Saturday, September 16, 2006

Malu Singapore

This news is damn malu (embarassing) for Singapore. The about-turn came shortly after the Singapore government said no to admitting some of the so-called bad apples. What a flip flop!

The turn of events is also embarassing because CSOs are now protesting against Singapore, instead of holding banners to denounce IMF or the World Bank as originally planned. Pix from Al-Jazeera website.

The Straits Times
Sep 16, 2006
S'pore agrees to admit 22 of 27 blacklisted activists
By Li Xueying

SINGAPORE will allow 22 of the 27 civil society activists it had objected to previously to enter the country after all.

In an unexpected statement last night, the Singapore organising committee for the International Monetary Fund-World Bank meetings said:

'Based on input provided by the IMF and World Bank this morning, the S2006 Organising Committee has reviewed the list of 27 CSO representatives whose entry was subject to interview by Singapore. The S2006 Organising Committee has decided to allow the entry of 22 of the 27 CSO representatives.' CSO refers to civil society organisations.

The remaining five activists will be 'subject to interview and may not be allowed in', if they try to enter Singapore. As in previous statements, the 27 were not named.

Singapore had earlier objected to their accreditation to attend the meetings, citing security and law and order concerns.

Hours before the about-turn, World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz said that Singapore had inflicted 'enormous damage' to its reputation. Describing its actions as 'unacceptable', he told a meeting with the CSOs that he had raised the matter with President SR Nathan and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

In the afternoon, 164 CSOs announced a boycott of all official IMF-World Bank events.

Mr Wolfowitz said that Singapore would have to decide whether to show it was 'authoritarian' or 'at the stage of success they have reached, they would do much better for themselves with a more visionary approach to the process'.

His comments, the harshest yet, came after a week of wrangling between the IMF, the World Bank and Singapore over the issue.

It began on Monday, when Singapore police announced that the activists could be barred, igniting widespread criticism from CSOs and the two institutions.

On Wednesday, the World Bank accused Singapore of breaking the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2003, when it was made the host of this year's meetings. It invited a response from Singapore that it would honour the pact, but that it also had to weigh security concerns seriously.

The decision last night was met with a muted response from activists - both in Singapore and among the blacklisted activists, many of whom are in Batam for a CSO forum. Some said it came too late.

Said Ms Shalmali Guttal of Focus on the Global South, from Batam: 'I think the Government really owes us an explanation for why there was even a blacklist in the first place... we will come to claim our space.''

Oh, and PM Lee Hsien Loong and father Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew filed a suit against Far Eastern Economic Review over an article on opposition politician Chee Soon Juan
early this week -- when the entire world media attention is focussed on Singapore for the wrong reasons. Not exactly the best timing. Sigh!


doc said...

alamak, apa ini???? cakap also cannot ah? where got reformasi?

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