burke and followers of the conservative tradition; a Thatcherite defence of conservatism. Couched in subtle conservative language, Doraisamy begins by characterising Gomez as an angry political scientist, tantamount to calling him radical and irrational. With a tradition steeped in historical surety and a belief in the process of evolution instead of revolution, Gomez is unfairly depicted as a dangerous practitioner of alternative politics. Doraisamy, like Burke who had scepticism about the abstract nature of rights, asks the audience to be more cautious of the style and contents of the 'new' politics. Nevertheless, his erudite prose is delightful and his contribution well valued.

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Speaking up Softly

Posted by Kelvin Ng under Breaking News on 20 June 2000

Singapore's government has made moves designed to allow its people to express themselves more freely, but skeptics say they do not really give more democratic space, Kelvin Ng reports for Inter Press Service.

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Kuat Kuat Lari! Exclusive Interview with Tang Liang Hong in Australia

Posted by James Gomez under Breaking News on 20 June 2000

Tang says the shit-pot cover must be limited from parliament and Singaporeans should stop wishing their parents dead for their inheritance each they say "Singapore si bay ho".

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University Bookshop Takes

Posted by Michael Roston under Breaking News on 20 June 2000

Self-Censorship: Singapore's Shame has landed in Singapore's academic landscape, but perhaps not where you would expect to find it. The book by THINK Centre director James Gomez, while flying off the shelves of Singapore's bookstores and finding its way into libraries seems to be selling well at the Kent Ridge campus of the National University of Singapore, yet its presence is not quite visible to the naked eye.

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