Thursday, 20 September 2012

Watz Online - 20 Sep 2012

Actions by organisers and blogger are "disrespectful" of Archbishop: MHA

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued a statement in response to media queries on Archbishop Nicholas Chia's comments on a blog post written by Mr Alex Au. Mr Au, in his post published on Tuesday, had suggested that the Archbishop was pressured by the Government into retracting a supportive letter that he had sent to organisers of a rally against the Internal Security Act.

Here is the MHA's full statement on Archbishop Chia's comments:

"The Government values its long-standing relationship with the Catholic Church and the Catholic community in Singapore, and deeply appreciates Archbishop Nicholas Chia's many contributions to religious harmony in Singapore.

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Archbishop slams Alex Au, anti-ISA rally organisers

The head of the Catholic Church here has criticised a blogger and the organisers of a rally against the Internal Security Act (ISA) over a blog post which suggested that he was pressured by the Government into retracting a letter he had sent expressing support for the event.

The flap arose from Mr Alex Au's lengthy critique on his blog - posted on Tuesday - of what he described as the Government's "arm-twisting" of Archbishop Nicholas Chia.

Mr Au wrote that based on "second-hand" accounts, Archbishop Chia had sent a "warmly-worded" letter to the event organisers - civil society groups Function 8 and Maruah - only to later send a second letter to withdraw his statements, purportedly after pressure from the Government. 

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Function 8 calls on Archbishop to publish letters

Function 8, one of the organisers of the rally against the Internal Security Act, has issued a press statement in response to Archbishop Nicholas Chia's comments on a blog post written by Mr Alex Au. Mr Au, in his post published on Tuesday, had suggested that the Archbishop was pressured by the Government into retracting a letter he had sent to the rally organisers expressing his support.

Here is Function 8's press statement in full:

"We are deeply saddened by the comments of Archbishop Nicholas Chia reported in The Straits Times of 20th September 2012. He made three unsubstantiated remarks: 

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Civil society has been "vilified" in Archbishop's remarks: MARUAH

MARUAH, one of the organisers of the rally against the Internal Security Act, has issued a statement in response to Archbishop Nicholas Chia's comments on a blog post written by Mr Alex Au. Mr Au, in his post published on Tuesday, had suggested that the Archbishop was pressured by the Government into retracting a letter he had sent to the rally organisers expressing his support.

Here is MARUAH's press statement in full:

"MARUAH, a human rights NGO, is a partner with Function 8, in particular for the June 2nd 2012 event to mark the 25th Anniversary of the alleged Marxist Conspiracy. MARUAH's position is that it is timely for a Commission of Inquiry to be set up to review the detentions under Operation Spectrum.

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Archbishop Nicholas Chia responds to Au's blog post

The head of the Catholic Church in Singapore, Archbishop Nicholas Chia, has responded to a blog post suggesting he was pressured into retracting a letter he had sent in support of a rally against the Internal Security Act. Blogger Mr Alex Au, in his post published on Tuesday, claimed that Archbishop Chia first sent a "warmly-worded" letter to rally organisers Function 8 and Maruah, but later, under pressure from the Government, sent them another letter to retract his original letter.

The statement, which TODAY obtained, did not address the allegation made by Mr Au, that Archbishop Chia's first letter was unsolicited, nor did it reveal the contents of both letters.

Here is the press statement from the Archbishop in full:

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Understanding rage, and its antidote

Just days ago, I was asked over a dinner conversation with several interfaith practitioners: "Why are Muslims such an angry people?" The riots over the film Innocence of Muslims was certainly on their minds. It took me a while to respond.

First, there is an unstated presumption that most, if not all, Muslims are prone to anger.

Second, a string of incidents from recent decades seems to suggest that any form of provocation to the Muslim faith is sure to lead to riots and vengeful killings across the Muslim world.

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S'pore Govt asks Google to restrict access to anti-Islam film

The Government has requested for Internet search engine Google to restrict access to the YouTube video clip "Innocence of Muslims" in Singapore.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said today that "in view of security concerns that have arisen following the release of the film", it took the "pre-emptive measure of asking MDA (Media Development Authority) to make the request to Google to block online access to the film to prevent similar violent incidents from taking place here".

Since its release, the controversial anti-Islam film has sparked off violent protests and riots that resulted in deaths and injuries in many parts of the world, including several countries in the region

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High Court rejects application for open trial on S'pore's S$4.9b loan to IMF

The High Court has rejected Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam's application for an open trial on the legality of Singapore's US$4 billion (S$4.9 billion) loan to the International Monetary Fund.

Mr Jeyaretnam's lawyer Louis Joseph told reporters that Justice Tan Lee Meng, who heard the trial in chambers today, said matters that were pure legal issues are usually heard in chambers.

However, Mr Jeyaretnam's application to sit in the chambers hearing was granted.

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Committee leading national conversation holds first meeting

Instead of papers and presentations, the "Our Singapore" committee started its first meeting with scissors, magazine tear-outs and colour pencils.

Using the materials given, the 26-member committee chaired by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat created mock-up newspapers depicting their ideal Singapore in 2030.

Describing the meeting in a Facebook post yesterday, Mr Heng said: "We were wearing many different hats - as parents, children, students and working adults. We raised different and sometimes conflicting ideas of how we would like Singapore to be like."

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MediaCorp presents Mandarin forum "A Conversation with PM Lee"

MediaCorp is presenting a Mandarin forum on Singapore's future, "A Conversation with PM Lee".

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be joined by Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing, Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Law Sim Ann.

This programme comes a week after a similar forum conducted in English on Channel NewsAsia to meet people from all walks of life to discuss the nation's future.

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