Photo of Singapore police at Pedra Branca from Facebook

In a press release by the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) yesterday (Mar 23), the ASEAN group condemned the Singapore government’s latest law allowing the police to shoot Singaporean protesters.

The new law was passed on Wednesday (Mar 21) which allows the Singapore Police to use lethal weapons against any protester anywhere, even in protest site Hong Lim Park.

Representing the APHR, APHR board member Filipino congressman Teddy Baguilat pointed out that the new law can be easily abused to stifle peaceful assembly and free speech:

“This bill suppresses fundamental freedoms and threatens the safety and important work of activists and human rights defenders. Singapore already heavily restricts the rights to peaceful assembly and free speech. More broad restrictions in the name of national security are a recipe for abuse.”

In addition to the new draconian powers, the Singapore government is planning to ban criticisms and overseas news sites under the guise of banning “fake news”.

Independent observer, Stephan Ortmann, assistant professor at the department of Asian and international studies at the City University of Hong Kong, criticised the Singapore government of overkill:

“Despite no real threat whatsoever, they are introducing new overly repressive legislation. It seems to be like giving chemotherapy when the patient has not even any signs of cancer but just as prevention.”