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."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.
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?"