Fourth protest held against Population White Paper

Issues that received an airing during yesterday’s protest at Hong Lim Park included the influx of foreigners into Singapore and public transport fare hikes.

A few hundred people turned up at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park yesterday to attend a protest against issues such as an influx of foreigners into Singapore.

The event was the fourth in a series of protests against the Population White Paper, which caused an outcry in 2013 by outlining planning parameters for a bigger population of 6.9 million by 2030.

While yesterday's turnout was smaller than at previous protests, organiser Gilbert Goh said he was happy with the attendance.

This is because yesterday's event was a "much bigger challenge" to organise than the first three in 2013, he said.

Half of his initial line-up of 10 speakers dropped out at the last minute, said Mr Goh, who founded non-profit organisation Transitioning to provide support for unemployed people.

He attributed this to a "climate of fear" after some protesters were arrested last year for causing a ruckus at Hong Lim Park.

Six people have been charged with being a public nuisance at a protest on Sept 27 last year. The protest encroached on a nearby charity carnival. Their cases are pending.

Three of them - blogger Han Hui Hui, 23, along with Janet Low Wai Choo, 54, and Goh Aik Huat, 41 - attended yesterday's protest.

Speakers at the three-hour event yesterday included former Singapore Democratic Party chairman Jufrie Mahmood, 63, who spoke about the recent furore among

Sengkang residents over plans to build a columbarium near their homes.

Mr Jufrie, a retiree, said the incident showed that the Government had lost touch with ground sentiment.

Mr Nicky Bai, 32, who works in the travel industry, also took the stage to call for more protection for local workers and a greater amount of job security.

Other issues that received an airing yesterday included public transport fare hikes and inequality in benefits for single mothers.

This article was first published on Feb 01, 2015.
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