Saturday, May 18, 2013

Singapore, Abdul Ghani Othman's visitation, and Malaysians' gathering


This is the joint-statement by Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs on Abdul Ghani Othman's previous visitation and activity in Singapore prior to the Malaysian 13th General Election. (Today Online's report.)

From what we can gather from this statement, the two ministries perceive a contesting candidate's talking to media and public with his entourage wearing their campaigning t-shirts is not campaigning. While on the other hand, commoners' gathering without wearing any party's shirts is campaigning.

Is the best interpretation of the Public Order Act by the authorities?

Personally I think that it is important for foreigners not to import or promote their political cause in and to another country. Hence I'm very puzzled that some Malaysians who sent a petition to the White House about the recent election's result. (I understand and share the frustration and helplessness felt by many Malaysians, and so the urge to seek for whatever support available. However, one needs to consider the intricacy of international relations; wouldn't such petition be seen as anti-independence?)

That said, I'm surprised that the 2 ministries have interpreted Ghani's trip not as campaigning but Malaysians' gathering in Singapore as campaigning. Is such interpretation a consistent reading of the law?

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