Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Are we becoming a military state?

The Singapore government has announced that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has been given new powers to enable them to act with the police and other domestic agencies to search, detain and use reasonable force against terror suspects under special situations. Some Members of Parliament are concerned about this new legislature. From Channel NewsAsia:
MP Ong Chit Chung said: "In the London underground, a person was shot by mistake, suspected wrongly of being a terrorist. Would there be clear rules of engagement for SAF servicemen and how well would they be trained to handle tricky and delicate situations? Bear in mind, mishaps cannot be ruled out."

MP Michael Palmer said: "Almost every male Singaporean owns, or has in his possession, a camouflage No. 4 uniform. In fact, it is readily available for purchase at various army surplus stores. Does this mean that once the order is made, we must allow everyone in No. 4 uniform to stop, search and seize and arrest us without warrant? How will we know which serviceman has the authority to act under Section 201 (C) order? How will we know whether a serviceman is or isn't on duty even if he falls under the Act?"
I've always believed that small states like Singapore are better adapt at countering fourth generation warfare (new methods of warfare that go beyond simple terrorism) than bigger countries like the United States because of our smaller size and ability to enact good policies but this new legislation leaves me feeling spooked. We must never let the military deal with civilians. Just look at other countries where the military has such powers and you'll know that this is just a recipe for disaster. Are we becoming a military state? Not yet but I'm sure we are setting a foot on the wrong and dangerous path.

9 comments:

Alvin said...

I like to think that the government is doing this because our army boys don't have much to do.

serene said...

our police have enough powers already.

Mr Big said...

We all like to think that the governments of the world hate terrorism but I think they secretly love it because it allows them to exert more fear and control over their citizens.

straydog said...

Singapore should be safe from becoming a military state for just one reason alone. Ours is essentially a conscripted army.

It will be pretty hard to say engineered a coup using people like me and you than say someone whose livelihood depends on the military.

Honky Tong said...

I not worry about coup liao. I worry that gahmen may use the army to control the population.

YanDaO said...

Army boys are happier when they get to go around Orchard Road look at chiobus.

Rickie said...

Why do our government keep coming out with these unpopular policies?

Sir Thomas said...

Democractic countries should not give their armed forces such powers. It may be just a little power now but in the future, they could ask for more and more.

Anonymous said...

TERRORISM = ONE BIG EXCUSE FOR GOVTS TO CONTROL US!

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