When I heard news that Lim Tean has resigned from NSP, I wasnt surprised of the reasons for his resignation.
Curtailment of his freedom of speech is one of it. And we are talking about freedom of speech where it’s done in a responsible manner. Not the Amos Yee or Charlie Hebdo kind of free speech.
Often times, it’s the alternative parties that espouses freedom of speech but in reality, fall short of implementing it within its own organization.
I encountered many times where alternative parties feel uneasy when its members are vocal about issues they feel strongly about.
Issues like LGBT, Tudung issue, discrimination, religion, 377A, article 154 etc.
Party members are always reminded to ‘tone’ down, or a messenger will come to relay message not to get too vocal or get involved in any protest speeches.
This effectively curb or placed an OB marker on a person to be mindful not to engage in anything the party leaders deemed unsuitable.
But of course not all of the alternative parties hold such unwritten rules. It depends on the leader at helm.
For instance, we have leaders from the Reform Party (RP), Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), People’s Power Party (PPP) and Singapore First Party (SFP) who allow its member to participate freely in a democratic society.
It give members the freedom to have differing opinions from the party’s stand.
Some may argue that members need to toe along the party lines to achieve unity within the organization but by doing so, it instead create artificial harmony within its rank.
These parties are then no better than the PAP, the very one they hope to replace.
My advice to political leaders with ambition to rule Singapore, deal with these sensitive issues and not fetter your members from discussing matters that are crucial to the development of the country. If you are to be a leader, you will need to solve problems, not suppressing it.
In this aspect, Im proud to be a part of The Reform Party where its leadership never once tried to curtail my freedom of speech as long as it is done in a responsible manner.
I wish Lim Tean all the best. It is better to move away than to be in a party and gets zipped up. That can spell the end of democracy.
Source: Khan Osman Sulaiman