Wednesday, 13 February 2013

More than 3000 people will be going to support protest at Hong Lim Park on 16th Feb

13th February 2013

What started out as a modest event to protest against the projections in the Population White Paper has now snowballed into a people’s movement.

Mr Gilbert Goh, President of and organizer of the event, was initially expecting not more than 200 people to attend the protest rally – ‘Say NO to 6.9 million population’, which will be held at Hong Lim Park Speakers’ Corner on 16 Feb (Sat) at 4pm. Hong Lim Park Speakers’ Corner is, of course, the designated place for legal public protests to be held at.

The latest count on the event’s Facebook page, ‘Protest against 6.9 million population by 2030‘, now showed that 3,070 people saying they will be attending the protest event and another 1,489 saying they may attend (as of 5:30pm,13 Feb). Mr Goh also confirmed that international presses like AP, CNN, Bloomberg, Reuters, Yahoo! and Australian Broadcasting Corporation will be at Hong Lim to cover the event.

Under the White Paper projections, Singapore population will potentially reach 6 million by 2020 and 6.9 million by 2030. Between now till 2030, another million more foreign workers are expected to be imported into Singapore. Singaporeans are generally incensed that the White Paper was quickly endorsed by the PAP-dominated Parliament without much say by the citizens.

On the last day of the Parliamentary debate, sensing the immense displeasure expressed by Singaporeans, PM Lee then said that the Singapore population by 2030 will be “significantly below 6.9 million”. However, he still maintained that Singapore will need at least 6 million. He said, “In my view, by 2030, 6 million will not be enough to meet Singaporeans’ needs as our population ages.”

Mr Goh said, “We want to show the government that there is a consolidated voice against its population growth policy. We want them to hear us… We can’t take this lying down!”
12 speakers have confirmed to speak after going through twenty over people who wanted to speak on that day. They include politicians as well as ordinary Singaporeans, who simply want their voices to be heard:
  • Mr Lee Kah Jing – acturist
  • Mr Cradius Tan – medical technolist
  • Ms Samantha Chia – event co-ordinator
  • Mr Nizam Ismail – lawyer
  • Ms Sem Teo – banking executive
  • Mr Kumaran Pillay – businessman
  • Mr Leong Sze Hian – financial service professional
  • Mr Tan Kin Lian – ex-Presidential candidate in 2011 PE
  • Mr Tan Jee Say – ex-Presidential candidate in 2011 PE
  • Mr Vincent Wijey – SDP politician
  • Mr Ravi Philemon – NSP politician
  • Ms Jeannette Chong – NSP politician
Each will speak for 10 mins.

Mr Goh said that the politicians will be speaking in their own personal capacity as a Singaporean rather than a politician so as not to make the event look like a political rally. He said, “Hopefully, the event can unite Singaporeans together as one powerful voice in peaceful protest against the population white paper.”

Ms Oniatta Effendi, a Suria Malay artiste, will also be singing on that day and, according to Mr Goh, the event promises to be “an occasion whereby nationalistic emotions will be stirred as we try to encourage frustrated Singaporeans to fall in love with their country again”.

Largest post-independence public protest in Singapore?

The protest event on 16th Feb (Sat) at Hong Lim may very well turn out to be the largest post-independence public protest in Singapore if the 3,000+ people who said they will be attending, turn up.

The last large public protest was the Minibond protest held in Oct 2008, when angry investors protested about the way banks sold them the toxic financial products and demanded compensation. Reuters reported a figure of 600 [Link] who turned up at the protest held in Hong Lim while TOC reported a figure of more than 1,000 [Link].

Mr Goh said, “I hope that Singaporeans will turn out in full force to protest peacefully against the damaging anti-Singapore population white paper.”

Mr Goh even suggested that protesters draw their own placards and banners and “wave them around so that your voice will be heard loud and clear”.

A lady, Ms Mee Lee, has also volunteered to paint the “6.9 million logo” on the faces of children and adults and she has generously consented to donate all the proceeds to offset the cost of organizing the event.

Another Singaporean has confirmed with Mr Goh that he will be donating 25 cases of bottled water for the event.

Mr Goh also hoped to set up livestreaming for the event so that Singaporeans, who are not attending, can watch from home.

According to the programme of the event, there will be a saying of the pledge and singing of the national anthem towards the end of the event.

Will you be at Hong Lim Park on 16 Feb? Be there or be square!

Source: TRE website

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