Singaporeans Need A Revitalized Social Contract

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Posted by Think Centre under Features, Policy Watch, Opinions on 10 August 2017

Our island state was founded more than 50 years ago on the basis of “one united people, regardless of race, language or religion, to build a democratic society, based on justice and equality, so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation”. .. Half a century later, these very ideals have been eroded to the point where the livelihood of citizens are threatened ... wealth inequality has not improved in the last 5 years and income growth has slowed across the board except for the wealthiest. No matter how much assistance the government gives, there will always remain a segment of the population that cannot catch up. This is when social expenditure of the government must increase. .. The current exploitative nature of work is unsustainable where its workers clocked 2,371.2 hours in 2016, the longest in the world. .. It is ironic that the hardworking and old Singaporean workers cannot afford to retire even after a lifetime contributing to the nation’s economy. .. what then is the social contract of Singaporeans with regard to its employers and government?

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Think Centre: Singapore, Halt Imminent Execution of Prabagaran Srivijayan

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Posted by Think Centre under Human Rights Watch, Policy Watch, Human Rights Education, ASEAN Watch, Statement on 13 July 2017

Think Centre condemns the imminent execution of Prabagaran Srivijayan scheduled for 14th July 2017. Prior to his arrest, Prabagaran was a 24-year-old young migrant worker who crossed the border daily from Johor (Malaysia) to work in Singapore in order to support his family... The presumption of guilt in such cases, which violates the right to a fair trial in international human rights law, also means that those who maintain their innocence like Prabagaran will never fit into the criteria. We are concerned that clemency pleas may not be heard by the entire cabinet, and based only on the recommendations of standing/ad hoc committees whose constituents are unknown to the public. ...many executions are carried out in secret, raising questions about the government claims about the efficacy of the death penalty in deterring crimes.

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Think Centre condemns impending execution of Muhammad Ridzuan Bin Md Ali

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Posted by Think Centre under Policy Watch, Statement on 18 May 2017

Think Centre is greatly disturbed by the imminent execution of Muhammad Ridzuan Bin Md Ali scheduled for this Friday morning, 19 May 2017. We regret that the Cabinet of Singapore has once again failed to advise the sitting President to grant clemency. The last known clemency was granted 19 years ago in 1998 by the first elected President of Singapore, the late honourable Mr. Ong Teng Cheong. The case of Muhd Ridzuan shows that the death penalty regime is still as irrefutably flawed as it was, before the amendment in 2012. The Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) has the sole prerogative over a drug courier’s life or death. The State has failed to put forward any decisive case on whether these executions have successfully disrupted any major syndicate. We call for the State to re-enact a moratorium on the death penalty and consider more humane, compassionate and effective policies against such crimes.

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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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Bytes, Business & Governance (28): Digital Divide (Part I)

Posted by Amado Jr. M. Mendoza under Features on 10 July 2001

Is the Internet a great equalizer, a democratizing factor? Or is it another source of inequality between and within nations and societies, giving rise to the so-called digital divide? Is the new information technology class- or income-neutral, which can be as useful to the poor as to the rich, provided it becomes affordable and universally accessible?

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Singapore's PAP on a Charm Offensive: A General Election in the Offing

Posted by Roger Mitton under News on 9 July 2001

In it's latest issue Asiaweek's Roger Mitton gives his views on the next General Election as well as the PAP's charm offensive ahead of the elections.

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Don't Expect Justice From a Kangaroo Court

Posted by Siddharth Vardarajan under Opinions on 8 July 2001

Last week, the government of Serbia sold its former president, Slobodan Milosevic, to the US for approximately one billion dollars. One day before a major international donors' conference where Western aid for the Balkans was to be discussed, the prime minister of Serbia -- the main constituent of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia -- took Milosevic from prison and flew him to The Hague, where he was arraigned immediately at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for genocide and crimes against humanity. The next day, the US and other donors pledged some $1.2 billion in aid to Serbia.

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3 Months, 1,781 Executions

Posted by John Schauble under News on 7 July 2001

At least 1,781 people have been executed in China in a "frenzy" of state-sanctioned killings over the past three months, Amnesty International said yesterday.

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Netherlands: Global Treaty a Threat to the Net?

Posted by Lisa M. Bowman under Policy Watch on 7 July 2001

June 22, 2001: International policy-makers this week ended a round of talks aimed at setting common rules affecting online trade and commerce, but they made little progress in bridging divisions that threaten to delay the pact.In the works for nearly a decade, the Hague Convention on Jurisdiction And Foreign Judgments is still almost unknown outside international policy circles. Nevertheless, it could have broad implications for consumers and businesses by setting new rules for online copyrights, free speech and e-commerce--if it is approved.

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Daddy Knows Best Policy

Posted by Narayana Narayana under Letters on 7 July 2001

Read Narayana Narayana's response to Andy Ho's article "Revisiting the banyan tree: Civil society 10 years on" which appeared in the Straits Times on 30/6/2001. A prolific letter writer on many issues and commentator expect more of Narayana Narayana in the future.

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European Parliament Deplores the Use of ISA in Malaysia

Posted by under Human Rights Watch on 6 July 2001

In a resolution dated 14 June 2001, the European Parliament (EP) has deplored the use of the Internal Security Act by the Malaysian autorities. Read on to find out what the EP has got say about the ISA which is also applied in Singapore.

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