Photo from BBC

Minister for Communications and Information, Yaacob Ibrahim, yesterday sang praises about the latest internet ban saying that foreign countries are learning from Singapore on how to ban the internet for the civil service. Speaking to state propaganda media The Straits Times, Minister Yaacob said he received “expression of interests” from his foreign counterparts, despite not naming any of them.

“You’ll be very surprised at the kind of responses I received from my counterparts. They want to know how we do it. In fact, I was seated at a dinner and one of the ambassadors said ‘We were surprised that you decided to do it and we want to learn from you because we think this should be done’.”

It is unknown if foreign delegates are poking fun at Minister’s Yaacob, or the Minister is genuinely clueless because an internet ban is an infringement of constitutional rights to information around the world.

Minister Yaacob was also very proud that Singapore is the first country to ban the internet: “To the best of my knowledge, given the extensiveness with which we are doing this, I think we are the first.”

Despite facing increasing public criticisms about Singapore’s lack of cyber security capabilities and ridiculating the internet ban as sheer incompentency, the Singapore government is actively whitewashing the stigma. The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) lauded the internet ban as the right step forward, Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said the move is part of the Smart Nation initiative and “the other of the same coin”, while Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that he was the “first candidate” to have done it himself and find the internet ban plausible.