Civil society pow-wow

If you want to fight the political cause, form a political party and do not take money from the Government, said Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam.

He was replying to IPS adjunct senior research fellow Cherian George's query on whether more can be done to remove the fundraising barriers that civil society groups face, when some "were shackled by the Political Donations Act".

Mr Shanmugam said that the Government's job is to work with the entire society through non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and such associations.

Just as it would not be right "for me to select you if your primary purpose is to advocate my political causes publicly", it would also not be right to support someone whose primary purpose is to work with those in the shadows to run down the Government, he said.


"You want to do that, form a political party, don't take money from the Government. Fight the political cause. Don't play puppet theatre."

The minister also said the Government is keen to tap on civil society groups' idealism and enthusiasm and work with them.

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