Photo of K Shanmugam from Justin Ong CNA

In light of increasing criticisms over his hooligan-like behaviour, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam flexed his authoritarian muscles announcing that he alone gets to decide “what is right and what is good for society”:

“Ministers have the ultimate decision-making responsibility to consider what is right, what is good for society, and not be sidetracked by a vocal minority.”

The dictator Minister then denied that there have been public criticisms against the recent new legislation allowing the police to shoot protesters at their own discretion, ban photo-taking and communication, and allowing male police officers to strip-search female suspects. Minister K Shanmugam claimed that the public opposition to the new law is online fake news:

“For example of the Public Order and Safety (Special Powers) Act (POSSPA), saying some sentiments expressed online had created the impression that there was a lot of opposition to it. I am confident that enacting POSSPA was the right thing to do: look at the 2011 UK riots which killed five people and injured 205, of which nearly 190 were police officers. (POSSPA) gives a lot of powers to the police. It is probably legislation that is not very doable in many countries. I believed it was doable in Singapore because people trust the police that they will exercise their powers responsibly, and we need those powers to deal with the situations that are evolving.”

The 59-year-old “3G” PAP Minister who has not announced his retirement also slammed his critics, accusing them of being small in numbers and opposing for the sake of opposing:

“Increasingly, legislation proposed are getting opposed by a small but vocal minority. Some of the opposition is principled, some just opposing for the sake of opposing. My duty in these things, as having the ultimate decision-making responsibility, is really having the common sense to distinguish between first of all what is right. We have to be confident about what we do – as long as we believe honestly that it is the right thing to do. As for opposing viewpoints, we have a duty to look into them. Some of them can be principled, and if the viewpoints are valid, we have to consider, adapt, make the necessary changes, and then when we make up our mind, proceed.”

Minister K Shanmugam then cited a fake survey conducted by the government’s feedback unit, REACH, which polled that 82% of the respondents support the POSSPA:

“There is a recent survey by Government feedback unit REACH, 82% of Singaporeans polled said they agreed with POSSPA. The survey, which polled 1,038 citizens and permanent residents, also found that 76 % of respondents agreed that POSSPA was necessary to enable the police to handle major security incidents effectively, while 67% thought it was reasonable for the police to have powers to stop individuals from taking or sharing pictures or videos of ongoing security operations.”