7 May, 2006

Free James Gomez

Singapore’s People’s Action Party, as expected, routed the opposition in Saturday’s general election. Also as expected, the PAP has again embarrassed itself and the people of Singapore by demonstrating the government’s thuggish nature and fear of opposition.:

JgomezAuthorities in Singapore have arrested Workers’ Party candidate James Gomez for allegedly “threatening the country’s election officials” — a day after he failed to win a seat in the general elections.
James was arrested Sunday for alleged “criminal intimidation,” said his aide Jacob George in an AP dispatch carried by AsiaOne.com.
The AP story said James, a researcher with Sweden-based Idea Foundation, was about to leave the country but was stopped by immigration officials, who turned him over to the police.
A security official, speaking to AP on condition of anonymity in line with policy, said James has not been charged. If found guilty for criminal intimidation, James could be jailed for up to seven years.

AsiaPundit has appreciated much of Gomez’s work on speech and expression issues, although he is not a fan of the Workers Party.
Truth be told, if AP were a Singapore voter he may be inclined to support the PAP, for reasons similar to those expressed by Han. However, the PAP’s continued repression of opposition leaders make it unworthy of support. For all of Singapore’s tropical efficiency and first-world charms, the government has again shown itself to be little different than the thug regimes that most of Southeast Asia has thankfully freed itself from.
Sam Crane offers more:

…again right on cue, the PAP demonstrates its authoritarian ruthlessness by orchestrating the arrest of a leading opposition candidate on trumped up charges of “criminal intimidation. Of course, if anyone is guilty of “criminal intimidation” it is the PAP leadership. This is all they know: intimidation.
The arrest of James Gomez does not signal the “end game” of the election. It is another phase of a political game that never ends. The PAP will now advance and take advantage of its tactical gains. They will use the power of the state to defend their personal political interests, as they have always done. But the opposition has gained some ground, and that matters.
“Ground” is an important concept for Sun Tzu. He tells us that, in war - which is, of course, a more extreme form of politics - we must always be aware of what kind of ground we are on. I have always understood this to mean awareness of the broad strategic context. The ground has shifted some in Singapore in recent weeks. The opposition has discovered new sources of strength. They have a new, young cadre of leaders and increased support throughout the city. The internet has proven to be an alternate means of getting their message out - so much so that the PAP is now investigating. Perhaps dissident can develop those strengths and exploit PAP weaknesses to achieve the next tactical goal:
(photo stolen from James Gomez News)

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by @ 9:57 pm. Filed under Singapore, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Censorship

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